Public Employees and Their Free Speech.

Topic: Free speech rights for public employees

Essential Question: What is classified as free speech for the public employee?

Free speech is something that people are constantly debating and will continue to debate for a long time. When it comes to public employees the Courts currently employ a three-part test to determine whether a government employee’s speech is protected by the First Amendment. The first part is government employees are only protected by the First Amendment when they are speaking as private citizens. If their speech is part of their official job duties, then they can be fired or disciplined for it. The second part is was their speech regarding a matter of public concern? If it is not then the first amendment will not protect them it is of public concern the first amendment may protect them there is still one more test. The final question is whether the government employer’s interest in efficiently fulfilling its public services is greater than the employee’s interest in speaking freely. There have been a few cases involving this system Garcetti v. Ceballos, Pickering v. Board of Education, Connick v. Myers. When it comes to free speech the line of what is protected by the first amendment and what is not is blurry at best. Public employees are in a unique situation and should be careful about what they say or post.

Tags: Media, Social, Freedom-of-speech

Works Cited:

“Free Speech Rights Of Government Employees.” Law2.umkc.edu. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

” Government Employees & First Amendment Overview | Newseum Institute.” Newseuminstitute.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

Savage, David. “Supreme Court Strengthens Free-Speech Rights Of Public Employees.” latimes.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.

Advertisements

Limited Money?

Should there be a limit or regulation on how much an individual can donate towards a political candidate? There are many reasons why or why not to go along with this because it is right on the border of being an issue with freedom of expression or not. I believe that money can be considered a form of free expression and that there should be a limit on how much one person can spend on one candidate. If there is no limit, the political candidates that have multiple connections to people of great wealth will definitely have a very high advantage and that is unfair to the candidates that don’t have those types of connections. It is simply unfair if one candidate has more wealthy people on their side where they can simply pull a million dollars out of their pocket and give them a huge advantage over the other candidate. Having a limit will definitely make the campaigns more fair for everyone because it will actually matter about how many people are with the candidate and not just how many wealthy people are with that candidate. Another thing it would help is the amount being spent on campaigns. It is at a very high rate right now and the limits would help keep the spending amounts lower. In conclusion, there should definitely be a limit to the amount an individual can donate towards a political candidate.

Speak Outs – Should there be a limit on campaign donations from individuals?

Speak Outs – Should there be a limit on campaign donations from individuals?. (2018). Annenberg Classroom. Retrieved 20 February 2018, from http://www.annenbergclassroom.org/speakout/should-there-be-a-limit-on-campaign-donations-from-individuals

Why Campaign Contribution Limits Matter | BillMoyers.com

Why Campaign Contribution Limits Matter | BillMoyers.com. (2013). BillMoyers.com. Retrieved 20 February 2018, from http://billmoyers.com/2013/09/19/why-campaign-contribution-limits-matter/

How Far Can Satire Go Before Becoming Libel?

There are many sources of satire in media today that come in a variety of different forms, from articles to television.  Two very popular sources are, The Onion, and Saturday Night Live. Both of these sources poke fun at a wide variety of topics, and no one is safe from the humor that they bring about. However, how far are they able to go before their statements turn into libel? Satire falls under the topic of “Fair Use” and therefore allows copyrighted works to be parodied. An ex-CTO of The Onion explains,” The Onion’s office walls are filled with letters from companies expressing delight in being satirized, not because they love it but because they cannot fight comedy. You can only defeat comedy by being funnier.”(1)  SNL uses satire in the parodies that they make about companies, products, and people. Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center states, that Parodies are allowed to use more original context because they need lots of the original work in order to make a parody.

