Carol Stark: Survey says First Amendment still in high regard – Joplin Globe

Its a report that I have been reading every year since its inception in the late 1990s, and while it might not be on your radar, I highly recommend the annual State of the First Amendment.

This is the 20th survey in this series, and the report is compiled after a survey by the First Amendment Center of the Newseum Institute.

Many years ago, I was part of a group of journalists who visited with those who conduct the survey.

They asked us some of the questions. It was interesting how even journalists sometimes had issues with the amendment that is virtually the only license we need to do our jobs.

First, as a refresher, heres the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

While it may seem simple and straightforward, the First Amendment and how it can be applied is often misconstrued and often debated.

Here are a few of the questions on the survey. Before you leap ahead, try answering them for yourself.

Question 1: The First Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution more than 225 years ago.

Based on your own feelings about the First Amendment, please answer whether you agree ordisagree with the following statements: TheFirst Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.

Question 2:It is important for our democracy that the news media act as a watchdog on government.

Question 3:Overall, the news media tries to report the news without bias.

Question 4: In general, do you prefer news information that is aligned with your own views?

So how do your views line up with those of the more than 1,000 people surveyed in May of this year? By the way, this is the first year question four has been on the survey.

If youve jotted down your answers, read away for a comparison.

Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said they agreed that the First Amendment goes too far in protecting rights. In 1999 when the question was asked, 28 percent of those surveyed thought it went too far.

The news media still must act as the watchdog on government said 68 percent of those surveyed. That number was higher in 2004, when 77 percent agreed.

Based on some of the comments I hear, this one pleasantly surprised me. Forty-three percent of those surveyed agreed that the news media tries to report the news without bias. In 2004, only 39 percent agreed with that statement.

Question No. 4 indicates that 16.5 percent of the respondents strongly agree that they prefer news from outlets that are aligned with their views; 36.7 percent somewhat agree; 24.5 percent somewhat disagree; 17.3 percent strongly disagree and 5 percent either didnt know or refused to answer the question.

The short version of the report included interesting insight on the divisions in attitudes toward the First Amendment depending on whether the respondent was liberal or conservative.

Conservatives were more likely than liberals to believe that government officials who leak information should be prosecuted and that the government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher level of scrutiny. However, liberals were more likely than conservatives to think that colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views and that people should not be able to express racist views on social media.

Its a timely read in advance of the Fourth of July. Go towww.newseuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/state-of-the-first-amendment to take a look for yourself.

As for me, I feel honored to be a part of a profession that exists because of the foresight of the Founding Fathers. A nation without a free press simply would not be America.

Carol Stark is the editor of the Globe. Her email address is cstark@joplinglobe.com.

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Carol Stark: Survey says First Amendment still in high regard – Joplin Globe

Editorial: First Amendment means free people have free expression – Omaha World-Herald

The U.S. Constitutions Bill of Rights rightly gives robust protections to Americans free expression of ideas, even when those thoughts are out of the mainstream or repulsive.

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black summed up that vital concept in 1961 when he wrote that the right to expression under the First Amendment must be accorded to the ideas we hate, or sooner or later they will be denied to the ideas we cherish.

That principle received worthwhile discussion and elaboration recently when the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the importance of preserving free speech rights on college campuses.

First Amendment experts offered thoughtful observations on the enduring importance of promoting free thought and expression.

Floyd Abrams, a lawyer with a background in First Amendment cases, said the proper approach cannot be to limit expression but to discuss it not to bar offensive speech, but to answer it. Or to ignore it. Or to persuade the public to reject it. . . . What is unacceptable is to suppress the speech.

Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles, said, To let hecklers and thugs generally control what is said on campus . . . is an abdication of the universities responsibility to educate to teach their students about the importance of responding to speech with arguments and not with suppression. . . .

Outside the university, when youre trying to persuade voters whom you cant threaten with expulsion or firing, you need to know how to listen and rebut even views that you find wrong even disgusting. That takes practice and what better place for that practice than a university, an institution that is supposed to be all about ideas, debate, reasoning and arguments? Precisely.

J. Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center which is studying hate groups, said his organization is sometimes contacted for advice by students who want to take a stand against a campus speaker they consider offensive.

We suggest creating an alternative event, Cohen said, to provide an open and accepting space for those who want to promote unity rather than divisiveness. We tell leaders that it is their obligation to communicate to their community that they stand for the values of inclusion, pluralism and respect.

The nations universities, Cohen said, should be places where students learn to dissent in thoughtful and constructive ways. To do so is to uphold societys highest ideals.

The principles explained by those testifiers dont mean that every idea is worthy or admirable. The point, rather, is that society is best served by open, energetic debate in which arguments are rigorously tested. Such debate exposes mistaken, outlandish or abhorrent ideas to the light and makes them vulnerable to rebuttal and, as needed, ridicule.

Theres another reason why Americans should hold tight to First Amendment principles: We live in a lamentably polarized society. Many people isolate themselves within their political tribe and are so disdainful of the other side that they see little value in engaging in serious debate.

Such thinking undermines productive discussion of key issues. It also harms the country by preventing us from seeing ourselves as one people.

Our society is well served when we encourage strong, open debate under the First Amendment. Our institutions of higher learning need to be unwavering in promoting free expression and the defense of free speech.

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Editorial: First Amendment means free people have free expression – Omaha World-Herald

Pink Slime: The Latest Battle over the First Amendment – MediaFile

In yet another case trying the first amendment, ABC settled a $1.9 billion libel lawsuit from Beef Products Inc (BPI) in a state court in Elk Point, South Dakota on Wednesday. The suit stemmed from a 2012 story from ABCs World News, in which the broadcast repeatedly used the term pink slime to refer to lean, finely textured beef (LFTB).

BPI claimed the story, which highlighted the production LFTB and its USDA approval process, defamed the company and their beef product, which was at one point found in 70% of all ground beef from around the country. As a result of the story, BPI claimed they were forced to shutter three of their plants, and lay-off hundreds of employees, resulting in billions of dollars in damages.

The case had the potential to be one of the largest defamation suits in Americas history, due in large part to South Dakotas Agricultural Food Products Disparagement Act, which allows claimed damages to be tripled. This meant that BPIs 1.9 billion dollar claim could have resulted in a 5.7 billion dollar pay-out for ABC.

While the BPI case had been loitering in various courts for the past five years, the settlement earlier this week marks the third such high-profile libel case in recent years.

