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Ethics, libel, freedom of the press

Academic freedom, anti-SLAPP law, banned and 'challenged' books, cancel culture, censorship, codes of ethics, cyberbullying, data protection, defamation/libel/slander, publishing ethics, First Amendment issues, Fosta Sesta, freedom of expression, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), free speech, GDPR, or the 'right to be forgotten', HIPAA, invasion of privacy, media watchdogs, medical ghostwriting, online privacy, plagiarism, protection for whistleblowers, right of publicity, Section 230, transparency, virtual private networks (VPNs),etc.

 

• Codes of Ethics, Standards and Guidelines,
and Statements of Principle and Best Practices

• Codes of Conduct
• Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing
•Privacy and invasion of privacy

(including phone searches at border)
• Online privacy: Steps you can take to protect data
(data privacy vs. data protection)
• GDPR, or the 'right to be forgotten'
(the battle between 'right to privacy' and 'right to know')
• Social media monitoring
• Virtual private networks (VPNs)
• Bullying, cyberbullying, and online harassment
• Sexual harassment and other bad workplace behavior
•  HIPAA, electronic health records, medical privacy laws, and patient rights
• Recording phone calls
•Photographers' rights
• Right of publicity (personality rights)

• Plagiarism, recycling, patchwriting, and sloppy research
• Defamation, libel, and slander
• Defamation and #MeToo
• Anti-SLAPP law
• Protection for whistleblowers
• What's up with shield laws?
(right to protect confidential sources)

Organizations fighting for the four freedoms
• Free speech, freedom of expression, and censorship
• Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
• Freedom of the press
Free speech (including dissent and protest)
• Academic freedom, campus free speech, teacher tenure, student rights, educational gag orders

• Censorship vs. freedom of expression
• Timelines of censorship history
• Censorship by the numbers
What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books
• Banned & challenged books (lists)
• Prior restraint (government censorship)
• Cancel culture
• The flag, the national anthem, and free expression

Sunshine laws, government transparency, and Sunshine Week
• Transparency reporting
(Getting Internet companies to report government takedowns)
• Truth, accuracy, public trust, and accountability
Trump, the press, the truth, and civil rights
• Anonymous sources
• Blogging, digital journalism, and the law
• How to cover your digital trail and how it can be used against you
• Best practices for government communicators

SEE ALSO:
Section 230, The EARN IT Act, and Fosta Sesta(blog post)
(child sexual exploitation and freedom from libel suits)
Black Lives Matter (a reading list for adults)
Books for and about children of color
News literacy and fake news
How to spot and identify fake news
(aka misinformation and disinformation)
Fact-checking sites
Verification sites
Computer security

 

Also resources on:
Online privacy (and harassment), VPNs, plagiarism, SLAPP, media watchdogs,right of publicity,
the four freedoms, freedom of information (FOIA),
censorship, prior restraint, banned books,
sunshine laws, and protection for whistleblowers

