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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Support for free speech drops if you hate message

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    Does anybody have a sense of humor anymore?

    The First Amendment’s role in protecting free speech is to shelter remarks that most people don’t like. Words that everybody finds acceptable need no defense.

    In between those two polar points is the daily give-and-take of discourse. The verbal tumult of braggadocio, insults, satire and plain speaking can pass the time of day or give rise to what lawyers and Supreme Court justices politely call “robust discussion.”

  • GUEST OPINION:Copyright law favors Romney in anti-Gingrich ad

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center

    NBC News has asked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign to stop airing an anti-Newt Gingrich ad that includes an excerpt from a 1997 “NBC Nightly News” report featuring Tom Brokaw.

    The political ad shows the former NBC anchor reporting that Gingrich had been reprimanded by the House Ethics Committee.

    NBC and Brokaw have protested that the use of the clip violates copyright law and exploits Brokaw and NBC News’ journalistic credibility.

  • GUEST OPINION: ‘Evil little thing’ gets lesson in religious freedom

    By Charles C. Haynes
    First Amendment Center
     At the tender age of 16, Jessica Ahlquist has already endured more verbal abuse than most people experience in a lifetime.

    A high school student in Cranston, R.I., Ahlquist has been taunted and threatened at school, targeted by an online hate campaign, and called “an evil little thing” by a state representative on the radio.

  • GUEST OPINION: Newspapers best source for public notice

    By FRANK GIBSON
    TPA Public Policy Director
    When the First Congress met in New York City in 1789, the Acts of the First Session required the new government to publish all bills, orders, resolutions and congressional votes in at least three newspapers.

    A few years later, Tennessee adopted its constitution. It requires the legislature to “publish” any amendment approved by the General Assembly, giving notice that the next legislature also will have to vote on it.

  • GUEST OPINION: Holiday for MLK shows power of 1st Amendment

    By DAVID L. HUDSON Jr.
    First Amendment Center
    This week, after a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., people should take time to remember and reflect on how the First Amendment can better society.

    Without the First Amendment, protesters could not have assembled and voiced their clarion call for an end to segregation laws.

    Without the First Amendment, the press would not have been able to report as freely on civil rights abuses.
    King himself exercised his First Amendment freedoms at great peril.

  • OUR OPINION: Redistricters can expect to feel voters’ ire

    Who can blame Roane Countians for feeling a bit sold down the river in the latest redistricting effort?

    Not only does the plan carved out by the Republican majority split the poor residents of the city of Rockwood into two separate legislative districts, but it also leaves Roane County with two state representatives — neither of whom live in the county.

    State Rep. Julia Hurley of Lenoir City, whose 32nd District gained more of Loudon County in the redistricting, has shrugged off any part in the change.

  • Naked Carolinian wasn’t worst embarrassment

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    A streaker at an East Carolina University football game in Greenville, N.C., produced much more than just a crass — and somewhat dated — distraction during a halftime ceremony last Nov. 5.

    The naked miscreant set off a series of events which led to the firing this week of Paul Isom, adviser to The East Carolinian student newspaper.

    According to reports, he was dismissed Jan. 4 in connection with publication of news photos of the incident.

  • Caution needed when religion, schools collide

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    I remember being called down to the principal’s office at my public high school in spring 1972.
    No, I wasn’t in trouble.
    When I arrived there, I was handed a phone and told to call the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They had a question for me.
    “Are you Christian?” came the inquiry over the phone.
    It seems that I’d been nominated as a Fellowship of Christian Athletes high school athlete of the year and my times on the track were not enough to shore up my nomination.

  • ‘Sustainable’ Roane County the right move

    From out of the ashes, the phoenix rises.
    While that comes from ancient mythology, there are plenty of examples of great good coming from terrible tragedy.
    Take the Great Chicago Fire that wiped out that then-slapped-together stockyard town in 1871.
    With planning and effort, from the ashes of those wooden buildings rose great skyscrapers and examples of architectural advancement that are still marvels today.
    What does all this have to do with Roane County?

  • GUEST OPINION: Supreme court got it right 70 years ago

    By DAVID L. HUDSON JR.
    First Amendment Center
    In the United States we possess the right of political speech, including the right to criticize our political leaders and institutions. Seventy years ago — in December 1941 — the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that fundamental First Amendment principle in Bridges v. California.

    The case consolidated two separate cases involving different parties and circumstances — labor leader Harry Bridges in one, and the Los Angeles Times in the other.