Satire can never be taken to far; it is a problem when it isn’t taken far enough. If something like a business is being ridiculed and the statement goes above and beyond to point out their every fault in an attempt to get people to laugh, that is better than it being similar to an actual representation of the business. If people are starting to believe that the statement is an actual, realistic model of the company, then it becomes a problem because it is turning into a defamatory statement. If people are going to believe a somewhat ridiculous statement, they should take the source of the statement into account. If the statement is coming from a show like SNL or is in an article by the onion, these statements should not be taken seriously at all. Sources that do not have a history of satire could be taken for libel. However, SNL and The Onion have a long history of satire, and therefore should not be taken seriously. When it comes down to deciding, could it be mistaken for a real model, or where is the statement coming from, are the two biggest factors that set the boundary between satire and libel.

 

Facebook and Fake News

Topic: Fake News

Essential Question: Does Facebook allowing/not allowing fake news violate people’s’ limits to the First Amendment?

Facebook is working hard to drive out fake news that is posted on there, where many try to argue that that is against the Constitution and their right, taking their rights of freedom and expression away. To what extent is Facebook not allowing fake news violating rights of the First Amendment? Does Facebook allowing/not allowing fake news violate people’s’ limits to the First Amendment? By clicking “agree” to the terms and conditions on Facebook you are agreeing to give up some of your rights and privacy, but when/where should they draw the line? One specific event is found in a 2017 court case from Anas Modamani against Facebook Mr. Modamani fled Syria and was living in a Berlin shelter when he took pictures with Ms. Merkel who later visited. He posted pictures of them together on Facebook which later were used in a fake news article somewhere else on Facebook. People put a dark twist on his pictures/story and were used negatively towards him. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38892387). Facebook was in a tough position because technically the people are allowed to post/say whatever. The biggest issue with fake news is that it ruins reputations, making it hard for people to come back from that once the world thinking of them as some terrible person. The thing people like about Facebook is they can express themselves and write about whatever they want (unless they write fake news). According to some people the US revolves around fake news and believes most of what they’re told.

The concept of Facebook allowing people to post whatever they want has been a very controversial topic since Facebook was created. To what extent should people be able to go to writing fake news about people that make them look bad? In 2016 Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and creator of Facebook, wrote a post addressing the problem of fake news on Facebook.

Our goal is to give every person a voice”, he states. “Sometimes when people use their voice though, they say things that seem wrong and they support people you disagree with.” (https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103253901916271).

Facebook has since launched work enabling people to flag hoaxes and fake news so they can do the best they can to eliminate fake news. Facebook founder is working on this issue and will continue to do the best he can to eliminate fake news, even though that is almost inevitable to get rid of it all. The best part about Facebook to some people is that they have the freedom to post whatever they want, whether it’s a long rant about a bad day at work or another person, but some take it to another level, writing the false news about others, which crosses a line and is where Facebook’s freedom is a con to others.

 

Tags: Fake News, Facebook, Slander, Controversial

 

Works cited:

 

“Facebook in court over refugee selfie fake news stories”. BBC. N. p., 2017. Web. 7 Feb. 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-38892387.

 

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook. “I want to share some thoughts on Facebook and the election.” Facebook. N. p., 2016. Web. 12. November. 2017. https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103253901916271.

 

Facebook Says Social Media Can Be Negative For Democracy”. NPR.org. N. p., 2018. Web. 22. January. 2018. https://www.npr.org/tags/502124007/fake-news.

Prayer in Public Schools

Can high school teachers or coaches lead a prayer to students without violating the establishment clause in the first amendment? The first amendment allows any person to practice their religion while making sure the government cannot establish a national religion. Many professional sport teams and private high school teams pray before games, although public schools can not. This is because public schools are run and funded by the government. The establishment clause in the first amendment states that the government can not prefer one religion over another. A teacher or coach leading prayer can be seen as favoring that religion and can isolate students that practice a different religion. Multiple people have argued that this violates their freedom of exercise right, but it does not because if they did pray it would violate the establishment clause and other’s rights. An example of this is the Wallace vs. Jaffree court case of 1985. In this case, the supreme court ruled that a minute of meditation or voluntary prayer is a violation of the establishment clause. As an effect of this teachers and coaches cannot lead students in prayer.