In 2016, a Florida jury found Gawker media guilty in a case stemming from the sites decision to publish wrestler Hulk Hogans sex tape. In November, a Virginia jury found the Rolling Stone guilty in their explosive 2014 report A Rape on Campus.

These cases come at a time in which the media is increasingly working against the court of public opinion, in a climate where fake news is a buzzword, and under a president who has been making headlines over the past week due to his attacks on journalists and news organizations.

Its this pernicious environment that has many first amendment lawyers concerned.

Part of it is the current political climate, said Alan Chen, a first amendment lawyer and professor of constitutional law at the University of Denver. Theres this wholesale onslaught against the media as sort of an untrustworthy institution. Sometimes the plaintiffs are bringing these cases in places where the juries are likely to be sympathetic with the businesses.

Indeed, ABC did attempt to persuade a judge that the case should not be heard in a South Dakota state court, largely because federal courts are viewed as more sympathetic to media organizations.

Chen argues that in a town like Elk Point, it would be difficult for ABC to get a fair shake.

The plaintiff is big employer. ABC is an outsider and an East coast news entity. Theres going to be bias because ABC is being accused of defaming an important employer, said Chen.

Further, Union County (the county in which Elk Point sits) went 67% for Trump who has repeatedly targeted news organizations in recent months and more intensely in recent days.

Though the terms of the settlement arent clear, the potential payout from the lawsuit was enough to prompt the Disney Corporation (ABCs parent company) to include the lawsuit on their 10-Q report, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Such a move indicates that the company believed the suit was potentially damaging enough to have a material impact on their bottom line.

Its that sort of belief that has scholars like Chen concerned. If a libel lawsuit has the possibility to impact the bottom line of a multi-billion dollar corporation like Disney, the potential impacts on a smaller media organization could be catastrophic.

Still, in most cases, the larger company does not carry an incentive to be very careful about what to report and how to report it. Even with will resourced companies, its hard to imagine there wouldnt be some hesitance to publish certain stories, said Chen. The downside of this is that I think they will start to censor themselves out of potential fears. Think about a much smaller entity. With much fewer resources theyre going to even be more hesitant.

The first amendment battles are far from over for the media, however. On Tuesday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against the New York Times for their recent op-ed. Battles for the press may very well migrate from the Twittersphere to courtrooms, affecting constitutional press rights and how business is done within these organizations.

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Pink Slime: The Latest Battle over the First Amendment – MediaFile

Merritt speaks on first amendment in Marion – Salina Journal

Eric Wiley @EWileySJ

MARION The First Amendment in the United States Constitution has more meaning to people than ever before, but it also is abused more than ever, David Merritt told a crowd at the Marion City Library Saturday.

Merritt, an author and journalist for 60 years, including tenures as editor of The Wichita Eagle and Charlotte Observer, called the current dialogue between MSNBC Morning Joe hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough and President Donald Trump demeaning.

Its so demeaning to the country, demeaning to the office of the president and demeaning to the media, he said. There are media outlets not playing journalism, theyre playing some other game. Its all about ratings. Theyre (Brzezinski and Scarborough) getting not only what they deserve, but what they wanted.

Merritt’s talk was sponsored by the Marion County Democratic Party and served as a fundraiser for the Marion County Food Bank. More than $70 was raised.

Merritt said the fight for the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, wasnt that easy. He called it a bitter political fight.

In the early 1900s, newspapers were thoroughly politically oriented. Then publishers decided, Why should we every day offend half of our potential readers and half of our potential advertisers,’ he said. What began to evolve was what publishers liked to call a sort of objectivity.

Web caused changes

Merritt said because of that, newspapers were better prepared to help the public through the terrible events of the first half of the 20th century, such as the Great Depression.

He said there was pressure in the 1960s for privately owned newspapers to go public, because of tax and inheritance laws.

“It was tough to pass along that property, he said.

In the mid 1990s, Merritt said, a real cloud that none of us saw coming changed how we perceive the First Amendment.

The Internet put anybody in the news business. Anybody could talk to anybody in the world. You dont have to be smart, you just need a modem and a keyboard, Merritt said. Everyone doesnt just have free speech. Everyone has a megaphone.

Everyone protected

Merritt said people were able to convince Congress that in order for the Internet to reach its potential, it needed to be protected against lawsuits.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, signed in 1996, maintains that providers of Internet are not publishers. They are providing a service and not subject to laws about libel and defamation, he said. So somebody can write something about you, something really, really indecent and Facebook and the providers can say they just provide a service and are not publishers. You cant sue Facebook. They can put out anything they want and theyre not liable for it.

Furthermore, that unemployed guy in the basement in his pajamas with his computer is protected.

It’s a First Amendment protection, Merritt said.

“When an Internet site or blog doesn’t abide by the same standards as traditional newspapers and radio, does that deserve the same protection of the First Amendment? he asked the crowd. As painful as it is, the answer is yes. The Internet has bolstered the First Amendment.

There is reason for optimism, Merritt said.

People like you are the only ones who can do anything about that,” he said.

He said representatives in Congress hear when people all their offices, and they know how many times they call.

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Merritt speaks on first amendment in Marion – Salina Journal

Yes, It’s Legal to Record Cops. It’s In the First Amendment – Newsweek

This article first appeared on the Cato Institute site.

The New York Police Departments Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) reported that over a three-year period NYPD officers threatened, blocked, and otherwise tried to prevent individuals from recording them in public in the performance of their duties.

Almost 100 of the 346 allegations made between 2014 and 2016 were substantiated by the board, not counting the many cases that may not have been reported.

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To be fair, there are many thousands of contacts between police and individuals that happen in New York City. Although there is no way to know how many of those interactions are recorded, its fair to assume that many of them have been as cell-phone recording capabilities have become ubiquitous.

However, there is clearly a segment of officersperhaps very small, but nevertheless realwho feel that they may violate the First Amendment rights of people who record them.

To alleviate this, the CCRB suggested that a new entry should be included in the Patrol Manual to reassert the publics right to record police interactions. That insertion is fine, but more could and should be done because it is extremely unlikely that every officer who disrupted lawful, public recording was ignorant of the right to do so. Any officer who already knew the law was committing misconduct.

