Press

EPA Bars Reporters from Several Outlets From Attending National Summit

EPA Bars Reporters from Several Outlets From Attending National Summit

May 23, 2018: Environmental Protection Agency bars select reporters from entering an event where Scott Pruitt, the agency’s chief, was speaking Reporters from CNN, The Associated Press, and E&E News were barred by the EPA from entering a national summit “of national priority,” while other reporters were allowed inside for Scott Pruitt’s opening remarks after having been invited by the agency the[Read More…]

May 23, 2018 Access, Press, Top Stories
Trump Calls Leakers “Traitors and Cowards” In Aggressive Push Against “Fake News Media”

Trump Calls Leakers “Traitors and Cowards” In Aggressive Push Against “Fake News Media”

Trump continued making a connection between fake news and negative press coverage while simultaneously attacking leakers in his own Administration calling them “traitors” and “cowards.” Although CNN’s Brian Stelter points out Trump’s Justice Department “has prosecuted a few cases involving alleged leakers, not nearly as many as some media watchdogs feared, or as many as some Trump allies hoped,” calling out leakers as traitors chills a free press. FAW’s spotlight on leakers points out that “aggressive prosecution of leakers began under President Obama – with the most famous case, Edward Snowden, still in hiding in Russia – and continues under President Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rumored to even be considering a lie detector test to ferret out leakers.”

May 17, 2018 Leaks, Press, Threats, Top Stories
Columnist and The Dallas Morning News Argue in Libel Case that First Amendment Protects Contested Opinion Piece– and Win

Columnist and The Dallas Morning News Argue in Libel Case that First Amendment Protects Contested Opinion Piece– and Win

Parents of Paul Tatum, a teenager who committed suicide, sued now retired columnist Steve Blow at The Dallas Morning News for libel in regards to a piece he wrote in 2010 about their son’s death. The court however decided the column was protected by the First Amendment as it was an opinion piece and therefore protected speech. “The publication of Blow’s column may have run afoul of certain journalistic, ethical, and other standards. But the standards governing the law of defamation are not among them,” wrote Justice Jeff Brown, a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice who handled the case in the Supreme Court.

May 17, 2018 Libel, News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel (screenshot from Providence Journal video 2012)

Judge Says The Providence Journal Was Not Under “Gag Order”

After Jorge DePina was found guilty of murdering his 10 year old daughter, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel stated, according to the court transcript, “No one, no spectator, no one in the spectator section of the courtroom, is permitted to contact my jurors.” She issued two orders, one barring all contact with jurors who convicted the man and[Read More…]

Gene Policinski, Chief Operating Officer, Newseum Institute and First Amendment Center of Newseum Institute

Gene Policinski Commentary: President’s Press Credential Threat Will Be ‘Trumped’ By The First Amendment

The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment expert, Gene Policinski, originally published this commentary on May 11, 2018, on the Newseum blog, and has given First Amendment Watch permission to reprint.           Donald Trump can fantasize all he wants about taking away White House press credentials from news outlets that he doesn’t like. It’s unpleasant for the journalists[Read More…]

President Trump Takes Fake News Accusations To New Level Tweeting Negative Coverage Equals Fake News

President Trump Takes Fake News Accusations To New Level Tweeting Negative Coverage Equals Fake News

Presidents make use of all forms of communication to get their message out to voters. No other President has so effectively used Twitter as President Trump who has called it his “own form of media” used to counter “fake news.” In his latest deluge, President Trump equates negative news coverage with “fake news” and threatens to revoke press credentials (again). The central role of the First Amendment is to protect the people in their writings about government affairs and government officials—and especially when it is negative, as that is when the government is most likely to try to punish writers. As James Madison wrote in his Virginia Report of 1800, freedom of the press protects the “right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.” 

May 14, 2018 Access, Fake News, Press, Threats, Top Stories
Trump Tweets Credentials of “Corrupt Media” Should Be Taken Away

Trump Tweets Credentials of “Corrupt Media” Should Be Taken Away

President Trump has referred many times to “fake news” as coverage of him or his administration that he believes to be wrong. On May 9, however, he wrote that “Fake News is working overtime” even in the face of “the tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else…” Then he wrote that “91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake).” The central role of the First Amendment is to protect the people in their writings about government affairs and government officials—and especially when it is negative, as that is when the government is most likely to try to punish writers. As James Madison wrote in his Virginia Report of 1800, freedom of the press protects the “right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed the only effectual guardian of every other right.” Madison continued:  “Let it be recollected, lastly, that the right of electing the members of the government, constitutes more particularly the essence of a free and responsible government. The value and efficacy of this right, depends on the knowledge of the comparative merits and demerits of the candidates for public trust; and on the equal freedom, consequently, of examining and discussing these merits and demerits of the candidates respectively.”

May 11, 2018 Access, Press, Threats
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
Letter from the Federal Farmer, Poughkeepsie Country Journal. Copyright © 2018 Newspapers.com. All Rights Reserved.

History Speaks: Federal Farmer Number 16, 1788

Letters from the Federal Farmer was a series of 18 articles published in the Poughkeepsie Country Journal in late 1787 and early 1788. The articles provided a broad articulation of the Anti-Federalist criticism of the proposed Constitution. In Number 16, the Federal Farmer addressed freedom of the press. The Federalists argued that a bill of rights was not needed, in[Read More…]

January 29, 2018 History Speaks, Press