Media & Communications Policy

Media & Communications Policy

Issues & Developments in the Realm of Communications and Media Policy & the First Amendment

Category Archives: First Amendment

Subscribe to First Amendment RSS Feed

The Udall Amendment: When Politics Mean More Than the Constitution

Posted in Campaign Finance, First Amendment, Journalism
It came as no surprise when, in June, Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and 41 other U.S. senators, Democrats all, proposed a campaign finance amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Ever since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, Democrats and their surrogates in the media and allied advocacy groups, worried that the case would work to … Continue Reading

Dropping George Will Is a Bad Way To Arrest That Subscriber Decline, Post-Dispatch

Posted in First Amendment, Free speech, Journalism, Media criticism, Publishing
Even as such things are becoming commonplace, the sacking of George Will’s syndicated column by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sets a new low in mainstream journalism’s race to the bottom. In case you’re unfamiliar with the situation, Will wrote a piece (“Colleges become the victims of progressivism”) in which he ridiculed, in the context of … Continue Reading

Nowhere To Hide

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment
Because free speech aficionados like us are attracted to those subjects where even angels fear to tread, let’s talk about Donald Sterling. The first thing one wants to say is that the guy is a slob.  Indeed, there’s evidence that he’s been a slob for quite some time.  Read, for instance (if you have the … Continue Reading

Political Correctness Takes a Turn for the Worse

Posted in First Amendment, Free speech, Journalism, Media criticism
It’s widely understood that “political correctness” can be employed as a speech-killing device.   But it’s only been in recent times that we’ve been able to witness the full range of its lethality. From colleges and universities like Fordham, Brown, and Brandeis have come recent, ugly demonstrations of intolerance, based on PC–themed arguments, which have yielded … Continue Reading

Five Myths About the Federal Shield Law

Posted in First Amendment, Free speech, Journalism
By guest blogger KURT WIMMER, ESQ., partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., and chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council. Free speech is the oxygen of the blogosphere.  Blogs, tweets and Facebook posts couldn’t have the profound influence they have rightfully earned in our new and diverse marketplace of ideas … Continue Reading

Fordham’s Take on Freedom of Speech

Posted in First Amendment, Free speech
An important piece in the Wall Street Journal, profiling the president of a student free-speech group called the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, spotlights the challenges facing free speech on the nation’s college campuses. A recent incident at Fordham University, mentioned in the article, provides a good example.  There, the university’s College Republicans invited … Continue Reading

Free Speech and That YouTube Video

Posted in First Amendment, Free speech
In an age when, for many, political correctness (not to mention political opportunism) trumps free speech, one should be wary of assertions that specific kinds of speech have precipitated criminal conduct. We saw false claims like this in the case of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), when such as the New York Times’ … Continue Reading

Defending the First Amendment in the 21st Century

Posted in FCC, First Amendment, Free speech
By guest blogger HAROLD FURCHTGOTT-ROTH, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission. On September 11 and the following days, violent mobs attacked Americans and American property in Cairo, Benghazi, and cities throughout the Middle East.  Americans were murdered.  Embassies were ransacked.  Americans in the region, and even … Continue Reading

Chick-fil-A and City Officials: A Whole Lotta Clucking Goin’ On

Posted in Campaign Finance, First Amendment, Free speech
Ah, political correctness. It never disappoints.  Take, for instance, the latest eruption of civic broadmindedness brought on when the president of the restaurant chain Chick-fil-A professed his personal embrace, based on his religious views, of traditional marriage. Outraged by the effrontery, the mayor of Boston and a Chicago alderman (Messrs. Menino and Moreno, respectively) immediately … Continue Reading

Google and the First Amendment

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Media Regulation
By guest blogger KURT WIMMER, ESQ., partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., and chairman of The Media Institute’s First Amendment Advisory Council. I just had the privilege of participating in a panel discussion at an American Antitrust Institute conference.  My panel included such luminaries as Eli Noam of Columbia, Gene Kimmelman of … Continue Reading

DOL Reportedly Postponing New ‘Lock-up’ Policy

Posted in Digital technology, First Amendment, Journalism
Published reports suggest that the Department of Labor is poised to delay implementation of a policy announced in April that would require reporters working in the DOL’s “lock-up” room to use government computers and transmission lines when writing stories about DOL reports and data as they’re released.  The proposed policy caused a flurry of criticism … Continue Reading

The Truth Behind Google’s Copyright-Bills Hysteria

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Media Legislation, New Media
Though the final chapter in the legislative history of the copyright bills hasn’t yet been written, a couple things are obvious even now: The tech industry has demonstrated great political clout through the mobilization of its users and fan base; and the industry lobby, led by Google, will say and do pretty much anything to … Continue Reading

A Court Strangely Conflicted About Indecency

Posted in Broadcast Indecency, Content Controls, FCC, First Amendment, Free speech, Media jurisprudence
By guest blogger LAURENCE H. WINER, professor of law, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. "You taught me language, and my profit on't is I know how to curse." - Caliban in The Tempest Here's a question the late language maven, William Safire, might have pondered listening to the recent Supreme Court oral argument in the Fox and ABC broadcast indecency cases. What is truly "indecent" in the normative, Webster's Third sense of the word as "not conforming to generally accepted standards of morality"… Continue Reading

Rationalizing Theft: The Technology Lobby’s Attack on Copyright Legislation

Posted in Copyright, Digital technology, FCC, First Amendment, Network Neutrality
The technology crowd’s objections to the copyright protection bills, now moving their way through Congress, put one in mind of H.L. Mencken’s crack that criticism is prejudice made plausible.  This, because that industry’s leaders, scribes, and think tanks uniformly oppose every legislative initiative aimed at protecting copyrighted content, even as they frequently give lip service … Continue Reading