Social media monitoring

See also (applies in Europe) Digital Services Act and Digital Marketing Act

Further to Social media superpowers under the microscope

We’re Demanding the Government Come Clean on Surveillance of Social Media (Hugh Handeyside, ACLU, 5-24-18) The Trump administration is ramping up surveillance of what people say on social media — and it’s doing so largely in secret. The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out how agencies like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are collecting and analyzing content from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Research contradicts the notion that reliable indicators exist to identify would-be terrorists or other security threats.
SURVEY: 77% of colleges use secret social media blacklist to censor the public, in violation of First Amendment (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE)
Social Media/Networks Disinformation and Public International Law in the Context of Election Observation (Democracy Reporting International) The low barriers to participation in social media have been used by various state and not-state actors attempting to undermine electoral integrity by spreading disinformation, intimidating stakeholders, and suppressing free speech.
Law Enforcement Social Media Monitoring Is Invasive and Opaque (Rachel Levinson-Waldman and Sahil Singhvi, Brennan Center for Justice,11-6-19) Unbridled government surveillance using social media poses significant dangers to civil rights and civil liberties.
Capitol Police officer indicted for obstruction after riot (AP, 10-15-21, on WTOP) "The officer, Michael A. Riley, is accused of tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to court documents.
      "Experts say the efforts to scrub the social media accounts reveal a desperate willingness to manipulate evidence once these people realized they were in hot water. They say it can serve as powerful proof of people’s consciousness of guilt and can make it harder to negotiate plea deals and seek leniency at sentencing.
       "But making digital content vanish isn’t as easy as deleting content from phones, removing social media posts or shutting down accounts. Investigators have been able to retrieve the digital content by requesting it from social media companies, even after accounts are shut down. Posts made on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are recoverable for a certain period of time, and authorities routinely ask those companies to preserve the records until they get court orders to view the posts."
Social Media: Where Voices of Hate Find a Place to Preach (Kianna Gardner, The Center for Public Integrity, 8-30-18) On Twitter, David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, sometimes tweets more than 30 times a day to nearly 50,000 followers, recently calling for the “chasing down” of specific black Americans and claiming the LGBTQ community is in need of “intensive psychiatric treatment.” On Facebook, James Allsup, a right-wing advocate, posted a photo comparing migrant children at the border to Jewish people behind a fence during the Holocaust with the caption, “They present it like it’s a bad thing #BuildTheWall.” On Gab, a censorship-free alternative to Twitter, former 2018 candidate for U.S. Senate Patrick Little, claims ovens are a means of preserving the Aryan race. And Billy Roper, a well-known voice of neo-Nazism, posts “Let God Burn Them” as an acronym for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender. Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies offer billions of people unparalleled access to the world. Users are able to tweet at the president of the United States, foster support for such social movements as Black Lives Matter or inspire thousands to march with a simple hashtag.
Trump applauds far-right provocateurs during 'social media summit’ (Kari Paul, The Guardian, 7-10-19) During the summit, the president repeatedly bragged about his large Twitter following and congratulated conservative attendees for communicating online “without having to go through the fake news filter”.
Conservatives Use Social Media to Move Their Agendas Much More Than Liberals Do (Jen Schradie, Newsweek, 5-17-19) "While tea parties were the focus of the far-right grass-roots conservative movement, that was not the whole story in North Carolina. Tea parties were just the tip of a vast conservative iceberg. The depth and breadth of this digital juggernaut would not become popularly acknowledged until well after statewide elections in 2012 that sent the state careening even further to the right than it had been in decades." Excerpt adapted from The Revolution That Wasn't: How Digital Activism Favors Conservatives by Jen Schradie. "In this counterintuitive study of digital democracy, Jen Schradie shows how the web has become another weapon in the arsenal of the powerful, and a potent weapon for conservative activists. Rather than leveling the playing field, the internet has tilted it in favor of the Right, where only the most sophisticated and well-funded players can compete."
Statement of Civil Rights Concerns About Monitoring of Social Media by Law Enforcement On November 6, 2019, the Brennan Center, ACLU of Northern California, Free Press, and MediaJustice, together with 51 other civil society organizations, released a statement on civil rights concerns about monitoring of social media by law enforcement. The statement sets out six harmful impacts from social media surveillance that lawmakers and the public must take into account in any discussion about surveillance of social media users, including the chilling effect on First Amendment-protected activities, disparate impact on marginalized communities, lack of public input or approval, threats to privacy, heightened risks arising from undercover activity online, and the elevated stakes of using social media for criminal justice purposes.
Memphis police used fake Facebook account to monitor Black Lives Matter, trial reveals (Antonia Noori Farzan, Washington Post, 8-23-18)
Exclusive: ICE Has Kept Tabs on ‘Anti-Trump’ Protesters in New York City (Jimmy Tobias, The Nation, 3-6-19) Documents reveal that the immigration enforcement agency has been keenly attuned to left-leaning protests in the city. Please tell me about other articles on this topic!

 

SEE ALSO
Social media superpowers under the microscope (Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, blockchains, and other issues with the Internet "monopolies" Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and Twitter)

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Codes of Conduct

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

 

Codes of conduct seem to focus on inclusion and diversity, acceptable and unacceptable behavior, a safe environment, and respect for all, whatever a person's age, race, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, trans status, sexual orientation, political party or beliefs, marital status, ability, disability, physical appearance, body size, medical condition, socioeconomic status, religion, or beliefs. As ONA puts it, "Remember that the boundaries of good taste, humor, personal space and physical interaction differ from person to person; if you sense someone feels uncomfortable — whether they explicitly state it or not — be respectful of those boundaries."


ACES Code of Conduct (ACES: The Society for Editors)
AAJA Code of Conduct (Asian American Journalists Association
Google Code of Conduct

NABJ Code of Conduct (National Association of Black Journalists)
NAHJ Code of Conduct (National Association of Hispanic Journalists)
• NASW Online Code of Conduct (National Association of Science Writers)
ONA Event Code of Conduct (Online News Association)
Romance Writers of America's Industy Professional Code of Conduct and Chapter Code of Conduct
Guide to writing a code of conduct (Project Include)



See also Codes of Ethics, Standards and Guidelines, Statements of Principle, and Best Practices
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How protected is your online privacy
and some steps you can take for data protection

(identity theft, data privacy and data protection, GDPR)
See also Privacy, Online Privacy, and Invasion of Privacy


