Debate Info

Yes! Hate speech should be censored
Debate Score:19
Total Votes:23
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes! (9)
 Hate speech should be censored (2)

Debate Creator

Chad(51) pic

Does freedom of the press include the "right to offend"?


Side Score: 17

Hate speech should be censored

Side Score: 2
5 points

Yes, it does.

Offense is completely arbitrary. People can be offended by a vast array of things. If we try to offend no one we end up not being able to say anything. Either you're for freedom of speech & freedom of the press or you aren't. Once you compromise that, you set a precedent where the line of what is acceptable and what is not can be moved at will by those with interests that have nothing to do with liberty or our constitutional rights.

Side: Yes!
1 point

Just about anything you say is bound to offend someone, one way or another

Side: Yes!

People have tried throughout history to censor, but in the long run all attempts have failed. You cannot merely take away freedom of speech because someone doesn't like what your saying, because that's not freedom at all. The reason America is great is because you can say whatever you want to anyone (so long as it's not a threat) and it's perfectly legal.

I saw a Spike Lee film about hurricane Katrina, and in it Vice President Cheney is visiting a neighborhood and talking to some reporters...well how about you see for yourself how awesome free speech is:

"Go Fuck Yourself Mr. Cheney"
Side: Yes!
2 points

Politic translation: It's..well..yeah it's really finance and uhhh....give money to know...rebuild certain areas and uhh...well...we've got a bullshit war to fight and uh..these banks need like 80 trillion dollars so like uhhh...we'll get back to ya...

Side: Yes!
2 points

No matter how you interpret freedom of the press, whether or not the journalist is considered offensive is ultimately up to the individual who is writing, reading, or being targeted. The only time the government can legally restrict press information is when the information threatens national security, or may cause injury to the government as a whole. Jayne Lyn Stahl argues by using Richard Nixon’s quote: “…we must bear in mind that the rights of free speech and free press do not carry with them the right to advocate the destruction of the very government which protects the freedom of an individual to express his views." In other words, we have no right to contest the government’s foundation although they enforce our right to speak our minds in the first place.

Offensive information is subject to individual opinion. For example, a Hustler, Playboy or Penthouse magazine may be offensive to some people, however it obviously is not offensive to everyone or the companies would not be in business. If an individual is offended by press information, they have the choice to not expose themselves to it. As Carol Narigon insists, "In a world where photos of flag-draped coffins are censored for being offensive, while Britney Spears flashes her vagina to the world, I don't think there is anybody in this country who can define for me what is or is not offensive."

Supporting Evidence: The Freedom to Offend (
Side: Yes!

Yes, freedom of the press does include the right to offend... because no matter what is said, it will offend someone or some group of people on this planet! As the news shows have segments which allow for more opinion rather than straight, factual reporting, offending remarks are going to happen more and more often.

But there is a system of checks and balances... turn off that station, don't go to that website, cancel your magazine/newspaper subscription, and then when viewership/readership is decreased, the sponsors will pull out. When this happens the reporter/writer gets fired! A great example of this is the racial comments made about the female basketball players at Rutgers by Imus.

Side: Yes!
1 point

Yes, because criticism and humor are essential to a balance, objective society. If we fear that someone somewhere will be offended, how can we possibly communicate our concerns about a faulty government, harmful actions, or antisocial beliefs?

There is a time for political correctness, but the other 99% of the time it is unnecessary and unwarranted.

Side: Yes!
1 point

Someone is always going to find something offensive, period. Even if it was not intentional. To censor something that might offend someone, would ingrain an imbalance perspective of things into someone's head. Kind've the same as the news; they talk about certain parts of issues and leave out the rest and then hardly anyone knows the REAL story and that's pretty low.

Side: Yes!
1 point

Of course it has to...i mean if i say something...anything at all for that will beyond doubt offend someeone or the other in that case, what good does the freedom of expression hold, if i cant express what i want to without offending anyone. If someone feels offended, let them they have the same right to expression too...they can retaliate...they can stand up for themselves...nobody is stopping them from doing so...there has to be a healthy flow of information and expression of opinions and views, and so this right is of prime importance.

And it is exactly when you are restricted from doing something that you want to do it...which is normal human its just best to let people be with their freedom of expression regardless of whether it means offending another...!!!

Side: Yes!

I must take this side since the view is "Hate speech should be censored." Yes, it should and that shouldn't be rescinded because one has press credentials or a press pass to an event of some kind. Let me break this down though because it needs to be taken apart and explained.

The word offend can mean many things but to speak in a offensive manner should never be tolerated. The video Soccer included in his argument is a case in point. Had that young man said "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney" in almost any other venue, the secret service would have hustled him out of there 1,2,3! But because he said in while walking past, which was clear from the fading volume when repeating it, he posed no discernible threat. What the young man said was offensive.

Imagine a member of the press saying something like that to VP Cheney while being interviewed!

The right to offend by content is protected under the law...but the right to be offensive while doing it, is most certainly not. Let's say the topic is Muslim terrorists and Wolf Blitzer is conducting the interview of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Wolf is constantly referring to the terrorists as "Towel-Heads" and Muslims in general as "Islam-A-Bums." Does this sound like something that has anything whatever to do with freedom of the press? Not to me it doesn't! He is directly insulting the very man he is interviewing and that is NOT right.

Side: Hate speech should be censored
0 points

Let's ask Britney Spears' opinion.

Side: Hate speech should be censored