Despite attacks on free press, young journalists won’t be silenced

Despite attacks on free press, young journalists won’t be silenced

Kaylee Pugliese, RWU senior majoring in journalism:  At a Nov. 7 press conference, CNN reporter James Acosta asked President Donald Trump a question about immigrants from Central America traveling to the U.S. border. “I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself, having you working for them,” Trump said. “You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn’t be working for CNN.” Even at a surface glance, this statement is an attack on Acosta and, therefore, an attack on the…

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An attack on the free press, an attack on democracy

An attack on the free press, an attack on democracy

Angeli Tillett, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science: Coming into college as a journalism major was scary enough. Everyone always rants about how “journalism is dead” and how we’ll never find a place in a newsroom. Despite the negativity, we’re still here. But the future of journalism is growing even more uncertain as President Donald Trump continually attacks the media. On Nov. 7, Trump took the drastic step of revoking the “hard pass” of CNN Chief White House…

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White House must return Jim Acosta’s press credentials

White House must return Jim Acosta’s press credentials

Noah Ashe, RWU junior majoring in journalism and political science: The President of the United States and CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta engaged in a tense exchange on Wednesday, Nov. 7, that saw President Trump having one of his aides take the microphone out of Acosta’s hands and the President berating the reporter, calling him a “rude and terrible person.” Acosta, CNN’s longstanding White House correspondent, was not doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary. He was fulfilling…

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U.S. free press beacon dimmed

U.S. free press beacon dimmed

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: The President of the United States praised a member of Congress for assaulting a journalist. Think about the message that sends to the world. Now add in that President Trump had just spent days publicly grasping for ways to avoid blaming Saudi Arabia for the gruesome murder of another journalist. And then,…

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First Amendment lets officials mute but not block Twitter critics

First Amendment lets officials mute but not block Twitter critics

Jenna Wims Hashway, professor of legal practice at the RWU School of Law: Public agencies and officials run afoul of First Amendment protections if they block Twitter followers for criticizing them. But those First Amendment arguments are moot if those government officials simply hit “mute.” That’s the upshot of a recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, who said that President Trump’s decision to block Twitter followers for their political views represented a violation of the First Amendment….

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Recognizing a champion of open government, First Amendment

Recognizing a champion of open government, First Amendment

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: Glamorous work it’s not. The work that she has done for decades has placed her at odds with some of the state’s most powerful public officials. The work has placed her on hard wooden benches in State House hearing rooms, waiting for hours to deliver testimony to leery legislators. And the work…

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Alex Jones might not find refuge in First Amendment

Alex Jones might not find refuge in First Amendment

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: The First Amendment protects a lot of outlandish, hateful speech. It protected the right of Westboro Baptist Church members to hold anti-gay protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers. And it protected the right of neo-Nazis to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie where many Holocaust survivors lived (they ended up…

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Infowars Goes to War with the First Amendment

Infowars Goes to War with the First Amendment

David A. Logan, professor of law and former dean of the RWU School of Law, who has studied and written extensively about First Amendment issues: The malicious spreading of rumors, masquerading as fact, well predates the Internet, but the ubiquity and speed of electronic communications, and the tendency of social media to provide amplification, has made the problem exponentially more dangerous to the “marketplace of ideas.” Perhaps there is no better example of that cancer on public discourse than Infowars,…

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Attacks on press pose danger to journalists, democracy

Attacks on press pose danger to journalists, democracy

June Speakman, RWU political science professor: On Aug. 5, Brian Stelter, anchor of CNN’s Reliable Sources, shared with viewers an audiotape of a call to a CSPAN political show in which the caller said that if he ran into Stelter and CNN correspondent Don Lemon, he would “shoot” them. Earlier in the week, MSNBC’s Katy Tur read an email from a viewer who wrote that he hoped that she “got raped and killed” and signed off as “MAGA” (“Make America Great…

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Putin is no friend of a free press

Putin is no friend of a free press

Edward Fitzpatrick, RWU director of media and public relations, a New England First Amendment Coalition and Common Cause Rhode Island board member, and a former Providence Journal columnist: President Trump has heaped scorn on the leaders of long-time U.S. allies such as Canada – calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “very dishonest and weak.” And he has heaped praise on the leaders of long-time adversaries such as Russia – calling President Vladimir Putin “very, very strong” after a particularly obsequious performance…

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