Data vs. Data Integrity: Why Backup as a Service Costs More than Cloud Storage (Justine Kurtz, Carbonite, 3-11-21) The main differences between cloud storage and cloud backup. Differences in data restoration. Differences in ransomware recovery. Differences in issue or threat detection. Differences in admin support.
The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide for Journalists (Lucca RF, Wizcase, 3-20-21) The online threats facing journalists: Astroturfing, denial-of-Information attacks, deep fakes, doxxing, doubleswitch, email bombing, hashtag poisoning, mass reports, memes, social bots, phishing. Explained.
A Dad Took Photos of His Naked Toddler for the Doctor. Google Flagged Him as a Criminal. (Kashmir Hill, Technology, NY Times, 8-21-22) Google has an automated tool to detect abusive images of children. But the system can get it wrong, and the consequences are serious.
Blacklight A Real-Time Website Privacy Inspector (Surya Mattu, The Markup) Who is peeking over your shoulder while you work, watch videos, learn, explore, and shop on the internet? Enter the address of any website, and Blacklight will scan it and reveal the specific user-tracking technologies on the site—and who’s getting your data. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Apple, Meta And The $10 Billion Impact Of Privacy Changes (Daniel Newman, Forbes, 2-10-22) Exploring Cloud, AI, Big Data and all things Digital Transformation. "What Apple calls IDFA was a bold move that was set to potentially disrupt advertisers that had depended on relatively easy to gain access to user data to help target advertisements. As Apple implemented these new policies there were many questions as to which advertisers would be most significantly impacted. If these past few weeks of earnings have shown us anything, it is that Facebook and its parent Meta, are perhaps the biggest loser in this transition—and the cost to Meta and its shareholders are already proving to be substantial. "David Wehner, Chief Financial Officer of Facebook’s parent company Meta said that the company anticipates losing more than $10 billion in sales revenue, as the company continues to feel the lasting impact of Apple’s changes to the App Tracking Transparency feature, namely the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA) policy."
Data Privacy vs. Data Protection (Rick Robinson, Ipswitch, 1-29-18) "In a nutshell, data protection is about securing data against unauthorized access. Data privacy is about authorized access — who has it and who defines it. Another way to look at it is this: data protection is essentially a technical issue, whereas data privacy is a legal one. See also:
Hands off my data! 15 default privacy settings you should change right now Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Switch, WashPost, 6-1-18) Say no to defaults. A clickable guide to fixing the complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple.
This outed priest’s story is a warning for everyone about the need for data privacy laws (Sara Morrison, Vox, 7-21-21) "Supposedly anonymous gay dating app data was apparently sold off and linked to a Catholic priest, who then resigned from his job.... Your location data is for sale, and it can be used against you."
How to Control and Delete Cookies on Your Browser (Eric Griffith & Chandra Steele, PC Magaine, 8-19-2020) Most of the time, cookies are a good thing, but they can also track you. Take control of a tiny bit of your online privacy by blocking, deleting, and allowing only select cookies.
More data breaches in 2017 could mean more tax identity theft in 2018 (Tam Harbert)
What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer? (All About Cookies.org)
The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox,Vice, 11-12-18) The basic steps to take to keep yourself, and your data, safe online.
Alerts and Tips (CISA, Dept. of Homeland Security)
Internet privacy by country (VPN)
KeePassX (a free, open source, cross-platform password manager)
HTTPS Everywhere (Electronic Frontier Foundation) HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.
The Investigatory Powers Bill would increase cybercrime (Martin Kleppmann, 11-10-15) "I post this piece from the UK because of its good explanation of the difference between encryption in transit, end-to-end encryption (via a service provider), and end-to-end encryption (with no service provider)."
Amazon may soon be able to track your phone’s location even if you don’t use any of its products or services (Aaron Holmes, Business Insider, 9-29-19) Amazon's new mesh network could enable the company to track your phone's location, even if you don't use its WiFi or products. Privacy watchdogs are sounding alarm bells about what that means for the company's ability to surveil individuals. Amazon regularly partners with law enforcement, turning over insights from its network of Ring cameras to police.
Myths and fallacies of “Personally identifiable information” (Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov, Viewpoints, Communications of the ACM, June 2010).Developing effective privacy protection technologies is a critical challenge for security and privacy research as the amount and variety of data collected about individuals increase exponentially. Any information that distinguishes one person from another can be used for re-identifying data.
Privacy and Identity Theft (Identity Theft Resource Center, 888-400-5530) Links to practical tip sheets.
Do Internet-Connected Toys Pose a Privacy Risk? Tanya Rivero interviews Georgia Wells, WSJ video, 12-7-16) Advocacy groups allege that Internet-connected toys, including several children's dolls, pose a privacy risk to consumers. Is Genesis Toys recording children's voices and what they say, without parental knowledge or consent?

