Ken White has this one: How To Spot And Critique Censorship Tropes In The Media’s Coverage Of Free Speech Controversies.
American journalists and pundits rely upon vigorous free speech, but are not reliable supporters of it. They both instruct and reflect their fickle audience.
it’s harder to detect the subtle pro-censorship assumptions and rhetorical devices that permeate media coverage of free speech controversies. In discussing our First Amendment rights, the media routinely begs the question — it adopts stock phrases and concepts that presume that censorship is desirable or constitutional, and then tries to pass the result off as neutral analysis. This promotes civic ignorance and empowers deliberate censors.
Fortunately, this ain’t rocket science. Americans can train themselves to detect and question the media’s pro-censorship tropes. I’ve collected some of the most pervasive and familiar ones. This post is designed as a resource, and I’ll add to it as people point out more examples and more tropes.
When you see the media using these tropes, ask yourself: what normative message is the author advancing, and does it have any basis in law?
Nine “tropes” are listed and described. The key lesson is to not swallow what you are given without some thought as to its presentation, its support, and a proper amount of skepticism.