Sociologist under attack

Hi all,
Most of you will have already seen reports on Glenn Beck’s targeting of Frances Fox Piven, the much lauded sociologist who was the invited guest speaker at an ARNOVA plenary a couple of years back. If not, you can find some background here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/30/frances-fox-piven-glenn-beck

The question that I would like to raise here is what can we do about this, or things like it? We all recognize the dangers to a free and open civil society when journalists, politicians, and academics are threatened, or worse, for participating in public discourse. Are there things that academics can or should do to encourage greater public support for the basic underpinnings of democracy? Or to support and protect our colleagues?
What are your thoughts?

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