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Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin
Disconnect Search: Google In Private (Thomas Claburn, Information Week, 3-24-14) Disconnect app delivers search engine privacy, with "pay what you want" pricing.
Facebook: Where Your Friends Are Your Worst Enemies (Packet Storm, 6-21-13)
Online Shopping Safety Guide (Steve Weisman, Coupon Chief). Easy to understand advice about avoiding online data and security breaches.
Open Source Privacy Tools – Complete Guide to Online Safety (Sam Bocceta, Privacy Australia). Scan this whole website, as it is full of invaluable-looking resources (apparently not so secure: Microsoft, Google, Apple's OSX). See, for example, Recommended Email Clients, Make Sure Your Browser Is Not Leaving Fingerprints As You Browse The Web, Info about Browser Fingerprinting, Search Engines That Respect Your Privacy, Instant Messengers with Encryption, Video and Voice Messengers with Encryption, Cloud Storage Services with Privacy Features, Applications That Let You Host Your Own Cloud Server, File Syncing Applications with Privacy Features, Password Management Applications, File Encryption Applications, International Laws Regarding Key Disclosure, Networks Outside of the Surface Web, Domain Name Services for Greater Security, Secure Note Taking Applications, Security Enhanced Operating Systems, Privacy Enhanced Mobile Operating Systems, Open Source Router Applications, Links to articles that discuss how Windows 10 is violating your privacy, Recommended Resources on Privacy. Above all: To protect your privacy, avoid services based in the United States. Read Global Mass Surveillance – The Fourteen Eyes.
A guide to the security of voice-activated smart speakers (Candid Wueest, An ISTR Special Report, Symantec, Nov. 2017) Voice assistants and smart speakers: What you need to know. What are voice assistants and smart speakers? Siri, Alexa, Amazon Echo Dot, Google Assistant, etc. What are the risks? For example: "The voice purchasing option is enabled on the Alexa assistant by default, which means that anyone can use the assistant to order goods if the linked account is a Prime account with one-click ordering enabled." The mimicry of the curious child, the tale of the mischievous neighbor, the case of the talking television, the clever burglar's tricks. What to do to protect yourself.
What does the US government know about you? (Privacy.net)
•  Did Cambridge Analytica Help to Create ‘Digital Wokeness’? (Manoush Zomorodi, Internet Citizen, Mozilla, 4-22-19) How and what you post about your child is a personal choice, but trusting that tech companies aren’t building dossiers on our children, starting with that first birth announcement, is a modern-day digital civil right we need to demand. Solving the privacy problem is possible, but will require both individual and collective action.
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Stay Safe Online (National Cybersecurity Alliance)
Postal Banking: An Idea Whose Time Has Returned? (CATO Institute) The idea is to provide a consumer‐friendly alternative to the (state‐regulated) payday lending and check‐cashing services presently used by the unbanked. As As Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) contend: “Being poor in America was expensive before the pandemic, and this unprecedented crisis has made it even harder for underserved communities to access the financial services they need. In addition, the administration’s relentless attacks on the Postal Service and push for privatization is compounding the challenges faced by American families,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The USPS is the only institution that serves every community in the country, from inner cities to rural America. The Postal Banking Act would reinforce the Postal Service, provide critical revenue, and establish postal banking for the nearly 10 million American households who lack access to basic financial services. I’m proud to reintroduce this legislation with my friend Senator Sanders, a leader in the fight against predatory financial institutions.”
Netflix's 'Black Mirror' Creates Same Privacy Problems It Warns Against ( Mark Epstein, RealClear Policy, 1-11-19) "Netflix acknowledges it tracks its subscribers' decisions within the show to "see what resonates with audiences and what doesn't," as Vice President for Product Todd Yellin explained. But the company does not merely aggregate viewing data to see what’s popular as TV producers analyze the Nielsen Ratings....viewer data was most useful "not in picking the perfect content" but "marketing it more efficiently."...Implemented properly, data collection and personalized marketing does not inevitably lead to tech-dystopia and can benefit consumers. However, Netflix should offer subscribers more transparency and control over their data."
House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule (Harper Neidig, The Hill, 3-28-17) The House passed a bill blocking internet privacy rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016. "The FCC rules would have given consumers greater control over what their internet service provider can do with their data by requiring those companies to get permission from customers before using their information to create targeted advertisements." A fairly detailed explanation of the issues.
States stumble on internet privacy (Elaine S. Povich, GCN, 5-21-18) "When President Donald Trump signed the repeal of Obama-era internet service provider privacy rules last year, states rushed in to craft privacy legislation of their own. But most of those 2017 and 2018 bills have floundered, done in by the same business and industry forces that opposed the federal rules. The Obama-era rules were intended to restrict internet service providers from selling or disseminating users’ personal information without permission. But industry representatives said those rules were burdensome and would stifle innovation and curb growth. Trump agreed." If you don't want ISPs (internet service providers) tracking your data, sign up for a virtual private network (VPN) (see section immediately after this one).

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Net neutrality: Who owns the internet?
Europe's new privacy law will change the Web, and more (Nitasha Tiku, Business, Wired, 3-18-18) On May 25, 2018, a European privacy law starts restricting "how personal data is collected and handled. The rule, called General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, focuses on ensuring that users know, understand, and consent to the data collected about them. Under GDPR, pages of fine print won’t suffice. Neither will forcing users to click yes in order to sign up."
Authors, Are You GDPR Ready? (Authors Guild, 4-26-18) From writers' viewpoint. Links to several other pieces on GDPR. As the AG Web Services team explains it: "GDPR refers to privacy laws that were put in place in the EU. If visitors to your website come from the EU, then your website needs to follow these laws. As you can’t control whether someone visits your website from the EU or not, everyone needs to comply with these laws. The basic premise of the laws is simple: do not collect or share personal information about website visitors without their *expressed* permission." The AG Sitebuilder websites are compliant, BUT you must be sure to do two things:
      "Newsletters. If you have a newsletter on your site, you must allow people to opt-in and out of your newsletter. Sitebuilder newsletter has always had a double opt-in approach. Users must sign up for the newsletter and then opt-in again from an email they receive in their inbox. If they don’t opt-in, their email address is not activated and you cannot send them newsletters. As long as you send emails and manage subscribers from Sitebuilder, then your newsletters are GDPR compliant.
       "Google Analytics or any other 3rd party software. Sitebuilder is great in that it allows you to add 3rd party code to your website. Many of our members use Google Analytics tracking tools to get better stat data about visitors to their websites. However, Google Analytics uses cookies to track visits, and the use of cookies is something that you must put a notice on your website about if your website uses them. If you are using cookies, we recommend posting a notice on your site. If you have already migrated to the refreshed Sitebuilder software, then the easiest place to add this notice is in your footer. (If you want more information about migrating to the refreshed software, please let us know). Otherwise, you can just add a notice on your site by using a text box."

