Paper on Freedom for the Thought That We Hate

Topics: First Amendment to the United States Constitution, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, United States Pages: 2 (820 words) Published: April 8, 2009
Paper on Freedom for the Thought that we Hate

In the book Freedom for the Thought that we Hate, author Anthony Lewis takes a simply phrased law, the First Amendment and shows how complex freedom of speech really is once put into the real world of freedom, as we know it. He shows through his rejections of absolutism, strong support towards freedom restriction, and objective analysis of Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, that the United States press is unlike any other in the world. Lewis rejects the First Amendment absolutism when discussing his argument about shield laws. As discussed in the book, a shield law is legislation designed to allow news reporters the right to refuse to testify to information or give up their sources of information obtained during the newsgathering process. Lewis refers to the case of scientist Wen Ho Lee. Lee was described in various press stories that he was a atomic spy, the stories were said to be leaks from government sources and resulting in the arrest and fifty felony charges of Lee. The charges with dropped but the press did not give up their sources but instead pay Lee a large compensation. Lewis draws attention to the fact that if the shield law was in effect during this case poor Lee would have had his cased dismissed and his name ruined. He not only points out that it is unfair to the victim but also harmful for the press, it would have added to feeling that the press is given special treatment and false. I again would have to agree with Lewis’s points, there are certain cases where this law may not serve as beneficiary. Another case where Lewis supports the press restrictions is the case of New York Times vs. Sullivan. The case took place in the south during the civil rights movement, New York Times printed an advertisment that was created by Martin Luther King Jr. supporters. The advertisment spook badly about the Montgomery police department. Officer L.B. Sullivan, a Montgomery police officer, read this ad and...
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