Police keep guard outside of Trump Tower on May 10, 2017 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty

Police officers should be held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, New York State law prohibits the Department or the CCRB from releasing the names of officers who have complaints lodged against them, whether or not they are sustained, or what the outcomes of any disciplinary actions taken were short of termination.

As I testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 2015:

According to an investigation of New York Citys Civilian Complaint Review Board records, about 40 percent of the 35,000 NYPD officers have never received a civilian complaint, but roughly 1,000 officers have more than 10 complaints on file. One officer has over 50 complaints but retains his position.

Institutionally, the NYPD knows these 1,000 officers are repeat offenders several times over. Multiple complaints against a single officer over a period of months or years implies the officer must, at times, operate too close to the line of impropriety.

Those 1,000 officers represent fewer than three percent of NYPD officers but can damage the reputation of the rest of the department. Clearly, some portion of these 1,000 officers are abusing their authority, and the NYPD is unwilling or unable to remove these officers from duty.

And because the public cant know their names and records, we cannot measure how effectively the NYPD addressed these incidents with any given officer. (internal citations omitted)

The lack of transparency is not limited to New York, by any means, but the NYPDs institutional dedication to data collection at least gives us a glimpse of what is going on.

Getting the right to record in the Patrol Manual is a good start, but the State of New York should repeal the anonymity granted to misbehaving officers. Such laws punish the best officers by making them indistinguishable from those who intentionallyand sometimes repeatedlyviolate the rights of the people they are supposed to serve.

Jonathan Blanks is a Research Associate in Catos Project on Criminal Justice and Managing Editor of PoliceMisconduct.net.

Blanks writes: For a robust First Amendment analysis of the right to record, read this opinion by 2014 B. Kenneth Simon Lecturer Judge Diane Sykes . You can read my 2015 USCCR testimony on police transparency and the use of force here . Finally, you can check out the 2014 panel we hosted on recording the police here.

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Yes, It’s Legal to Record Cops. It’s In the First Amendment – Newsweek

Vince Bzdek: Freedoms in First Amendment rise above Americans … – Colorado Springs Gazette

Gazette editor Vince Bzdek March 14, 2016. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

In the span of one day last week, I heard how The Gazette has become a mouthpiece for the globalist neo-communist left and, a few hours later, how we are a hopeless fount of “fake news” for the neo-fascist right. There’s an old saying in journalism: If you’re pissing off everyone then you must be doing something right.

What animates most journalists I know is not ideology whatsoever, but facts. And it’s not necessarily because journalists are noble, ethical, unbiased creatures (though they are, of course). It’s more that the pursuit and defense of a point of view is not nearly as interesting as uncovering something no one knew before. It’s much more fun to be a curious human being than a walking, talking point of view.

An old colleague of mine, Tom Ricks, a former military reporter, just published a whole book about how hard – and important – it is to see the facts when politicians and other people are trying to hide or distort them. “Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom” is a book about the two men who last century most clearly saw the “facts” of totalitarianism, on the left and right.

Ricks makes the point that, once a upon a time, it wasn’t so clear that communism and Nazism were two sides of the same coin. He writes that George Orwell, author of “Animal Farm” and “1984,” alienated his friends on the left when he began to write that communism and Russia had become very totalitarian and Nazi-like. Winston Churchill was also ostracized by many of his colleagues in Parliament because of his persistence that no peace could ever be had – ever – with fascism. Churchill and Orwell saw that both systems gave the state far too much authority over individuals, stealing their basic freedoms away.

Ricks thinks the stubborn clarity of Orwell and Churchill has a lesson for us right now.

“I think in this country, we have especially recently started putting ideology over facts,” Ricks said in a radio interview about his book. “And on this I blame both the left and the right. The left and the right both have a responsibility to tell the truth. I don’t expect it of politicians. I do expect it of the media, that even when it’s uncomfortable, even when it’s not supporting your account, your view, your narrative, that the responsibility of journalists and honest intellectuals is to present the facts, to first observe the facts and not to suppress facts that disagree with your own personal views.”

Ricks said his favorite Orwell quote came in an interview during the Spanish Civil War, which Orwell fought in and came to see as a dress rehearsal for World War II.

“I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting and complete silence where hundreds of men have been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories. And I saw newspapers in London retailing those lies and eager intellectuals building superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written, not in terms of what happened, but of what ought to have happened according to various party lines.”

That experience led directly to Orwell’s chilling line in “1984:” “Whatever the party holds to be the truth, is truth.”

Ricks concludes his book with a passage about the essential importance of finding facts when all odds are against you.

“The fundamental driver of Western civilization is the agreement that objective reality exists, that people of goodwill can perceive it and that other people will change their views when presented with the facts of the matter.”

A Washington politician of all people – a Republican senator from Nebraska who was in town for a conference – underscored the importance of this idea for me last week. Ben Sasse made the point that, at this political moment, we need to make sure our freedoms are not compromised or warped or overshadowed by our politics.

“I think we have a whole bunch of people in Washington who think that politics are the center of the world. They think Washington is the center of the world. That’s not what our founders intended. As D.C. becomes more and more prominent in our politics and our economics, people who are addicted to politics, they take up an inappropriately large space in the national mindshare. And there are very few people in Washington right now who want to pause our legislative fights, and while lots of those legislative fights are important, there is a civic issue that’s prior to that, that is the American idea.”

When you boil it down, what is the American idea?

Sasse believes the American idea, what makes us a truly exceptional country, is “the five freedoms of the First Amendment.” Freedom of religion, speech, press, association, and the right to petition for the redress of grievances.

“I believe the First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment,” he said.

And he’s “very worried” that the basic Americanism the First Amendment represents is under assault.

It was great to hear a reminder, from a Washington insider himself, that we ought to keep our political battles in perspective, and not lose sight, or God forbid undermine, the very things that make us most American while fighting those fights.

In his recent book, “The Vanishing American Adult,” Sasse writes that the “First amendment is a roadmap for how a nation of 320 million people, with an inevitably wide divergence of opinion on theological, existential and cultural matters, can nonetheless guard against the tyranny of the majority and can respect everyone’s dignity, everyone’s natural rights.”

We are more, so much more, than our politics, in other words. We are our freedoms more than our politics.

“Politics is not the center of everything,” he told the crowd at the conference. “Politics is a means to an end. Politics is definitely not interesting enough to be an end.” Our freedoms, rather than our politics, are what give us the framework for pursuing our happiness, for the work that gives us meaning, and the opportunities to live out our lives with others in the best way we can.