 

Works cited

 

Religious Liberty: Landmark Supreme Cases.” Bill of Rights Institute, billofrightsinstitute.org/cases/.
 “Establishment Clause.” Cornell Law Edu, http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause.

Mafia of Media

It is stated in the First Amendment that everyone has the right to freedom of Speech, but what are our limits? There are many social media sites out there that are easy to access like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. These sites let people post whatever they want from things like their child losing a tooth to terrorist threats. On social media, since it is not verbal communication face-to-face, it can be difficult to understand a person’s true intentions. Since there are thousands of users on these social media sites, it is difficult to be behind a screen regulating what millions of people are saying every second. The majority of Americans are on social media daily and their posts can get around fast. This can create more people to see the post and not know the true intentions. We cannot blame the social media site for what people choose to post because people have the Freedom of Speech, according to the First Amendment. Users of these sites should take threats more seriously when they encounter them. However, any threats should be turned into law enforcement then Law enforcement can then siphon through the post to determine the outcome.

If such a big site is being created then there needs to be an equally strong liability/security that serve as boundaries.  A recent shooting that occurred in FL had a few concerns with the social media. The shooter, Nikolas Cruz who killed 17 people at a High School, posted a video on youtube last September stating how he was going to become a professional shooter. How could anybody know if he was going to act on his words? 

 

Works Cited

 

L, Jack. “The Supreme Court Is About to Make a Big Decision About Facebook Free Speech.” MAS Ultra, 2 Dec. 2014, web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=c3467417-c0e4-4065-892e-f2d5ee86c616%40pdc-v-sessmgr01&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=99832619&db=ulh+.

 

“News.” GALE, ic.galegroup.com/ic/suic/NewsDetailsPage/NewsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=News&currPage=&scanId=&query=&docIndex=&source=&prodId=SUIC&search_within_results=&p=SUIC&mode=view&catId=&u=mono131514&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CA511758401&windowstate=normal&activityType=BasicSearch&failOverType=&commentary=++.

Dis is my Blog

Should donating to a certain politician be covered by symbolic speech? Symbolic Speech is seen as a representation of one’s beliefs or messages in the form of nonverbal communication.  In this instance, donating money politicians is considered speech because the  money you donate displays support to a politicians. Meaning the more money you donate, the more you support the candidate.  I think donations to a certain political candidate shouldn’t be covered by the First Amendment. In an article written by Deena Zaru she talks to Emily Tisch Sussman, a Campaigns Director for Center for American Progress Action Fund. The article is about the Supreme Court ruling that private citizens can contribute as they would like. Sussman says, “ the ruling is problematic because candidates will be less concerned with serving the public and more focused on courting a few wealthy citizens who could fund their campaigns”. I agree with Sussman, because if you were take the money out of politics, people would vote for the person who they like the best. Instead of it being about how much money each candidate can raise it should be about politics. In the article How Citizens United Has Changed Politics in 5 Year it says, “ a recent analysis of the 2014 Senate races by the Brennan Center for Justice found outside spending more than doubled since 2010, to $486 Million. Outside groups provided 47 percent of total spending more than the candidates’ 41”.  The fact that outside spending groups are providing more money then the actual candidates should be reason enough alone to have this type of symbolic speech be not covered by the First Amendment.

 

Deena Zaru. “Are political donations a form of free speech? – CNNPolitics.” CNN. 19 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2018. <https://www.cnn.com/2015/02/19/politics/sotu-fec-mccutcheon-scotus-political-donations-free-speech/index.html>

N.a. “Symbolic Speech – constitution | Laws.com.” Constitution.laws.com. n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2018. <https://constitution.laws.com/the-supreme-court/symbolic-speech>

 

Advertisements

“Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” ~Benjamin Franklin, writing as Silence Dogood