Access

Can President Trump and Other Public Officials Block Dissenting Voices on Social Media?

Can President Trump and Other Public Officials Block Dissenting Voices on Social Media?

President Trump blocked some of his critics on his Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump, prompting a lawsuit arguing that such action violated their First Amendment rights. The lawsuit raised questions about the use of social media sites by public officials. Clearly, a personal website of a public figure is not subject to First Amendment restrictions, and so the site operator can block users. But a site run by the government, or run by a public official for his public business, would likely be categorized as a limited public forum protected by the First Amendment. Officials would violate the First Amendment if they discriminated against posters because of their viewpoint. But is @realDonaldTrump a personal site or an official government site? That’s a key question. He started the account in 2009, when he was a private citizen, but now uses it to share policy statements and his views on public issues.

April 4, 2018 Access, Below the Fold, News Gathering
Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center of Newseum Institute

Gene Policinski Commentary: The White House is Wrong. A Free Press Is ‘The People’

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on March 8, 2018, in the Austin American-Statesman, and then Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.   _________________________________________________________________________________ An angry U.S. president feels hounded by the news media and is infuriated and discouraged with the intense and personal criticism of his domestic and international policies. I[Read More…]

March 12, 2018 Access, Below the Fold, Press
Eric Greitens

Missouri Governor Faces Lawsuit Over Secret Messaging App

February 1, 2018: Are Messaging Apps That Delete Content A Threat to the First Amendment? Two lawyers have brought a suit against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens for using an encrypted-messaging app, Confide, that makes records of his administration difficult to archive. According to the complaint which asks for a temporary restraining order against the app’s use, “the use of automatic[Read More…]

February 2, 2018 Access, Top Stories
Jason Aldean

Country Music Association Backtracks on Reporter Ban At Awards Gala

November 3, 2017: Under Pressure, the Country Music Association Apologies For Attempting to Silence Reporters The Country Music Association first told reporters covering the annual awards event next week that questions about “the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like” were to be avoided. The penalty: a “security escort” out of the event. The Association[Read More…]

November 3, 2017 Access, Censorship, Top Stories
The President’s Mar-A-Lago Retreat and Presidential Access

The President’s Mar-A-Lago Retreat and Presidential Access

Throughout history, U.S. Presidents have relied on private retreats to recharge during the trials of governing. George H.W. Bush had a “Summer White House” in Kennebunkport, Maine, FDR  built a “Little White House” in Warm Springs, Georgia, and Harry S. Truman had his own Florida “Little White House” before President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Mar-a-Lago, once the Marjorie Merriweather Post estate, is[Read More…]

October 9, 2017 Access, News Gathering
The End of White House Press Briefings?

The End of White House Press Briefings?

Truncated, often truculent, and now off-camera, White House Press Briefings no longer provide a link to the Administration’s thinking, so what’s their worth?

July 12, 2017 Access, Leaks, News Gathering
The Chilling Effect of Public Broadcasting Funding Cuts

The Chilling Effect of Public Broadcasting Funding Cuts

Does the government have a role to play in public broadcasting?

July 11, 2017 Access, News Gathering
Reporters Persona Non Grata at White House

Reporters Persona Non Grata at White House

Press blackouts began during the campaign of now-President Donald Trump and continue with overt exclusions and passing over reporter questions at target organizations.

May 17, 2017 Access, News Gathering
Are Media Blackouts the New Norm?

Are Media Blackouts the New Norm?

Gag orders or standard practice of administrations in transition?