It was incredibly refreshing to hear a politician (Sasse) tell a journalist (me) that freedom of the press is one of the essentials that bind us together and make us American. It’s just the kind of stubborn, contrarian clarity that Orwell and Churchill would have embraced themselves.

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Vince Bzdek: Freedoms in First Amendment rise above Americans … – Colorado Springs Gazette

Judge refuses to dismiss Lockport candidate’s First Amendment lawsuit – Buffalo News

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a $100,000 lawsuitfiled by apolitical candidatewho claims his free speech rights were violated during the 2013 election campaign.

David J. Mongielo, who has a long history of run-ins with the town government, ran for Lockport town supervisor as a Conservative in 2013. He lost to the Republican incumbent, Marc R. Smith, who is now the town’s economic development director.

During the race, Mongielo self-published a free newspaper that accused Smith of “ballot manipulation.”

The paper also carried an advertisement for a fundraising event to benefit the South Lockport Fire Company, of which Mongielo was then a member.

But not for long.

According to the lawsuit, the fire company’s then-president, Peter Smith – no relation to Marc Smith – suspended Mongielo on Election Day 2013 after Marc Smith threatened to cut the fire company’s aid from the town. Mongielo immediately resigned from the fire company and has never been reinstated.

The town did not reduce its funding for the fire company.

His lawsuit contends his resignation was forced and resulted from retaliation for Mongielo’s exercise of freedom of speech.

“He was suspended. That’s the retaliation,” said James M. Ostrowski, who’s Mongielo’s attorney. “Whether they carry out a threat doesn’t matter.”

Mongielo filed suit in U.S. District Courtlast November, three years after the allegedincident,against Marc Smith, Peter Smith and the South Lockport Fire Co., seeking $100,000 plus punitive damages.

U.S.District Judge Michael A. Telescarejected the defendants’ effort to have the case dismissed in a May 16 ruling.

The case may turn on a text message Peter Smith sent to Mongielo on Election Day 2013.

According to the lawsuit,the textsaid, “I hate to do this but I feel I need to suspend u until Friday when we have a special ex meeting. I ts over the articles/ad in the community news. Judt got off phone with marc smith and his council is all over this. If we dont act Im afraid the situstion will only worsen. So for now please stay away per your suspension. We will discuss it further on Friday.”

Peter Smith’s lawyer, Eric M. Gernant, acknowledged in his written answer to Mongielo’s complaint that Peter Smith sent a text to Mongielo, but denied that Smith told Mongielo that the supervisor had threatened the fire company’s town funding.

Daniel T. Cavarello, attorney for Marc Smith, denied in a court filing thatthe then-supervisorthreatened South Lockport’s funding.He argued that Smithcouldn’t have taken unilateral action against the fire company, and at any rate, the fire company had a binding contract with the town to receive its annual stipend.

“The legal relationship between the Fire Company, Marc Smith, and the Town Board may ultimately foreclose (Mongielo’s) claim against Marc Smith,” the judge noted.

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Judge refuses to dismiss Lockport candidate’s First Amendment lawsuit – Buffalo News

BRIEF-Rait Financial Trust enters into first amendment to guaranty – Reuters

Germany’s VTG buys NACCO for around 780 mln euros to expand fleet

FRANKFURT, July 1 Germany’s VTG said on Saturday it had agreed to buy NACCO Group, Europe’s fourth-largest private rail car rental company, from U.S.-based financial holding company CIT Group, for around 780 million euros to grow its fleet.

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BRIEF-Rait Financial Trust enters into first amendment to guaranty – Reuters

BRIEF-Global Eagle Entertainment enters into an amendment to first amendment – Reuters

Germany’s VTG buys NACCO for around 780 mln euros to expand fleet

FRANKFURT, July 1 Germany’s VTG said on Saturday it had agreed to buy NACCO Group, Europe’s fourth-largest private rail car rental company, from U.S.-based financial holding company CIT Group, for around 780 million euros to grow its fleet.

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BRIEF-Global Eagle Entertainment enters into an amendment to first amendment – Reuters

This Is a Fight for the First Amendment, Not against Gay Marriage – National Review

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, the man who refused to create a specialty wedding cake for a same-sex couple in Colorado in 2012. The stories that are dominating the coverage distort the publics understanding of the case and its serious implications.

For one thing, no matter how many times people repeat it, the case isnt about discrimination or challenging gay marriage. But when the news first broke, USA Today tweeted, The Supreme Court has agreed to reopen the national debate over same-sex marriage. The headline (like the story) on the website was worse; it read, Supreme Court will hear religious liberty challenge to gay weddings. Others similarly framed the case. (And dont worry, religious liberty is almost always solidly ensconced inside quotation marks to indicate that social conservatives are just using it as a faade.)

There is an impulse to frame every issue as a clash between the tolerant and the closed-minded. But the Masterpiece case doesnt challenge, undermine, or relitigate same-sex marriage in America. Gay marriage wasnt even legal in Colorado when this incident occurred.

Therefore, the Associated Presss headline, Supreme Court to Decide If Baker Can Refuse Gay Couple Wedding Cake, and the accompanying story are also wrong. As is the New York Times headline Justices to Hear Case on Bakers Refusal to Serve Gay Couple, which was later changed to the even worse headline Justices to Hear Case on Religious Objections to Same-Sex Marriage.

A person with only passing interest in this case might be led to believe that Phillips is fighting to hang a No Gays Allowed sign in his shop. In truth, he never refused to serve a gay couple. He didnt even really refuse to sell David Mullins and Charlie Craig a wedding cake. They could have bought without incident. Everything in his shop was available to gays and straights and anyone else who walked in his door. What Phillips did was refuse to use his skills to design and bake a unique cake for a gay wedding. Phillips didnt query about anyones sexual orientation. It was the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that took it upon itself to peer into Phillipss soul, indict him, and destroy his business over a thought crime.

Like many other bakers, florists, photographers, and musicians and millions of other Christians Phillips holds genuine longstanding religious convictions. If Mullins and Craig had demanded that Phillips create an erotic-themed cake, the baker would have similarly refused for religious reasons, just as he had with other customers. If a couple had asked him to design a specialty cake that read Congrats on the abortion, Jenny! Im certain he would have refused them as well, even though abortions are legal. Its not the people; its the message.

