Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times
Free speech is one of the founding principles of our republic. How can we deny him [Ahmadinejad] the right to speak simply because we don’t like what he has to say, or what he has already said? Isn’t that one of the biggest things that sets this nation apart from nations like Iran in the first place?
The right of free speech cannot be parceled out based on whether we want to hear what the speaker has to say, or whether we agree with those views. It means, quite often, tolerating the expression of views that we find distasteful, perhaps even repugnant. There is much that the Iranian president has to say that is loathsome, about Israel, about the Holocaust, about terrorism, about the United States. Are those views going to disappear because we cover our ears? Are we better equipped to counter those views if we don’t hear them? We think the answer to those questions is, “No.”