FDL Book Salon Welcomes Thomas J. Healy, The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind—and Changed the History of Free Speech in America

By: Sunday August 25, 2013 1:59 pm

No right seems more fundamental to American public life than freedom of speech. Yet well into the twentieth century, that freedom was still an unfulfilled promise, with Americans regularly imprisoned merely for speaking out against government policies. Indeed, free speech as we know it comes less from the First Amendment than from a most unexpected source: Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. A lifelong skeptic, he disdained all individual rights, including the right to express one’s political views. But in 1919, it was Holmes who wrote a dissenting opinion that would become the canonical affirmation of free speech in the United States.

Why did Holmes change his mind? That question has puzzled historians for almost a century. Now, with the aid of newly discovered letters and confidential memos, law professor Thomas Healy reconstructs in vivid detail Holmes’s journey from free-speech opponent to First Amendment hero.


Associated Press: Sources Won’t Talk Anymore

By: Thursday June 20, 2013 6:46 am

Apparently the war on whistle-blowers is working as the CEO of the Associated Press now says sources will no longer talk out of fear.

Media Matters Offers Odd Apologetic for Press Spying

By: Friday May 24, 2013 12:45 pm

During the Bush years Media Matters offered some of the most insightful and well-researched critiques of the executive branch produced. Now that a Democrat is in the White House the tune has changed and none more so than on executive branch abuses of power.

Today, Media Matters offered a dishonest apologetic masquerading as a condemnation of two reported incidents of the Obama Administration attacking journalists.

Holder Approved Search Warrant of Reporter’s Emails

By: Friday May 24, 2013 7:35 am

While Attorney General Eric Holder may have recused himself in the Associated Press probe he did approve the search warrant for a Fox News reporter’s emails. The information was revealed yesterday as President Obama spoke on his administration’s support for press freedom.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Robert W. McChesney, Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy

By: Sunday April 21, 2013 1:59 pm

hen Bob McChesney raises the alarm about a media issue, I say pay attention. Even if no one else is sounding the alarm, pay attention. Why? Because no one spends more time than McChesney engaged in the serious endeavor of figuring out how we now communicate, how we will communicate, how powerful media corporations seek to influence that communication, and how government agencies can and do fail to protect the public interest in a wide-open and wide-ranging democratic discourse.

That’s what McChesney has done with Digital Disconnect: How Capitalism is Turning the Internet Against Democracy.

FCC Plan to Gut Media Ownership Rules Would Benefit Rupert Murdoch

By: Tuesday November 20, 2012 4:29 pm

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski would like the FCC to vote on a plan to gut media ownership rules. If approved, News Corp owner Rupert Murdoch, who has been considering buying more media, would benefit. The proposal would also allow for more media consolidation.

Using innocuous language to describe a proposal that should raise alarm, Genachowski stated yesterday that he wanted the FCC to “streamline and modernize media ownership rules.” This would include “eliminating outdated prohibitions on newspaper-radio and TV-radio cross-ownership.”

Groups Call on Justice Department to Protect Right to Record

By: Thursday May 3, 2012 3:45 pm

Nine groups who regularly defend free speech and digital rights have sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to protect the right to record police.

Without cameras, police would have much more freedom to violently abuse and violate the rights of protesters. Defending freedom of the press does not just give journalists the ability to do their job, but also gives citizens a level of protection from possible police brutality.

Occupy LA Joins in Protest of News Corp.

By: Friday October 21, 2011 4:24 pm

Friday, as the News Corp. Board of Directors held their annual shareholders meeting, close to two hundred demonstrators from Good Jobs LA, Brave New Foundation, NABET-CWA, Media and Democracy Coalition, Media Alliance, and Media Action Center joined with Occupy LA, AAVAZ.org, Free Press and Common Cause to protest the media giant’s behavior -including having politicians on their payroll as media commentators and authors, phone hacking and bribery, one-sided reporting, use of faulty statistics, bad governance, and most especially, not acting in the public interest.

Media activist Sue Wilson rallied the crowd when she told them that a local Fox channel in Florida went to court and received a ruling that a news broadcast over our public airwaves does not have to be true.

Notes on Civil Liberties

By: Friday August 19, 2011 4:45 am

Here’s the list or the latest civil liberties stories. Protests and civil disobedience against the Obama administration’s “Secure Communities” program have taken place all over the country, while protests and violence continue in the UK. Plus updates in wikileaks and much more.

Funny how that happened

By: Monday January 31, 2011 1:30 am

“Tyrant-for-Life” Mubarak is hard on the press…but not as hard as the Bush Administration who went out for blood.

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