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Editorials

  • Does silence equal death on gay bullying?

    By CHARLES HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    Culture wars are returning to school this fall as conflicts over what to say — or not to say — about homosexuality escalate across the country.

    After a spate of high-profile news stories about gay teen suicides (nationwide, six in September alone), school officials are caught in the crossfire in the fight over how to address the anti-gay bullying that has been implicated in some of the deaths.

  • Assembly rights have limits that may be tested

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment’s guarantee of the right of assembly doesn’t necessarily include a right to camp out.

    “The Constitution doesn’t protect tents,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said recently, as Occupy Wall Street protesters continued their month-long vigil at Zuccotti Park. “It protects speech and assembly.”
    Bloomberg has it right, although the quasi-private nature of this particular park complicates things a bit.

  • Jim Hines deserves nod for serivce

    We are pleased to see that Rockwood has fielded an ample pool of qualified candidates for the city administrator job.

    We expect that city council members will have a harder time than usual eliminating candidates to get down to their final choice.

    However, we cannot let the retirement of former city administrator Jim Hines pass without comment.
    Hines served both the cities of Rockwood and Harriman loyally and with integrity for many years.
    We know him to be a man of intelligence and depth.

  • U.S. turned own guns against WWI vets in 1932

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The “Occupy Wall Street” movement and its rapidly spreading urban echoes are — like the Tea Party movement — grand examples of Americans using at least two of our lesser-known First Amendment freedoms: assembly and petition.

    Regardless of how you feel about either or both movements, they are the latest examples of the role of protest in American politics and society. In the history of protest, there are both lessons to be learned and mistakes to be avoided.

  • Change in libel law increased press freedom

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Forty-seven years ago, the free press became much more free.

    In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that journalists may not be sued successfully by public officials for libel unless their news coverage was false, damaged a reputation and was published with “actual malice.”

    That meant establishing that the defamation was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

  • Saturday delivery cuts no answer for postal service

    By DONALD J. HALL JR.
    To ensure its future, the U.S. Postal Service must do more than seek short-term fixes to its long-term financial problems. Year after year, the U.S. Postal Service continues to raise postal rates to cover its growing expenses without adequately addressing its underlying organizational and operational issues.

    Instead, it is offering to cut service by eliminating Saturday mail delivery.

  • School Internet filters often too blunt to help

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    There’s nothing sexy about the First Amendment Center’s website.

    Our goal is to publish a daily report that can be used in any classroom in America. We strive to be nonpartisan, apolitical and as tasteful as possible.

    We know that if parents and educators know that we’re a safe and trusted destination, their children and students are more likely to turn to us for research and term papers on the First Amendment.

  • Free speech defense should include all sides

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Here’s a quick two-step self-test of how you really feel about free expression.

    Step 1: What did you think about Hank Williams Jr. comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler?
    Should Monday Night Football stop using Williams’ “Are You Ready for Some Football?”

    Step 2: How did you feel about Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks telling a London audience that she was embarrassed that President Bush was from her home state of Texas?

  • Interruptions shouldn’t be celebrated

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center

    You don’t have to spend much time watching cable television or listening to talk radio before you hear people being interrupted and cut off.

  • The newspaper myth dispelled, once and for all

    By WILLIAM E.N. HAWKINS
    National newspaper week, Oct. 2-8, is a time to celebrate the unique role newspapers play in our society and dispel the myth that they are going away.

    It may be difficult for some to see through the fog of recession and digital disruption, but if you look closely you’ll see that newspapers remain healthy.

    Despite the doomsayers, newspapers are actually growing readership as we find new ways to reach consumers.

    While overall revenues are down, so are expenses and most newspapers remain profitable.