Logan on Offensive Speech Debate
From the PROVIDENCE SUNDAY JOURNAL: "Campaign to force WPRO’s DePetro from airwaves expands to boycott by politicians" by Edward Fitzpatrick
[WPRO radio personality John DePetro landed in hot water with a union coalition after criticizing a public-employee protest of pension reform. The union characterized his comments as anti-women, and DePetro has since apologized for his choice of words. Nonetheless, many state politicians, including Governor Lincoln Chafee, have joined the push to force DePetro off the air.]
[...] David A. Logan, dean of the Roger Williams University School of Law, said calling someone you disagree with a whore is “completely out of bounds.” But Logan, who writes about the First Amendment, cited Anthony Lewis’ book “Freedom for the Thought We Hate,” saying, “The bedrock idea is that the way you fight bad speech is with good speech. Freedom for the idea you hate is a central assumption for how this democracy operates.” So if DePetro says something offensive, “take it to him — go on his show and prove him a mudslinger,” he said. “Isn’t the real test of the rigor of ideas to sit across from someone and out-argue them?” [...]
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