Conflict & Compromise

Protecting the First Amendment often conflicts with protecting other values, like the right to a fair trial, fair elections and national security. In chapter 11 of Freedom for the Thought We Hate, author Anthony Lewis discusses the struggle that comes with balancing the First Amendment with other interests. Protecting the right to a fair trial... Continue Reading →

Hate Speech & Social Media is a social network that promotes itself as a safe haven for free speech and an alternative to Twitter and Facebook. It was also used by the man responsible for the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting last month. In response to the shooting and wide spread criticism of the platform, Gab CEO and founder Andrew Torba... Continue Reading →

Legacy of the Snowden Leaks

In 2013 Edward Snowden copied and leaked thousands of classified documents revealing information about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance of Americans and people all over the world. The Guardian and The Washington Post then published stories based on the classified information. Similar to the Pentagon Papers, the Snowden revelations resulted in an espionage case against... Continue Reading →

The Weaponization of Facebook

In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard University dorm, with the goal of connected Harvard students. Fast forward to today—the platform has over 2 billion active users and is being confronted with the consequences it has for society, both good and bad.   Last week Frontline aired a two-part documentary called The Facebook... Continue Reading →

The First Amendment vs. National Security

What happens when the rights protected under the First Amendment conflict with national security efforts? This question is at the core of one of the most important First Amendment conflicts in the United States, the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers contained 7,000 pages of classified information from a secret study ordered by the Department of... Continue Reading →

You’ve Been Served

Last week, PEN America, a nonprofit that works to defend free expression, sued President Donald Trump in federal court. The lawsuit claims Trump’s statements and actions violate the First Amendment protections of free speech and a free press. “PEN wants the court to block the president from using his office to retaliate against media criticism,”... Continue Reading →

Protecting Whistleblowers

An informed public is a part of the foundation of a functioning democracy. Confidentiality plays a significant role in helping the press inform the public of government conduct. Confidential sources have led to the publication of seminal news stories, significantly impacting the public’s participation in our democracy. For example, journalists have relied on confidential sources... Continue Reading →

Live from New York

Last week Saturday Night Live aired the second episode of its 44th season, hosted by Aquafina. The show thoroughly covered Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation. They began with a cold open featuring GOP senators celebrating in a locker room. “Everyone is pumped, from white men over 60 to white men over 70,” said Beck Bennett... Continue Reading →

Right to Criticize

Access to truthful information allows people to be active participants in our democracy. Freedom of the press plays a crucial role in this process. This includes the right to criticize government officials and public figures.   In Freedom for the Though That We Hate, author Anthony Lewis describes cases that have had a lasting impact... Continue Reading →

Enemy of the Public

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press, among other rights. These rights have been points of debate in the current administration. The Trump administration has unclear and contradicting stances on protecting First Amendment rights. Last week Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a speech at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, for Constitution... Continue Reading →

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