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Groups.io's privacy statement (as an example of more transparency on what, how, and why the site uses your data and to comply with the GDPR). Here's what Groups.io is about.
Hands off my data! 15 more default privacy settings you should change on your TV, cellphone plan, LinkedIn and more. (Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Switch, WashPost, 6-15-18) Default privacy settings often aren’t very private. Our tech columnist is back with round two of his clickable guide to improving your privacy on all sorts of devices and online services. Clickable instructions for televisions, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo, cellphone carriers and WiFi routers.
It’s time to get smarter about data privacy (Anne Glover & David Beard, Poynter, Morning Mediawire, 3-27-18)
Computer security (elsewhere on this site)
Here’s how you can see and delete your entire Google search history (Triana Kalmanoff, PBS News Hour, 4-25-15) Google now allows you to download an archived list of everything you have ever searched for.
How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet (Kate Murphy, Personal Tech, NY Times 5-2-12). "You know that dream where you suddenly realize you’re stark naked? You’re living it whenever you open your browser." Lots of practical tips for keeping your private messages private.
What Is Data Privacy and Why Is it Important? (Cory Warren, LifeLock, 8-23-17) See 5 simple tips.
How to Protect Your Personal Data (Charity Navigator)
Guide to data protection (ICO, UK's independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.)
I Know What You Think of Me (Tim Kreider, NY Times Opinion section, 6-15-13). Reason No. 697 Why the Internet Is Bad — the dreadful consequence of hitting “reply all” instead of “reply” or “forward.”
EPIC Online Guide to Practical Privacy Tools (there's a whole new world here!)

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Internet privacy: Is it overrated? (Jessi Hempel, Fortune, 8-26-11) Hempel weighs in on Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live, Jeff Jarvis’s argument that we all need to loosen up over Internet privacy.

Scroogle, an ad-free Google search proxy that prevents the searcher's data being stored by Google (as explained on Technically Speaking Radio).
Disconnect Search: Google In Private (Thomas Claburn, Information Week, 3-24-14) Disconnect app delivers search engine privacy, with "pay what you want" pricing.
EFF's Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy (Stanton McCandlish, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 4-9-02).
Tor Project (a browser that allows you to search the Internet anonymously, or pseudonymously)
Anonymizer International(Torproject.org) "keeps your online activities safe, private, and secure"
Do Internet-Connected Toys Pose a Privacy Risk? Tanya Rivero interviews Georgia Wells, WSJ video, 12-7-16) Advocacy groups allege that Internet-connected toys, including several children's dolls, pose a privacy risk to consumers. Is Genesis Toys recording children's voices and what they say, without parental knowledge or consent?
Edward Snowden Explains How To Reclaim Your Privacy (Michah Lee, The Intercept, 11-12-15)

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A simple step to make news sites more secure (Susan McGregor, CJR, 12-5-16) "The vast majority of mainstream news organizations still publish to HTTP domains, making it impossible to guarantee either their readers’ privacy or the authenticity and accuracy of what those readers are seeing. News sites that publish on HTTPS domains, however, can guarantee all of this–without additional effort from users." A good explanation of information I didn't realize I needed!
Legalized sale of browser histories should worry journalists (Susan McGregor, Columbia Journalism Review, 4-12-17) "The blowback has been intense to President Trump’s decision last week to back a congressional rollback of recently adopted FCC privacy rules—rules designed to protect web users from the reuse or sale of their online traffic histories without their explicit consent....The first step is for journalists and media organizations to privilege the use of HTTPS websites and services as much as possible: While your ISP can still see which domains you’re connecting to (such as duckduckgo.com), they cannot generally see which individual pages you’ve visited. Similarly, news organizations should protect their readers by implementing HTTPS on their own sites.
KeePassX (a free, open source, cross-platform password manager)
HTTPS Everywhere (Electronic Frontier Foundation) HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox, Chrome, and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites, making your browsing more secure.

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AxisPro's Loss Prevention Guide (this PDF booklet provides basic info on defamation, defamation, invasion of privacy (more complex than you might expect), trademark infringement, and copyright infringement).
Online privacy for journalists by Michael Dagan (PDF) How to safeguard your communications, browsing, and data, from any unwanted "big brother" or intruder--indirectly how to protect a source.

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How Privacy Vanishes Online (Steve Lohr, NY Times Technology section, 3-16-10). Using bits of data from social network sites, researchers gleaned names, ages and even Social Security numbers.
Who owns your Twitter post? Judge Rules That Protester Can’t Oppose Twitter Subpoena (Colin Moynihan, City Room, NY Times 4-24-12). Tweeter Harris "lacked the standing to oppose the subpoena because Twitter’s policies required that he agree to grant the company a 'worldwide, non-exclusive royalty-free' right to distribute messages, which are publicly viewable. He labeled “understandable, but without merit” the defendant’s contention that he had a privacy interest in his tweets."
Data Marketers Know What You Bought Last Summer (Elise Hu, New York Public Radio, 9-4-13) Marketing technology company Acxiom is letting you see the data marketers have and use to advertise to you. Check out what they know about you, your household, your education or income or purchase preferences.
Give Me Back My Online Privacy (Elizabeth Doskin, WSJ, 3-23-14), Internet users tap tech tools that protect them from prying eyes.
How to Invent a Person Online (Curtis Wallen, Atlantic, 7-23-14). Is it possible to be truly anonymous in the digital world?
Can’t Hide in the Cloud (Vikas Bajaj, NY Times, 6-15-13). Most users could do more to safeguard themselves, but no software or service can protect them fully from determined government agencies, criminals or hackers.
Google Says It Collected Private Data by Mistake (Brad Stone, NY Times, 5-14-10, about Google's answers to questions from regulators in Europe about Street View).
Privacy Subtleties of GMail (Brad Templeton)

