Book Monitor

The Silencing:
How the Left is Killing Free Speech 

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers, a Fox News contributor and USA Today columnist, is concerned that free speech is being limited, hushed, or destroyed by those on the left. Her assertions are especially powerful since she is a Democrat. Powers exposes the instigators, as well as showing who is targeted for "silencing."

Powers is concerned about speech codes and so called "free-speech zones" on college campuses, which seem to have the goal of allowing only a voice to those on the left. Many universities find conservative or Republican thought unworthy of consideration and seek to eliminate the ability of those on the right to express opinions.

Radical feminists are particularly interested in shutting down opposing viewpoints, even when their sympathizers step only slightly away from the approved far-left dialogue. Powers tells the stories of those who have been maligned as "rape apologists" for merely suggesting that female college students are safer when they don't get falling-down drunk.

Feminists also aim silencing campaigns at other liberals when they dare to write "articles exposing lax oversight at abortion clinics," although those failures endanger women's health.

Powers has been accused of betraying the liberal cause by working at Fox News. True to their form of ignoring the truth, liberals condemn Fox, although it is "demonstrably fairer than its cable competition."

Powers cites a 2014 Columbia Journalism Review article that says, "Though MSNBC has a handful of moderate conservatives . . . Fox stands out for the prominence it awards its on-air naysayers, many of whom occupy regular roles on the network's most popular shows." The report says that places like MSNBC "skewer" conservatives "by proxy," using news clips of something previously said. At Fox, on-air debates over policy happen "with a real-live liberal who is often on staff."

Beginning in 2010, the liberal group Media Matters launched an all out campaign to delegitimize Fox News, even pressuring liberals to refuse to appear on Fox. Apparently folks at Media Matters don't agree with allowing both sides of issues to be explored. Powers says, "The illiberal left condemns Fox News, which has plenty of straight news programming, purely because it has hosts who are conservative, even if those hosts give air time to liberals."

Powers says, "It's sad that it has to be explained to liberals that engaging with ideas or opinions they don't like is a critical and expected part of life in the public square."

(Regnery Publishing, 2015, 289 pp., $27.99)