Free Speech Isn't What Americans Think

Dear New York Times Opinion,
This is not Free Speech.

For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

Buried way down at the bottom of this article is.

It is worth noting here the important distinction between what the First Amendment protects — freedom from government restrictions on expression — and the popular conception of free speech — the affirmative right to speak your mind in public, on which the law is silent.

That is one big doozy of a clarification to bury in the bottom of an article about Free Speech. You’re not saying that The United States government is restricting Free Speech (actual definition); you’re saying people are afraid to say something - definitely not Free Speech.

I subscribe to NY York Times for the news, not the Opinion. But, this framing of an “issue” isn’t a good look for any part of a reputable newspaper, let alone the Opinion Board (which decides what opinions are published in the section).

Joel Hamill @joelhamill