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Forget Privacy: What the Internet Knows About You by Jessica Bennett (Newsweek 10-22-10) and The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets by Julia Angwin (first in Wall Street Journal series on the fast-growing business of spying on consumers). Watch your back!
10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online (Michael Fertik 10-22-10)
How to Muddy Your Tracks on the Internet (Kate Murphy, Personal Tech, NY Times 5-2-12). "You know that dream where you suddenly realize you’re stark naked? You’re living it whenever you open your browser." Lots of practical tips for keeping your private messages private.
The Candidates Are Monitoring Your Mouse -- privacy advocates are worried (Heather Green, BusinessWeek, 8-27-08)
How a Single Student Is Transforming Facebook’s Privacy Policy In Europe (Jamie Condliffe, Gizmodo, 2-8-12)
The Death of the Cyberflâneur (Evgeny Morozov, NY Times Opinion, 2-5-12) Mr. Schrems was intrigued and somewhat rattled. He wasn’t worried about anything in particular. Rather, he felt a vague disquiet about what Facebook could do with all that information about him in the future.
Internet Privacy *Wikipedia, a helpful overview of issues -- check its Notes.

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How to Cover Your Digital Trail


Your Digital Trail, And How It Can Be Used Against You (Daniel Zwerdling, All Tech Considered, NPR, 9-30-13) NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting are documenting just how vivid the typical person's digital picture has become — and how easy it can be to access it. Co-reported by G.W. Schulz from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Your Digital Trail: Private Company Access (Zwerdling, NPR, 10-1-13) Data we voluntarily provide online — such as on dating websites — may not stay with that site. While not always obvious, websites commonly allow other companies to track user behavior.
Encrypting Your Laptop Like You Mean It (Micah Lee, The Intercept, 4-27-15)
Your Digital Trail: Does The Fourth Amendment Protect Us? (Daniel Zwerdling, All Tech Considered, NPR, 10-2-13) Could government agents really get access to all your private data in less than a minute? Experts say no but warn we are moving in that direction.
Your Digital Trail: Data Fuels Political And Legal Agendas (Zwerdling, NPR, 10-3-13) Private attorneys are easily getting access to defendants' emails and texts. All it takes is a subpoena, which any attorney can do. Former Nixon administration attorney John Dean and a North Carolina divorce lawyer warn that if you think you have nothing to hide, think again.
Data Marketers Know What You Bought Last Summer (Elise Hu, New York Public Radio, 9-4-13) Marketing technology company Acxiom is letting you see the data marketers have and use to advertise to you. Check out what they know about you, your household, your education or income or purchase preferences.

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Virtual private networks (VPNs)

After linking to various articles recommending VPNs, I became curious about whether they are desirable, and found two articles that make me wonder. I'll link to them and after them to the positive articles, so you can read with a skeptic's eye: VPN - a Very Precarious Narrative (Dennis Schubert, 4-8-19) "Your internet connection, right now, is broadcasting your IP address, which is the way people track you online." And a much fuller explanation about how a lot of what you are being sold is hogwash. And Don't use VPN services. (joepie91 on GitHub Gist, 2019) Why not? Because a VPN in this sense is just a glorified proxy. The VPN provider can see all your traffic, and do with it what they want - including logging. So read what follows with a little skepticism.
****First, here's a link recommended by Lucas Hayes, who explained that most websites profit from their reviews, and base their reviews on which VPN will make them the most money. Here, he says, is "a website that isn't relying on money from the products they are reviewing, but rather donations from its readers": That One Privacy Site. Green is good and red is bad. Hover over "VPN comparison," for example, and find the fairly full explanations of things I didn't even know to wonder about. See Lifehacker review of site. And 9 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely (Lifehack editors)
5 Benefits You Will Get While Using a VPN (George Olufemi O, Lifehack)
Can a VPN be tracked? (Police or Employer Watching?) (John Marshall, FixScam) A VPN connection can be tracked by the police or your employer. The police would need a search warrant to obtain logs from your VPN provider. Your employer can view your traffic at any time since you are connecting to their network.
What Is VPN For? VPN Benefits Explained (Claudio R., Anonymster, 1-18-17) A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is basically a series of computers networked together over the Internet, so you bypass the server of your ISP (internet service provider), so that nobody can snoop into your personal affairs. Explains how VPN encryption and protocols work and how they can protect your internet connection. Reviews best VPN systems.

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Get a VPN (Digital Rights Watch, 4-12-17)
Tech tips to help stay safe in Trump’s America (Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch, 11-11-16)
Why Is Everyone Talking About VPNs? (Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker, 3-29-17) See also The Biggest Misconceptions About VPNs (4-5-17)
Post-FCC Privacy Rules, Should You VPN? (KrebsonSecurity)
Understanding and Circumventing Network Censorship (Surveillance Self-Defense, Electronic Frontier Foundation) "This is an overview of network censorship, but it is not comprehensive." A fascinating site to explore. See also Here’s How to Protect Your Privacy From Your Internet Service Provider (Amul Kalia, EFF, 4-3-17)
What is a VPN? Full guide to complete privacy (VPN Room)
The Best VPN Services (PC Magazine)
5 best VPNs (The Best VPN) 30 service providers rated by speed, logging policies, and encryption.
The Ultimate Online Privacy Guide (Douglas Crawford, Best VPN.com, 1-16-19) How secure is encryption? What steps can you take to improve your privacy? Anonymizing your internet use, staying private online, and other security tips. See also Guides to VPNs.

