Why NYT v. Sullivan Matters More than Ever
Conservative politicians want to use libel laws to intimidate critics. One Supreme Court case stands in their way.
Evidence of Political Pressure in Firing of West Va. Radio Reporter
Insiders claim a growing pattern of political pressure from the office of Governor Jim Justice to use the threat of defunding to defang public radio coverage of state affairs.
SOURCE: PEN America
Virtual Event: Scholars Discuss Free Speech at American Writers Museum May 18
This event looks at historical moments where strident expressions of political thought, widely perceived to be anti-democratic in their own place and time, provoked new strictures.
SOURCE: Made By History at the Washington Post
A Major Supreme Court First Amendment Decision Could Be At Risk
by Samantha Barbas
The "actual malice" standard of proof in libel suits established by New York Times v. Sullivan is an imperfect fit for the social media age, but right-wing calls to overturn the ruling would allow the rich and powerful to bully the press with expensive lawsuits.
50 Years Later, the Pentagon Papers Remain an Historic Landmark for Freedom of the Press
by Jared Schroeder
While democratic norms have, at times, seemed paper thin in recent years, the Court’s terse decision in the Pentagon Papers decision persists as a bulwark against government efforts to halt publication.
SOURCE: New York Times
"We're Going to Publish": The New York Times' Oral History of the Pentagon Papers
From RAND Corporation leaker Daniel Ellsberg to first amendement litigator Floyd Abrams, the key players in the 1971 publication of the Pentagon papers reflect on their work 50 years later.
SOURCE: The Conversation
Emily Wilder and Journalism's Longstanding Achilles’ Heel – Partisans Who Cry Bias
by Matthew Jordan
Outrage campaigns against the news media like the one that pushed the AP to fire a young journalist recently are nothing new; they are a longstanding tactic to push the press to alter its coverage.
America's First Peaceful (Just Barely!) Transfer of Power
by Akhil Reed Amar
While the selection of Thomas Jefferson as the third president in 1801 (after an electoral college deadlock) is touted as a crucial peaceful transfer of presidential power from one party to another, the transition was far more fraught with peril than most realize.
The Age of Reason and the Restless Masses: Censoring Class Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century
by Eric Berkowitz
The ruling classes of nineteenth century Europe were gravely concerned about the potential of mass media to help upend the class structure or incite workers to revolution. Their actions didn't seek to expunge taboo ideas, but to restrict their circulation to the elites.
Elijah Lovejoy Faced Down Violent Mobs to Champion Abolition and the Free Press
by Ken Ellingwood
In 1837, Elijah Lovejoy was killed by a pro-slavery mob in Illinois, and the press he used to publish his abolitionist newsletter was thrown into the Mississippi River. Lovejoy's championing of both abolition and the free press should inspire us today.
Palin v. New York Times is a Textualist Land Mine for the First Amendment
by Richard E. Labunski
In June, trial will begin in Sarah Palin's libel case against the New York Times. The case appears to be teed up on a path to the Supreme Court, where the current "actual malice" standard for proving a public figure was libeled could be overturned. If this happens, the door will be open to lawsuits aimed at crushing press criticism of the government.
SOURCE: Simon and Schuster (Special to HNN)
This writer decided to write about the year 1721 after he got one of those Fact-a-Day calendars
He was intrigued by the entry noting that in 1721 Boston was hit by a devastating small pox epidemic. (Interview)
Did Thomas Jefferson Have a Consistent Message on Free Presses?
by M. Andrew Holowchak
The evidence shows a gap between his approbation of a free press and his experience with it.
The Media Have Been the Target of Violence since the Beginning of the Republic
by Harold Holzer
It’s always an ominous sign.
FROM OUR ARCHIVES The American Press Has Served Us Well. We Need to Protect It.
by Vaughn Davis Bornet
That new man in the White House needs to be made aware that the job he occupies is a Bully Pulpit—and not a Bullying Pulpit.
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