In its tortured decision, the Colorado Court of Appeals admitted as much, contending that while Phillips didnt overtly discriminate against the couple, the act of same-sex marriage is closely correlated to Craigs and Mullinss sexual orientation, so it could divine his real intentions.

In other words, the threshold for denying religious liberty and free expression is the presence of advocacy or a political opinion that conflates with faith. The court has effectively tasked itself with determining when religion is allowed to matter to you. Or, in other words, if SCOTUS upholds the lower-court ruling, it will empower unelected civil-rights commissions which are typically stacked with hard-left authoritarians to decide when your religious actions are appropriate.

How could any honest person believe this was the Constitutions intent? There was a time, Im told, when the state wouldnt substantially burden religious exercise and would use the least restrictive means to further compelling interests. Today, the state can substantially burden a Christian because hes hurt the wrong persons feelings.

Judging from the e-mails and social-media reactions Ive gotten regarding this case, people are instinctively antagonistic not only because of the players involved but also because they dont understand the facts. In this era of identity politics, some have been programmed to reflexively side with the person making accusations of status-based discrimination, all in an effort to empower the state to coerce a minority of people to see the world their way.

Well, not all people. In 2014, a Christian activist named William Jack went to a Colorado bakery and requested two cakes in the shape of a Bible, one to be decorated with the Bible verses God hates sin. Psalm 45:7 and Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18:22, and the other cake to be decorated with another passage. The bakery refused. Even though Christians are a protected group, the Colorado Civil Rights Division threw out the case. The American Civil Liberties Union called the passages obscenities. I guess the Bible doesnt correlate closely enough with a Christians identity.

Or perhaps weve finally established a state religion in this country: one run on the dogma of social justice.

READ MORE: Three Thoughts on the Masterpiece CakeshopCert Grant The Supreme Courts Religious-Freedom Message: There Are No Second-Class Citizens Legal Radicals Dont Want the Separation of Church and State

David Harsanyi is a senior editor of the Federalist and the author of The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case against Democracy. 2017 Creators.com

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This Is a Fight for the First Amendment, Not against Gay Marriage – National Review

Lawsuit Calls Seattle’s "Democracy Vouchers" Compelled Speech … – Reason (blog)

justgrimes/FlickrSeattle homeowners are tired of being forced to contribute tax dollars to candidates they do not support, some of whom campaign to further restrict their property rights.

A Pacific Legal Foundation lawsuit challenges Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program, which has so far dispensed $233,175 in special tax contributions to fund vouchers of up to $100 for city voters to contribute to their favorite local political candidates.

“When you are forced to give a certain amount of money to someone who then uses it to contribute it to a candidate,” Ethan Blevins, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, says, “that’s compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment.”

Blevins is representing Mark Elster, a Seattle homeowner and self-described “robust supporter of free markets,” who objects to being made to underwrite any part of a campaign for candidates, none of whom warrant his support.

So far, the voucher program isn’t quite as democratic as envisioned by its progressive sponsors. More than half of the total amount of contributions has gone to Jon Grant, a candidate for an open city council seat and someone who could charitably be described as left-of-center.

A former head of the Washington Tenants Union, Grant has endorsed a range of left-wing housing policies including rent control, mandating affordable housing units in new developments, caps on move-in fees, and giving collective bargaining privileges to tenants.

His opponent, Teresa Mosqueda, and the incumbent candidate for city attorney, Pete Holmes, are the only other candidates who have met the eligibility requirements for the vouchers.

Grant is a strong proponent of Democracy Vouchers, having received 93 percent of all his campaign donations from the program. Prior to the program, “only 1.5 percent of Seattleites donated to a local campaign. This lawsuit clearly demonstrates that the Pacific Legal Foundation is only interested in protecting the interests of the 1%,” Grant wrote in a blogpost on his campaign website.

A good deal of his field outreach has been directed at getting homeless people to sign up for the vouchers, and then give that money to him, a practice his campaign manager assures Seattle Weekly is not “exploiting the homeless.”

Grant has called the Foundation lawsuit “anti-democratic” and “desperate.”

The voucher program, Blevins said, has allowed Grant to do something remarkable. He has “pretty much drawn all his campaign money from a constituency that is inherently opposed to his positions,” Blevins said.

Few of the 410,000 registered voters in Seattle can make use of the Democracy Voucher program, even if there were candidates they wanted to support. The tax dollars that fund the vouchers is first come first serve, and not nearly enough is collected each year to ensure that each Seattleite gets a chance to participate.

The funding is capped at $3 million a year, meaning 30,000 or 7 percent of eligible Seattle voters are allowed to make campaign contributions in an election year. As the Seattle Times noted when it editorialized against the 2015 ballot initiative that created Democracy Vouchers, “the proposal counts on people not participating.”

In this first election since the program launched, it remains to be seen whether Grant’s manipulation of it will be followed by other candidates. The City Council designed the program for a review after 10 years.

Blevins hopes the court recognizing the vouchers for the constitutional abominations they are will end the program years before a review.

“When you are forced to become an unwilling vessel for a message you disagree with,” Blevins says, “that violates human dignity and it certainly violates the First Amendment.”

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Lawsuit Calls Seattle’s "Democracy Vouchers" Compelled Speech … – Reason (blog)

Do we still believe in free speech? Only until we disagree – Miami Herald

Miami Herald
Do we still believe in free speech? Only until we disagree
Miami Herald
I do think the First Amendment tradition is under siege, said Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Pamela Geller, a firebrand commentator and founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, added, Freedom

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Do we still believe in free speech? Only until we disagree – Miami Herald

First Amendment Center Releases 2017 State of the First … – PR Newswire (press release)

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, the First Amendment Center of the Newseum Institute released the results of its State of the First Amendment survey, which examines Americans’ views on freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition, and samples their opinions on contemporary First Amendment issues. The survey, conducted this year in partnership with Fors Marsh Group, an applied research company, has been published annually since 1997, reflecting Americans’ changing attitudes toward their core freedoms.

The results of the 2017 survey show that, despite coming out of one of the most politically contentious years in U.S. history, most Americans remain generally supportive of the First Amendment. When asked if the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, 69 percent of survey respondents disagreed.

However, there are ideological divisions in attitudes toward the First Amendment, with liberals and conservatives disagreeing on the amount of protection the First Amendment should provide in certain scenarios. Conservatives were more likely than liberals to believe that those who leak information should be prosecuted and that the government should be able to hold Muslims to a higher level of scrutiny. However, liberals were more likely than conservatives to think that colleges should be able to ban speakers with controversial views.

