Reflection: The language of protest and media bias

By Cameron Coyle, F/G Scholar

The media has a long history of covering events differently depending on the people involved in the story. Patrisse Cullors, the founder of Black Lives Matter, was quoted in an interview with Time Magazine in February 2018 saying she believed the Black Lives Matter movement was covered in a discriminatory manner, portraying them to be “aimless” and “too angry,” while Parkland protestors were treated like heroes, even though they were all essentially protesting unnecessary killings. Continue reading Reflection: The language of protest and media bias

Reflection: Not your Founding Fathers’ protests

By Lane Hedrick, F/G Scholar

While America has roots in protest, the Founding Fathers could not have fathomed the way modern protests could mobilize, spread, and find success. The year of 2018 has not been immune to heartache and damage, but it has found a series of small lights in the darkness: protests. Between Black Lives Matter, #MarchForOurLives and more, the American public will no longer stand idly by as people die. Continue reading Reflection: Not your Founding Fathers’ protests

Reflection: Is it OK to punch a Nazi?

By Lillie Eastham, F/G Scholar

Fleischaker Greene Logo“Is it okay to punch a Nazi?” is a question that would seemingly be simple to answer. In the past, Nazis have only been thought of as the obviously evil masterminds behind the genocide of millions of people. However, what if the ‘Nazi’ in question, is a well-dressed man who calls himself a member of the ‘Alt-Right’ and is exercising his right to speech? Is he still easily punchable? Continue reading Reflection: Is it OK to punch a Nazi?

Reflection: Free Speech and Alex Jones

By Cameron Coyle, F/G Scholar

Freedom of speech is an idea that does not have a concrete definition, but Thomas Emerson’s opening line in “The System of Freedom of Expression” makes a factual observation when he calls it a complex mechanism, which explains why so many theories revolve around free speech. Differences of ideas naturally lead to debates about what the difference of what can and should be said, and there is no better example of this in today’s society than recently de-platformed conspiracy theorist and political commentator, Alex Jones. Continue reading Reflection: Free Speech and Alex Jones

Reflection: Art and freedom of speech

By Hayley Robb, F/G Scholar

In a profession committed to accuracy, brevity and objectivity, the foundations of the First Amendment theory are much of what journalists value. From the free trade of ideas and diverse perspectives to the uncertain truth, these theories can be extended all the way to artistic, scientific and religious freedoms too. Continue reading Reflection: Art and freedom of speech

Reflection: The Safety-Valve Justification in the digital age

By Lillie Eastham, F/G Scholar

The Safety-Valve Justification theory is unique among First Amendment theories because it is purely pragmatic (Gey, 2008) . It does not subscribe to the same idealism as other theories that claim that freedom of speech eventually leads to the truth and an overall stronger and more educated public. Instead, it argues that freedom of speech acts as a literal safety valve, so that people who feel alienated from larger society are able to air their frustrations without becoming violent or revolutionary. In this way, freedom of speech is used to protect the general public from those on the fringe of society.

This theory remains relevant in the digital age as citizens try to navigate a world in which all opinions can be dispersed to millions with the push of a button. In fact, a new kind of ‘safety valve’ has developed that helps people to evade injustices that they feel the government has brought upon them. Continue reading Reflection: The Safety-Valve Justification in the digital age

Freedom of Speech and Protest

For 2018, the Fleischaker/Greene Scholars in Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism & Broadcasting are exploring a right fundamental to American life and democracy — the right to protest, complain, dissent and have our voices heard.

The First Amendment has always been a living, breathing, pulsating fact of national life. As students of journalism and history, we strive to tell that rich story and apply it to our own time.