Gene Policinski: June 29, 2017

Should There Be Limits on the First Amendment?

Newseum Institute Releases 2017 State of the First Amendment Survey



Should there be limits on the First Amendment? This question was front and center in the 2017 State of the First Amendment survey, an annual sampling by the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center of public knowledge and opinions about our core freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition.

The results of this year’s survey show that most Americans are generally supportive of the First Amendment. Most feel the First Amendment does not go too far in the rights it guarantees, but there are ideological divisions. 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. Meanwhile, 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 comments on social media.

This year, there was a significant improvement of Americans who agreed that news media outlets try to report the news without bias—up to forty three percent from twenty three percent in 2016, but a majority of Americans (61%) also expressed a preference for news information that aligns with their own views, demonstrating that for some of us, “biased” news isn’t necessarily a bad thing or news outlets aren’t “biased” if we agree with the reporting.

On Thursday, June 29th, Gene Policinski is available to you and your listeners to discuss the 1st Amendment and if we should put any limits on it.

Topics of Discussion

  •  What is the state of today’s 1st amendment?
  • What were the most surprising results of the survey?
  • Should limits be placed on freedom of speech?
  • What will visitors to the Newseum be able to see and what might they be surprised to learn?
  • In addition to the survey on the state of the 1st amendment, what else is the Newseum doing to recognize historic moments?
  • Where should people go if they’d like to learn more about the survey?

More About Gene Policinski:

Gene Policinski is chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute and of the Institute’s First Amendment Center. A veteran multimedia journalist, he also writes, lectures and is interviewed regularly on First Amendment issues. Policinski, a founding editor of USA Today, oversees all programs of the Newseum Institute and also is a longtime proponent of diversity in journalism as an essential characteristic of a free press. He speaks and writes regularly on news gathering and reporting, newsroom diversity and on journalism ethics.

More About The Newseum:

The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits. The Newseum is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on America’s Main Street between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.

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