This year, 43 percent of Americans agreed that news media outlets try to report the news without bias a significant improvement from only 23 percent in 2016. However, a majority of Americans (53 percent) expressed a preference for news information that aligns with their own views, demonstrating that many Americans may not view “biased” news in a negative light. The 2017 survey also attempted to assessthe impact of the “fake news” phenomenon. Approximately 70 percent of Americans did not think that fake news reports should be protected by the First Amendment, and about one-third (34 percent) reported a decrease in trust in news obtained from social media.

Regarding freedom of religion, 59 percent of Americans believe that religious freedom should apply to all religious groups, even those widely considered as “extreme” or fringe. The age group least likely to agree with this is Americans between the ages of 18 and 29: Just 49 percent of them supported protection for all religious faiths, compared to over 60 percent for every other age group.

On free speech, 43 percent of Americans felt that colleges should have the right to ban controversial campus speakers.Those who strongly agreed or disagreed with this tended to be current students and/or activists (people who had participated in political actions over the past year, such as signing a petition or attending a protest) on both sides of the political spectrum.Other Americans even those in the 18 to 29-year-old millennial demographic were more lukewarm on this issue.

“We were glad to find that most Americans still support the First Amendment, although it’s troubling that almost one in four think that we have too much freedom,” said Lata Nott, executive director of the First Amendment Center. “It’s also troubling that even people who support the First Amendment in the abstract often dislike it when it’s applied in real life.”

The 2017 survey was conducted and supported by Fors Marsh Group, and contributing support provided by the Gannett Foundation.

Click here to view the complete survey.

ABOUT THE NEWSEUM INSTITUTE’S FIRST AMENDMENT CENTERThe Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center is a forum for the study and exploration of issues related to free expression, religious freedom, and press freedom, and an authoritative source of information, news, and analysis of these issues. The Center provides education, information and entertainment to educators, students, policy makers, legal experts, and the general public. The Center is nonpartisan and does not lobby, litigate or provide legal advice. The Newseum Institute promotes the study, exploration and education of the challenges confronting freedom through its First Amendment Center and the Religious Freedom Center. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit newseuminstitute.org or follow us on Twitter.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/first-amendment-center-releases-2017-state-of-the-first-amendment-survey-results-300481542.html

SOURCE Newseum Institutes First Amendment Center


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First Amendment Center Releases 2017 State of the First … – PR Newswire (press release)

Supreme Court stands up for First Amendment – Pleasanton Weekly (blog)

By Tim Hunt

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I was saddened to read of the passing of Dick Baker, the long-time president and CEO of Ponderosa Homes. He died May 25 at the age of 73. I have known Dick for many years, particularly through his leadership of the homebuilders charity arm, HomeAid of Northern California. Many years ago, Dick was chairman of the group and initially rejected an application from Shepherds Gate for help with its Livermore campus that just had one residence hall and the offices built. I was serving on the board of Shepherds Gate at the time. I joined our Steve McRee, the Shepherds Gate CEO, when we met with Dick asked for reconsideration. He changed his mind about partnering with our organization. That partnership resulted in three key facilities on the Livermore campus: the second residence hall, the five cottages and last year, the long-awaited Life Center. HomeAid did have a policy of only helping a non-profit once, but modified it for Shepherds Gate and ended up building more than half of the campus. Dicks leadership led to the first commitment and those three buildings and the thousands of women and children who have been served there are a legacy to his vision in partnering with a faith-based organization that never has taken government money.

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Supreme Court stands up for First Amendment – Pleasanton Weekly (blog)

Jewish Federation’s Sets 10th Anniversary First Amendment Dinner … – The Chattanoogan

The Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga invites the Chattanooga community to its 10th annual First Amendment Dinner on Thursday, July 13 at 6 p.m. at the Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace Road.

“This event educates us about our first amendment rights and honors local veterans for their military service,” officials said.

The keynote speakers will be Pam Sohn and Clint Cooper opposing editors of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We felt that Sohn and Cooper represent the Chattanooga Times Free Press statement attributed to Adolph Ochs To give the news impartially, without fear or favor,” said Michael Dzik, executive director of the Jewish Federation.

The cost for this annual event is $12 (free for veterans and current military personnel) if reserved before July 11. After July 11, the cost is $14 for both veterans and non-veterans. RSVP to 493-0270 ext. 10 or rsvp@jewishchattanooga.com. Space is limited.

The First Amendment Dinner was started ten years ago as a way to honor veterans as well as military personnel and inform the public of their First Amendment Rights. Past speakers have included Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Hedy Weinberg of the ACLU, Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist Clay Bennett, among others. It is increasingly important for the public to understand the importance of keeping the freedoms we have grown to enjoy and to respect those who serve our country in order to keep these freedoms. said Mr. Dzik.

The Times Free Press publishes two editorial pages. On the left side, the Times opinion page offers a more liberal perspective and commentary. On the right, the Free Press editorial page presents a conservative viewpoint.

Mr. Cooper, a writer and editor in Chattanooga for 37 years and Chattanooga native, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He began his journalism career in 1980 as sports writer for the Chattanooga Free Press. For 20 years, Mr. Cooper was sports news editor for the Free Press, and was named assistant sports editor in 1999. Until taking this editorial post,, he was a feature writer primarily covering the faith beat.

During Mr. Cooper’s time in the sports department, the Free Press received the Tennessee Sports Writers Association award for Best Section. He has been honored by the Southern League Baseball association for team coverage of the Chattanooga Lookouts. Mr. Cooper is a well-known figure in Chattanooga’s faith community, having written a weekly column on religion for more than a decade. Mr. Cooper represents the conservative right side of the editorial page.

Pam Sohn has been an award-winning reporter and editor in Chattanooga for more than 30 years. Ms. Sohn began her journalism career at the Anniston (Al.) Star before coming to work for the Chattanooga Times and later the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In those years, she has been a reporter, assistant lifestyle editor, wire editor, city editor, Sunday editor, projects team leader, and now opinion editor

Ms. Sohn has won numerous writing and editing awards in both Alabama and Tennessee, including first-place honors for breaking news, investigative news, public service, features, reporting without a deadline, and editorials. During her tenure as Sunday editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the paper received the 2002 first-place honors for Best Sunday editions and Sweepstakes Award — best paper in the state. Ms. Sohn represents the liberal left side of the editorial page.

