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.

With the current assaults on the news media, it may be a good time to take another look at the First Amendment. When I was in graduate school, studying for my Masters of Library Science, I took a few classes that really stood out. One was called Intellectual Freedom. One of our projects was to team up with another student for a presentation on some aspect of censorship. My partner and I chose "National Security and the People's Right to Know" as our topic. We discussed the evolution of the national security information classification system and the development of the Freedom of Information Act. We had recruited two speakers, a national board member of the ACLU and a retired Deputy Chief of Staff of Intelligence for Armed Forces Commands who had been responsible for Army tactical intelligence operations in the Western Hemisphere. We thought we might get a bit of a debate going, but they were surprisingly like-minded as they talked about the balance between limits on information and having an informed citizenry. They both stressed the importance of the First Amendment. Those were different times....  Rubbing a lamp (or a rock) might not help in the coming months and years, but access to information (true, not fake or "alternate") is vital.

If this topic interests you, I've made up a list of some books and movies for you.


Freedom for the thought that we hate : a biography of the First Amendment
/Lewis, Anthony,  342.7308 LEW - includes these chapters -- Defining freedom -- Freedom and privacy -- A press privilege? -- Fear itself -- Thoughts that we hate -- Balancing interests -- Freedom of thought.

The four freedoms under siege : the clear and present danger from our national security state /Raskin, Marcus G.  323.49 RAS - President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on January 6, 1941, proposed four fundamental freedoms that people "everywhere in the world" ought to enjoy:Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship, Freedom from want, and Freedom from fear.

Civil liberties : opposing viewpoints /323 COZ - Presents opposing viewpoints on issues relating to civil liberties, including privacy, freedom of the press, and censorship.

From the Palmer Raids to the Patriot Act : a history of the fight for free speech in America /Finan, Christopher M.,  323.44 FIN

Truth/DVD F TRU - Newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush's military service, and the ensuing firestorm of criticism that cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers.

Spotlight /DVD F SPO - The riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world's oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper's tenacious 'Spotlight' team of reporters delve into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment. Special features: Uncovering the truth: A spotlight team roundtable ; Spotlight: a look inside ; The state of journalism