Tag Archives: 1st amendment

Satire or Fake News? Which Would You Choose?

Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. We see satire all around the media today from The Onion to TV shows like John Oliver and The Daily Show. These are primarily examples of satire, but what makes these satire instead of fake news? Fake news is one of the biggest things on social media nowadays. Fake news is false information that refers to propaganda and false information under the guise of being authentic news. The first amendment states, under freedom of speech, that the government must respect citizens rights to express themselves, therefore satire is protected by the first amendment. The main reason for media is for people to be informed on what is going on in the world. Is fake news protected by the first amendment or is it an example of slander/libel? Many past presidential elections have been won because of fake news. For example, many Republican websites posted claims about Hillary Clinton this past election helping boost Trumps support.

The question is: What is the difference between fake news and satire, and what separates the two? Satire is used for a corrective purpose to point out why things are wrong. One of satires purposes is to inform viewers on what is actually going on in today’s world. When comparing satire and fake news, the title of fake news says it all.  Fake news is fake with no purpose to inform whatsoever. In a study by the website “techdirt” called, Yet Another Study Shows US Satire Programs Do A Better Job Informing Viewers Than Actual News Outlets., many surveys have been done showing that satire news has better informed people than regular news stations like Fox and CNN. Instead of choosing the left or the right side of politics, satire shows all sides of every story.  Fake news is false information that misinforms many people and can be very dangerous.

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Censorship and Education

The 1st amendment of the United States Constitution addresses the issues of freedom of expression and the limitations government has when it comes to acting against the expressions of the public. According to the first amendment, government is not allowed to show  bias towards a religion or belief and are not allowed to stop a person’s right to speak out about their values .  One of the limiting powers  of the government is that they are allowed to censor media and information from the public if under the proper context.  Does censorship  desecrate the freedom of expression? Or does it not hinder it at all?

 

According to  an article entitled “ National Coalition Against Censorship” By the NACA censorship is defined as “ suppression of an image or idea because it offends or disturbs someone, or they disagree with it.  This states that media can be censored if it offends or bothers someone, however this raises another question. What are the limits when it comes to offensive or disturbing material? And how do they decide if something needs to be censored or if it should stay?   The IRA defines the difference in the following quote “   There is an important distinction between  selection based on professional guidelines and what censorship actually entails.  “ The goal of censorship  is to remove, eliminate or bar particular materials or methods.  The goal of professional guidelines is to provide criteria for  the selection of those materials or methods”.

 

Censorship also plays a  role in the education system.  An article entitled “ The Student’s Right to  Read”  by the NCTE, states that “ students and parents have the right to demand that education today keep students in reality with the world outside the classroom.  Since this a right of the parents and student why are books that are deemed to realistic or vulgar removed from the educational system.  Another thing to consider is the responsibilities of an english teacher. The specific responsibilities are highlighted  as the following “  Literature classes  should reflect the cultural contributions  of many minority groups in the United States”     
Censorship does not just impact literature in school but also can hinder the quality and impact on education.  How this affects students  is shown in the following excerpt  “   Censorship leaves students with  an inadequate and  distorted  picture of the ideals, values and problems in their culture.  Writers and authors have alot of power when it comes to the ability to impact students when it comes to sensitive or emotional content. Writers can distort or inaccurately portray a culture or value or they can paint an overly graphic image of a culture or idea.  Censorship can protect the public from sensitive media but in the end does it have a negative effect on students when they enter the real world? That’s for you to decide for yourself, as for me, I think it affects us more than we realize.

Citizens SLAPPed by Big Businesses

 

The United States Constitution grants every person the right to petition the government along with free speech. Yet, every year, thousands of individuals, community groups, and organizations are sued for exercising these constitutional rights. These lawsuits are known as “SLAPPs” (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).  SLAPPs are often declared by corporations, real estate developers, or government officials against individuals or organizations who oppose them on public issues. Usually, SLAPPs are based on ordinary civil tort claims such as libel or slander, malicious prosecution, abuse of power, conspiracy, and interference with prospective economic advantage.