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The Best VPN Services 2019 (TopVPNCanada)
The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox, Motherboard, 8-2-16) The basic steps to take to keep yourself, and your data, safe online. The easiest way to hide your internet browsing from your provider.is to use a commercial Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNs add a layer between your computer and the internet, forcing your connection to go through another server before going out onto the internet, and hide your browsing habits to your ISP. 
The Motherboard Guide to VPNs (Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Motherboard, 3-24-17) The easiest way to hide your internet browsing from your provider.is to use a commercial Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPNs add a layer between your computer and the internet, forcing your connection to go through another server before going out onto the internet, and hide your browsing habits to your ISP.
5 best VPNs (The Best VPN) 30 service providers rated by speed, logging policies, and encryption.
Best VPN Services (Comparitech.com). Torrenting anonymously, using Kodi, accessing US Netflix, Hulu or other geo-restricted services and protecting your privacy online are all common reasons for using a Virtual Private Network, more commonly known as a VPN. There’s no single outright best VPN service for everyone as each provider has pros and cons and which you choose should depend on your intended use. Tested for speed, privacy, security, usability and compatibility across multiple devices.
Tunnel Bear VPN Tunnel (browse the Internet wherever you are, around the globe, privately--your data secure, your IP address hidden behind a bear)
WAVE (web accessibility evaluation tool)
See also
Protecting your online privacy and data
Computer and online security

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The American flag, the national anthem, and free expression


Timeline of Flag Desecration Issues (Independence Hall Association, Betsy Ross and the American Flag, USHistory.org) Timeline from the Committee on the Judiciary
Melissa Florer-Bixler@MelissaFloBix Mennonite pastor tweets: "FYI My Mennonite kids also don’t say the pledge because we don’t take oaths. This is coercive and illegal" She also tweets: "I’ll add this: when we make these universal principles we fail to acknowledge that these are teachings offered within particular cultures to address power. And without that attention they morph into piety." And later, "Radicalism is common sense rediscovered!"
Civil rights complaint being filed for Florida student who wouldn’t stand for Pledge of Allegiance (Kimberly C. Moore, The Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger, 2-19-19) An attorney for an 11-year-old Polk County student who was arrested for disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence after refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, said he is filing a civil rights complaint with the United States Department of Education. The substitute teacher told the boy to go back to where he came from if he wasn't happy here. “You don’t know that feeling of having to raise your kids on what to do if you’re stopped by police,” said Dhakira Talbot, the student's mother. She said her son was doing what she has taught him to do. “You standing up for yourself is not wrong.”
Sports, Race, and the First Amendment ( Sharon Shahid, Newseum, 9-1-16) With his protest, Kaepernick stands side by side with generations of black athletes who used the national anthem and the flag as a means to freely express their frustrations with the state of race relations in this country.'
They Took a Knee (Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 9-24-17) This weekend, a series of taunting messages from the president led to a widescale protest among players—in the NFL, and beyond. The president had, once again, misrepresented the situation. The players are not, as a whole, protesting the national anthem.
Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost. (Jeleme Hill, The Atlantic, 2-17-19) Did the NFL and team owners conspire to keep Colin Kaepernick out of a job? The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who hasn’t been signed to a team since the spring of 2017, officially reached a settlement on Friday with the league over allegations that he’d been blackballed for his spotlighting of issues of racial injustice, including police brutality. The NFL allowed its fear of Trump to influence how it dealt with Kaepernick and the other protesters. "That Kaepernick was the one to make the NFL eat crow is a special kind of karma....Had one league owner had the guts to sign Kaepernick, this collusion case would have been a nonstarter."
Some Religions Don’t Allow for Standing during the National Anthem (Chante'l Johnson, The Shavings, student newspaper of Calumet College of St. Joseph, 12-1-17)
For decades, religious groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses have never stood for the national anthem, and it has never caused the type of controversy we see today. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t believe in idolizing things such as flags and songs; their beliefs put God first and nothing comes before....Willie L. Johnson 'considers the flag to be an idol. After quoting the first line of the Pledge of Allegiance, He explains that “I pledge my allegiance to the United States of America and to the republic.” In other words, “what you are saying that you are giving your all to this country and willing to put it before anything.” He says he refuses to stand for something like that.'
Criticism of the Pledge of Allegiance (Wikipedia) "Central to early challenges were Jehovah's Witnesses, a group whose beliefs preclude swearing loyalty to any power lesser than God. In the 1940 Supreme Court case Minersville School District vs. Gobitis, an 8–1 majority in the Court held that a school district's interest in promoting national unity permitted it to require Witness students to recite the Pledge along with their class mates. Gobitis was an unpopular decision in the press, and it led to a rash of mob violence and intimidation against Jehovah's Witnesses;[3] three years later in West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette, the Court reversed itself, voting 6–3 to forbid a school from requiring the Pledge. As a result, since 1943 public schools have been disallowed from punishing students for not reciting the Pledge.
West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (Oyez) In 1942, the West Virginia Board of Education required public schools to include salutes to the flag by teachers and students as a mandatory part of school. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, argued and decided in 1943, is a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment protects students from being forced to salute the American flag or say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.
The Flag Salute Cases (PDF, Winston Bowman, Federal Judicial History Office, Federal Judicial Center, prepared for the project Federal Trials and Great Debates in United States History, 2017) See timeline of flag salute cases along left side.
When the Supreme Court ruled to allow American flag burning (National Constitution Center staff, 6-21-18) On June 21, 1989, a deeply divided United States Supreme Court upheld the rights of protesters to burn the American flag in a landmark First Amendment decision. In the controversial Texas v. Johnson case, the Court voted 5-4 in favor of Gregory Lee Johnson, the protester. Johnson’s actions, the majority argued, were symbolic speech political in nature and could be expressed even at the affront of those who disagreed with him. Justice William Brennan wrote the majority decision, with Justices Anthony Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun and Antonin Scalia concurring. “Johnson was convicted for engaging in expressive conduct. The State's interest in preventing breaches of the peace does not support his conviction because Johnson's conduct did not threaten to disturb the peace,” said Brennan. “Nor does the State's interest in preserving the flag as a symbol of nationhood and national unity justify his criminal conviction for engaging in political expression.” “The hard fact is that sometimes we must make decisions we do not like. We make them because they are right, right in the sense that the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result,” Kennedy said.
NY Quaker Senate Candidate Refuses to Recite Pledge of Allegiance (Rod Cackley, PJ Media, 7-18-16)

