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Criticism of NYT editorial board’s stance on America’s free speech problem
Last week, the New York Times editorial board published the opinion piece, “America Has a Free Speech Problem.” In the piece, the authors write:
“However you define cancel culture, Americans know it exists and feel its burden. In a new national poll commissioned by Times Opinion and Siena College, only 34 percent of Americans said they believed that all Americans enjoyed freedom of speech completely. The poll found that 84 percent of adults said it is a ‘very serious’ or ‘somewhat serious’ problem that some Americans do not speak freely in everyday situations because of fear of retaliation or harsh criticism.”
Kyla Garrett Wagner, an assistant professor of communications law at Syracuse University has this response to the editorial:
“To anyone who read last week’s NYTimes op-ed about America’s free speech problem, please let me reassure you – as a free speech and public opinion researcher – that you, holding your tongue at some point in the last year (even just once) because you were ‘concerned about retaliation or harsh criticism’ is not why America has a free speech problem,” said Wagner.
“Really, if there is any threat to free speech and press, it’s 1) the borderline unethical use of a biased and severely methodologically-flawed poll commissioned by the writers of the piece who artfully reported only the results that supported their position and 2) the suggestion to readers that this poll serves as high-quality empirical evidence of any kind, of which it’s not — other studies, like the ones from the Pew Research Center or the Knight Foundation.”
Wagner is an interdisciplinary legal and communications scholar. Her research examines the relationship between public health and the First Amendment and she teaches topics related to the freedom of speech and the relationship between communication and human behavior.
To schedule an interview with Wagner on issues related to free speech, please contact Ellen James Mbuqe, executive director of media relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-496-0551.