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Editorials

  • 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. 

  • It sounds like a threat, but it really isn’t

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center

    When are words that seem threatening not legally a threat?

    A jury in Hartford, Conn., refused on Sept. 16 to convict blogger Hal Turner of charges stemming from online comments he made in 2009 urging others, in response to a new state law, to “take up arms and put down this tyranny by force” and that public officials should “obey the Constitution or die.”

  • TVA lawsuit puts residents between rock, hard place

    Many of us are watching with interest as the first of lawsuits over TVA’s 2008 ash spill makes its way through federal court.

    The lawsuits, which kicked off last week in Knoxville, are important and many millions of dollars are at stake.

    It’s difficult for Roane Countians to take a side in these cases.

    One the one hand, many Roane Countians have suffered as the result of what TVA’s own inspector general has deemed carelessness.

  • Putting 9/11 fear aside in favor of freedom

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in March 1933 — speaking in his first inaugural address to a desperate and fearful nation wracked by the Great Depression.

    Those same words, which perhaps would be sent today as a tweet from PrezFDR.gov, translate well to today’s war on terror as we mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

  • Ruling means press might pay to stream games

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    When the nation’s Founders protected press freedom, they had never heard of public high school football games. If they had, they probably would have understood the desire of a free press to cover them. But the press has run into a little trouble with that of late.

  • Women’s equality remains only a goal in workplace

    By MARIANNE HILL
    American Forum
    Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, is both a celebration of women’s progress and a reminder that equality remains a goal, not a reality.
    On this day in 1920, women gained the right to vote under the 19th Amendment.
    Today, more than 90 years later, the struggle to advance women’s rights is concentrated on the economic front — with an end to discrimination against women in the labor force a critical, and hotly debated, objective.

  • As West looks to control tweets, China squawks

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    The use of social media to organize and fuel riots in Great Britain has led some Western public officials to speculate about limits on BlackBerry messages, Twitter and Facebook.
    Such talk has not gone unnoticed by more-repressive nations.
    Chinese media have claimed hypocrisy by the West and have used the news events as justification for “proper web monitoring.”
    From Xinhua, China’s state-run news organization: