Yes, of course, free speech needs to be protected, and many of the recent incidences of denying some speakers the opportunity to to appear have hurt the cause of freedom and democracy.
However, lies, distortion and speech that is purposely provocative, such as the previous commenter mentioned, Ann Coulter and Milo, and recently Betsy DeVos, must be immediately called for what they are doing. The difficulty is in finding a respectful way in which to do this, when their methods are so disrespectful.
The standards of discussion have been dropping for years. Right-wing radio and TV, exemplified by Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, have been very successful examples of name calling, factual distortions, and divisiveness, that have made reasonable discussions much more difficult. Cable TV is mostly composed of people yelling, interrupting, and making extreme arguments just to attract ratings. Internet comments are usually worse.
Trump has run his entire campaign, really his entire career, that way. He spews out so many lies, distortions and argumentative Tweets and statements on a daily basis that need to be countered and opposed. Yet, he keeps rolling on, undeterred by facts, and unconcerned about the harm he does to American institutions, to groups of people, and even individuals.
That’s why so many people who are TV commentators, from the press, public service, and even academia have gone on public rants about how crazy and damaging this administration has been.
Trump and Bannon have taken all the right-wing screaming to a new level. This has been amplified by all the new technologies that offer instant communications such as Twitter, Facebook and even Medium. Everyone has an opinion, even me, no matter how uninformed or badly expressed. Is anyone listening?
Sadly, so much of “free speech” has turned into almost meaningless provocative babbling and garbage. But still, I agree, it must be allowed and protected.