The difference between an ordinary defamation lawsuit and a SLAPP suit is that the plaintiff in a SLAPP suit does not generally plan to actually win their lawsuit. Instead, SLAPP suits are intended to intimidate, and discourage activists from exercising their right to free speech and protest. The main purpose of a SLAPP case is to decrease public debate on specific issues. Defending a SLAPP requires substantial money, time, and legal resources, and therefore diverts the defendant’s attention away from the public issue and/or forces them to discontinue the case. Furthermore, a SLAPP also sends a threatening message to others that they too can just as easily be sued if they speak up.

In one example of a SLAPP case was in Dallas, a $1 million lawsuit filed by a pet-sitting company against a couple who wrote a one-star review on Yelp. Prestigious Pets and its owner filed the lawsuit against the couple, accusing them of defamation, business disparagement and a breach of contract after the couple posted the negative review. The case was eventually dismissed due to an Anti-SLAPP law that allows judges to dismiss frivolous suits filed against people who speak out about a matter of public concern. This is just one illustration of how businesses or dominant people can use their power to try to keep citizens from exercising their first amendment rights if it could tarnish their image.

I believe that SLAPP cases violate the first amendment because big businesses are prohibiting the public from exercising their right to free speech by suing them and using the power of the court system along with their own money to silence public opinions. SLAPP cases are just a way for people or corporations to hold their own interests above public interest and protect themselves from any criticism or opposition. Freedom of speech is important because it allows people to form and share opinions that may be different from others. Because SLAPP suits limit the first amendment, I believe that they should be outlawed or at least highly regulated in order to prevent businesses from punishing citizens simply because they exercise their first amendment rights to disagree or speak out against them.

 

“Examples Of SLAPP Suits In Texas”. Slapped In Texas, 2011, https://slappedintexas.com/examples-of-slapp-suits-in-texas/.

 

“Jarrow Formulas, Inc. V. Lamarche”. California Anti-SLAPP Project, 2011, https://www.casp.net/california-anti-slapp-first-amendment-law-resources/caselaw/california-supreme-court/jarrow-formulas-inc-v-lamarche/.

 

“SLAPP Suits | Civil Liberties Defense Center”. Cldc.Org, 2017, https://cldc.org/organizing-resources/slapp-suits/.

 

The Secret Battle of the Internet

Essential question- Is net neutrality affecting the 1st amendment rights of internet service provider and us the public?

Have you ever wondered when you type in “the crisis with Russia” why you get stories for Donald Trump and against his political actions? You can see is that because of net neutrality. Net neutrality can be a very confusing topic. In 2012, an attempt to pass the first version of net neutrality was successfully blocked by Verizon Internet. Verizon claimed that it was their first amendment right, their freedom of speech, to post whatever they wanted to. Net neutrality is a law that was passed on February 26th, 2015 with a 3-2 vote in favor of it. Net neutrality, as defined online, “is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites”; so essentially all Internet service providers are bound by law to allow you access to any and all information. The Federal Communications Commission, also known as the FCC, was the biggest shove behind the law.  The law is not very old, however there is already a great amount of controversy surrounding it. Barack Obama was the president when the law was passed.  With Obama now being out of office and Donald Trump being the current president, the views on the law have changed. President Trump, a previously known “big business man”, wants the law to be repealed. He pushes against this law so that big businesses can “run” the Internet, control what is posted, and consequently control what people see. Companies like Google and Netflix, on the other hand, are in favor of net neutrality because they believe everyone has the right to information and it should not be tampered with.   

Personally, I find this topic very difficult to wrap my head around. I feel that without net neutrality our first amendment rights, along with internet providers’, would be greatly affected. If we didn’t have net neutrality, we would not be able to use our own voice on the Internet. The Internet providers would be controlling our freedom. Is that really freedom? Large companies, such as Verizon, could accept great amounts of money from other businesses to manipulate what we the people are able to see. For example, let’s say you are searching for women’s dresses and all of the companies that come up are contributors with strong conservative bias and no liberal opinions to even it out. This is how the elimination of net neutrality would affect the people. Only the voice of certain, hand-picked Internet providers would be heard, and that is what we would see. Here’s a scenario: If you were a journalist or blog writer and net neutrality was repealed, you could find yourself having a harder time getting your opinion voiced, because bigger companies would be out-paying you, essentially taking away your rights to free speech. Net neutrality has a great effect on allowing citizens to see every piece of information that is available to get every side of every story.