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Jewish Federation’s Sets 10th Anniversary First Amendment Dinner … – The Chattanoogan

Lawsuit: Seattle democracy vouchers violate First Amendment – MyNorthwest.com

A City of Seattle Democracy Voucher belonging to the wife of Mark Elste, a plaintiff in a new lawsuit challenging Seattle’s first-in-the-nation voucher system for publicly financing political campaigns. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A new lawsuit is challenging Seattles first-in-the-nation voucher system.

Under the program, Seattle voters in 2015 decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in exchange for a $100 in vouchers that they can sign over to candidates.

The cost of the system is estimated to be about $11 and 50-cents per homeowner each year. A federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the Pacific Legal Foundation says it forces people to pay taxes to support candidates they dont necessarily agree with.

Part of human dignity is controlling what we believe, said Ethan Blevins, Attorney for Pacific Legal Foundation. So when we are forced to support values that grade against our own sense of right or wrong that strikes at the core of who we are. Thats what the First Amendment seeks to protect.

They call it a violation of the First Amendment, which guarantees not just right to speak freely but not speak. They feel that forcing homeowners to pay for these political donations is forcing them to speak politically with their money.

Supporters say its a novel way to counter the effect of big money in politics and gives lesser-known candidates a chance to be heard.

Continued here:

Lawsuit: Seattle democracy vouchers violate First Amendment – MyNorthwest.com

Some Catholics say First Amendment rights under attack | WRSP – FOX Illinois

by Jaclyn Driscoll, Fox Illinois

A rally for religious liberty was held Wednesday because some Catholics say their first amendment rights have not and are not being protected. (WRSP)

A rally for religious liberty was held Wednesday because some Catholics say their first amendment rights have not and are not being protected.

“There’s so many threats to religious freedom, from the redefinition of marriage and transgender issues, that we’re dealing with a lot of issues at the same time,” said Hillary Byrnes of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“I think our state is doing a horrendous job of protecting religious freedom,” Hillsboro resident Mary Jo Cerny said. “I am appalled on the national level at what they’ve done.”

Cerny, a former business owner and devout Catholic, says the government shouldn’t be able to force businesses and other organizations to abandon religious beliefs.

“When they say that anybody with same-sex marriage that I have to provide for them,” Cerny said. “I hope we have 8 million stores close when they tell them they got to do it.”

Same-sex marriage was a reoccurring topic at the event. Bishop Thomas Paprocki says although it’s an opinion no longer supported by the Supreme Court, the church’s belief on marriage is one he will stand by.

“I’m not free to change my views,” Bishop Paprocki said. “These are teachings that have been handed out for the last 2000 years and it is my job as the bishop to teach what the Catholic Church teaches.”

Though some argue this belief doesn’t support inclusion, Cerny says Catholics should be more concerned with remaining firm in their faith.

“Stand up for it,” said Cerny. “Don’t say, Oh well, I’ve got to include you. Christ said you have to accept everybody. You can. You can pray for them. He also said do not associate with those you know the devil’s controlled.”

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Some Catholics say First Amendment rights under attack | WRSP – FOX Illinois

Loeb School accepting First Amendment Award nominations – The Union Leader

The award honors New Hampshire residents and organizations who have worked to protect free speech and free press. The recipient, or recipients, will be recognized Nov. 16 during a ceremony at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.

A committee of judges chooses the winner from a pool of nominations submitted by the public. First Amendment recipients receive a bronze eagle sculpture created by Mrs. Loeb, along with a $1,500 award.

Nominations can be submitted at http://www.loebschool.org, or by calling 627-0005. The deadline to submit nominations is Sept 11.

The award and the school are legacies of the late Nackey S. Loeb, past president and publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. The awards night is the main yearly fundraiser for the nonprofit school, founded in 1999 by Loeb. Its free classes and low-cost workshops attract students including middle schoolers and retirees. Instructors from media outlets and businesses around the state teach topics such as the First Amendment, journalism, photography, broadcasting, audio and video production, social media and public speaking.

Past recipients include former state Attorney General Philip McLaughlin, former Keene Sentinel Executive Editor Thomas Kearney, The Laconia Citizen, former legislator Daniel Hughes, former Dover City Councilor David Scott, Londonderry High School journalism adviser Mary Lukas, First Amendment attorney William Chapman, former ConVal School Board member Gail Pierson Cromwell, The Portsmouth Herald, David Lang and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire, The Telegraph of Nashua, slain journalist James Foley, former Portsmouth police officer John Connors, open government activist David Pearl and Timberlane Regional School Board member Donna Green.

This years panel of judges includes Rod Doherty, former executive editor of Fosters Daily Democrat; retired N.H. Supreme Court Justice Richard Galway; attorney Gregory Sullivan of Malloy & Sullivan LPC; and previous First Amendment Award recipients John Howe, the former Laconia Citizen executive editor; and Londonderry High journalism adviser Lukas.


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Loeb School accepting First Amendment Award nominations – The Union Leader

Democrat/MSM Collusion v the First Amendment and Liberty – Patriot Post

Mark Alexander Jun. 28, 2017

But the fact being once established, that the press is impotent when it abandons itself to falsehood, I leave to others to restore it to its strength, by recalling it within the pale of truth. Thomas Jefferson (1805)

Why we do what we do

Our Founders rightly asserted that the First Amendment protection of a free press would be a powerful check on statist usurpation that a free press was the most promising assurance for extending Liberty to future generations.

Consistent with the views of other Founders, Thomas Jefferson wrote, Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it. He also noted, No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.


However, after his first term in office, in his 1805 second inaugural address, Jefferson wrote: During the course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety.

A free press was and remains essential to the protection and advancement of Liberty. But as Jefferson noted, the disingenuous adulteration of that sacred First Amendment trust, in which the media abandons its responsibility and colludes with partisans to become an instrument of their bidding, perilously endangers the future of Liberty.

In principle, our Founders advocacy for a free press was correct. In practice today, however, the collusion between the statist Democrat Party and its press outlets the Demo/MSM propaganda machine, which now encompasses most of the mainstream media has devolved into the most significant self-inflicted threat to Liberty today.

