14 November 2020
RUSSIA TODAY — Richard Stengel, the point man on state-owned media for Joe Biden’s transition team, has said protection of hateful speech that can provoke violence is a “design flaw” in the Constitution and should be fixed with “new guardrails.”
Stengel, a former MSNBC contributor, is transition team leader for the US Agency for Global Media, which includes broadcasters Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. He’s likely to head the agency if Biden becomes president in January. Ironically, that means Washington’s foreign propaganda outlets, which traditionally have promoted America’s founding principles, would be overseen by a man with restrictive views on the most fundamental of those tenets – freedom of speech.
“All speech is not equal,” Stengel wrote last year in an op-ed published by the Washington Post. “And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting thought that we hate, but not speech that incites hate.”
Stengel gave the example of “sophisticated Arab diplomats” who had questioned why constitutional rights would allow a US citizen to burn a copy of the Koran. “It’s a fair question,” he said. “Yes, the First Amendment protects the thought that we hate, but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.” […]