Hate speech is not free speech

The conservative outlets and their social media platforms should be held accountable for propagating years of misinformation and thinly veiled racism that led to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Since 2009, the sprawling tentacles of the conservative media ecosystem have fanned the flames of division, stoked distrust in legitimate news organizations, falsely labeled Democrats as socialists, communists or pedophilic cultists; they have galvanized conspiracy theorists, emboldened white supremacists and bolstered neo-Nazis; they have preyed upon the vulnerable and transformed societal circumstances into misplaced populist outrage using immigrants as scapegoats.

The rise of Facebook and Twitter have left many more vulnerable to this misinformation as well; to be taken advantage of and hoodwinked by foreign adversaries, hate groups and those who do not have our country’s interests at heart. I’d like to believe these outlets and social tools were created with a positive mission, yet that mission has failed miserably if it were so.

Opinionated talk show hosts, tweets and likes are destroying our country. Words matter. So does respectable social discourse. These things matter now more than they ever have. It’s at the heart of who we are as a country. Politicians at every level of government should understand that and the FCC should enforce it. Social media companies should enforce it. Law enforcement should enforce it.

Hate speech is not free speech. It is dangerous rhetoric and it leads to social unrest. Our country is sick and the only way to heal is to get rid of the cancerous, driveling diatribe which has led us to this reprehensible moment in American history.

Craig Miller

Cumberland

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