February 02, 2005
First amendment and teens

Athena Runner points out this article, which notes a frightening number of high schoolers favor governmental regulation of the press:

The survey of 112,003 students finds that 36% believe newspapers should get "government approval" of stories before publishing; 51% say they should be able to publish freely; 13% have no opinion.

That's disturbing. While I really think that the news media need to do a better job of story selection and fact-checking, I know I don't want the government deciding what can and cannot be published. That is censorship, and I don't want it in this country. If I wanted press freedom like that, I would move to Cuba. The only things that should not be released relate to active criminal investigations, intelligence sources, and military data.

Some of the other data in the study indicate that civics classes, if they are part of the core curricula of these students, are failing to inform them of the constitution and the rights enumerated within. Three quarters of the students believe that burning the flag is illegal, and 74 percent believe that it should be prohibited. The first is factually incorrect, and the second is unconstitutional. A proposed constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning has (rightfully) not gone anywhere in congress.

posted on February 02, 2005 01:29 PM


That's exactly why the first amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights were necessary. Some of the founders understood that usually when something "goes without saying" it needs to be said or it will be forgotten.

posted by Doug Murray on February 7, 2005 05:40 PM

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