To counter that threat, our team launched The Patriot Post two decades ago, when the Internet was a lonely and largely uncharted medium. But we believed it would be, long term, the most effective medium to reach the largest number of grassroots Americans with a genuine conservative message. Today, The Patriot Post is the oldest news, policy and opinion digest on the Web, and a highly acclaimed touchstone of Liberty for Americans from all walks of life.

We didnt attain that status on our own merits, however. When others observed that he was a great communicator, my mentor, Ronald Reagan, said humbly, I communicated great things, and they didnt spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries. Any success we have experienced comes solely from our steadfast devotion to and advocacy for the principles that have guided us for two centuries.

From day one, we have remained sharply focused on our original objective to counter the mainstream media (MSM) stranglehold on public opinion and to expose their corrupt collusion and obstructionist objectives. It was critical then, and now more than ever, that we effectively counter their statist rhetoric with our genuine conservative message to Support and Defend the inalienable Rights of Man outlined in our Declaration of Independence, and the Liberty and Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution.

The alternative, if we do not all lock arms in opposition to this growing menace, is, irrevocably, tyranny.

A recent Harvard study evaluating media reporting on President Donald Trump or, more accurately, their echo chamber parroting of Democrat talking points makes clear their Leftmedia prejudice.

Of course, that bias has been well documented for years, as repeated surveys find that more than 90% of journalists support Democrats most of them leftist Democrats.

In 2014, The Washington Post noted the findings of an academic study, American Journalists in the Digital Age, that only seven percent of journalists are Republicans fewer than a decade ago.

In 2015, The Washington Times affirmed the findings of a book on media bias, entitled Left Turn: How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind, that more than 90 percent of D.C. journalists vote for Democrats.

In 2016, it was no surprise when the Washington Examiner reported the results of a Center for Public Integrity media study finding, Of the 430 people CPI identified as journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors as well as other donors known to be working in journalism, 96 percent gave money to Clinton, according to federal campaign finance filings.

Of far more value to Hillary Clintons campaign were the in-kind contributions of her sycophantic media pool who tailored their reports to favor her election.

And note that, just prior to Trumps election, The Washington Free Beacon reported survey results that found, Not a single White House reporter is a Republican. (I know, youre shocked SHOCKED.)

Again, the leftward mainstream media trend has tracked with the leftward trend in the Democrat Party for three decades but that trend has accelerated dramatically in the past year to the point of raw collusion. The consequence is an accelerated decline in journalistic standards.

The purpose of this collusion was, originally, to ensure Clintons election last year. But after the shocking election of Donald Trump, the Left and its media partners transitioned from election-rigging to bald-faced obstruction and sabotage of Trumps agenda which is wholly antithetical to their own. (Regrettably, on occasion he fuels their diversionary schemes with his own unforced communication errors.)

Since the earliest days of his campaign, Trump has condemned the fake news obstructionists and their deceptive trial by media tactics, including the use of media polling to reflect the bias they promote.

A week after his inauguration, he opined, The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!

Trump took a lot of heat for suggesting the news media is the enemy of the American People. But Trump wrote that FAKE NEWS is the enemy, and he is absolutely correct on that point. As noted above, our Founders would agree that abandoning truth for licentious partisanship is a grave threat to Liberty.

A case study of what has now become an epidemic of fake news propagation by the Democrats MSM outlets would be CNNs most recent credibility crisis. The cable network, which sets the bar for Demo/MSM collusion (93% negative reporting on Trump and Republicans according to the aforementioned Harvard study), was caught in yet another counterfeit anonymously sourced report to further the Democrat Partys phony Trump/Putin conspiracy theory. Three senior CNN journalists from the investigative unit, including one Pulitzer recipient, resigned over this latest incident.

Its notable that right in CNNs back yard, just one day before that fake news report was published, voters in Georgias 6th District handed a hotly contested victory to a Republican in a special election to fill the seat of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. It was the most expensive congressional election in history, and the Democrat outspent the Republican 7-1. But even with the full force and fury of the Demo/MSM machine, they still came up short. The Democrat brand is indeed toxic.

Conservatives, however, should take little comfort in this victory, because the Demo/MSM propaganda machine is gearing up and redoubling its efforts. In fact, in the declining cable news marketplace, MSNBC, the most abjectly biased of the news outlets, has just overtaken CNN and Fox News in the 25-54 demo for its weekday prime time lineup.

In 1822, Thomas Jefferson wrote of those who subscribe to such blather, Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck.

All that said, theres another factor that has an enormous influence on mainstream media bias, regardless of where on the political spectrum a media outlets editorial influence falls.

The least visible factor corrupting the free press is its dependence on paid advertising, which is the life blood of the print and cable MSM. Ad revenues thus dictate editorial policies what news will be covered and how, and what news will not be covered. Dependence on ad revenue is also the reason the cable outlets run their ubiquitous shock alert banners 24/7, most often about news that isnt worth a report, much less the shock banner.

The insidious ad-influence factor is constantly running silent in the background, unless it manifests in a threat to boycott advertisers for networks most influential ratings generator like Bill O’Reilly, who was fired by Fox News to prevent loss of ad revenue.

And thats precisely why we made another critical decision when we started publishing in 1996 to accept no advertising in our online or email publications or to our lists of Patriot readers. Youll never have your senses assaulted on our website by pop-ups, browser hijacks or glittering unicorns, nor will you ever receive third-party advertising to your inbox because of us.

Our refusal to accept advertising is precisely why we note when asking for your support, We are not sustained by any political, special interest or parent organization, and we do not accept advertising to ensure our advocacy is not restrained by commercial influence. Our mission and operation budget is made possible by the voluntary financial support of Patriots meaning you!

Rest assured that the invisible advertising influence, which inevitably shapes what other websites report and how they report it, has absolutely zero editorial influence on The Patriot Post.

Of course, we also chose a donor-based revenue model in order that our message could reach a wider audience particularly young people on college and university campuses, and military personnel. (Notably, 100% of proceeds from the occasional Patriot Post Shop messages we send you supports our mission of service to military personnel and their families.)

Your Patriot team starts every day resolute in our mission to extend Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.

The only thing that influences our editorial content is that mission in support and defense of Liberty.

Please join us in that mission by supporting The Patriot Fund today, so that we can recruit thousands of new Patriots to our ranks.

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis Pro Deo et Libertate 1776

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Democrat/MSM Collusion v the First Amendment and Liberty – Patriot Post