David K. Shipler's new book Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword isn't about freedom of speech. It's about varieties of speech that Shipler likes and doesn't like. The book is less of the searching look at freedom of speech that it claims to be and more of a grab bag of dishonest political attacks on people and things that its author, a former New York Timesian notorious for his sympathy for terrorists, hates.
Shipler suggests that Muslim terrorists don't have the same freedom to advocate violence as Republicans. "What a right-wing politician can approvingly say about armed revolution cannot be spoken with impunity by a Muslim preacher," he complains.
And Shipler has far more sympathy for the Muslim terrorist than for the conservative. Though he insists that he advocates freedom of speech, his text is full of totalitarian itches begging to be scratched.