Free expression has always been a central American right, celebrated by the press, academia and the government. Today, support for free speech has become more fraught. The digital revolution has allowed the voices of bad actors to be amplified. College students have protested, and sometimes tried to block speakers with political views they find offensive. Journalists have been called an “enemy of the people.” And conservatives and liberals have seemingly shifted sides on their support for free speech, with a Supreme Court Justice recently stating that conservatives have “weaponized” the First Amendment.
The Atlantic explored the debate about free speech — on campuses, on tech platforms, and in our political life.
This event was part of a year-long reporting series, "The Speech Wars," which will explore questions of free expression.