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Privacy and Invasion of Privacy

The 'right to be left alone'


Privacy Law for Copy Editors (slideplayer of presentation notes, Arati Bechtel). Bechtel explains privacy ("the right to be left alone") and gives examples (citing cases) of four types (or torts) of invasion of privacy: publishing private facts; intrusion; appropriation; and false light. With class exercises.
Consent the best defense against invasion of privacy lawsuits (Pat McNees, Writers and Editors blog). The right of privacy (essentially “the right to be left alone”) is your right to control and protect the public use of your identity. There are four types of invasion of privacy: false light, intrusion, disclosure, and misappropriation (explained here).
A Reporter's Guide to Medical Privacy Law (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, on medical privacy vs. the public interest)
Tape-recording laws at a glance (state by state, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
Reporters Recording Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) provides a state'by-state summary of each state’s laws governing the recording of phone calls and in-person conversations and how those laws affect newsgathering. Because many of these laws have criminal penalties and some also permit civil lawsuits, this guide should not take the place of legal advice from a lawyer. This site contains many helpful articles on privacy and journalism.
A Writer's Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy (Amy Cook, Writer's Digest, 9-15-10)
Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance by Julia Angwin

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Electronic Frontier Foundation articles on privacy issues, including anonymity, biometrics, The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA, the U.S. wiretapping law passed in 1994), cell tracking, cyber security legislation, digital books, Do Not Track, international privacy standards, locational privacy, mandatory data retention, mass surveillance technologies, national security letters, NSA spying, online behavioral tracking, PATRIOT Act, pen trap, printers, radio-frequency identification (RFID), search engines, search incident to arrest, social networks, travel screening.
Restoring the Right to Be Left Alone: Unfinished Business (Michael German, Brennan Center for Justice, cross-posted on HuffPost,1-11-16) In today’s electronically-enhanced world, Congress should not allow inflated fears of terrorism to justify encroachments on Americans’ privacy through weakened privacy protections of digital data.

    "Our nation’s founders under­stood that protec­tion from govern­ment snoop­ing on our person, our papers, our beliefs, and our asso­ci­ations was a corner­stone of liberty. But that bedrock under­stand­ing has been eclipsed. Congress has allowed inflated fears of terror­ism to justify unpre­ced­en­ted encroach­ments on Amer­ic­ans’ privacy, from the 2001 USA Patriot Act right up to the cyber­se­cur­ity legis­la­tion the U.S. House of Repres­ent­at­ives shoe-horned into the must-pass budget bill last month."
     "Repres­ent­at­ive govern­ment requires robust protec­tion of privacy to encour­age citizen parti­cip­a­tion, peti­tion, and censure. Who will dare to criti­cize the govern­ment if fear­ful of retali­at­ory actions based on dossiers assembled from indis­crim­in­ate surveil­lance?...Updat­ing privacy laws to protect our elec­tronic records, and reform­ing the third party doctrine by stat­ute or litig­a­tion to rees­tab­lish Fourth Amend­ment protec­tion over personal inform­a­tion wherever we store it are essen­tial steps toward creat­ing true secur­ity in the digital era."
HART: Homeland Security’s Massive New Database Will Include Face Recognition, DNA, and Peoples’ “Non-Obvious Relationships” (Jennifer Lynch, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 6-7-18) The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data on citizens and foreigners in the United States. The Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people. So why do we know so little about it?
Power And The Internet (Bruce Schneier's essay appeared as a response to Edge's annual question: "What *Should* We Be Worried About?""Debates over the future of the Internet are morally and politically complex. How do we balance personal privacy against what law enforcement needs to prevent copyright violations? Or child pornography? Is it acceptable to be judged by invisible computer algorithms when being served search results? When being served news articles? When being selected for additional scrutiny by airport security? Do we have a right to correct data about us? To delete it? Do we want computer systems that forget things after some number of years? "'

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The Field Guide to Security Training in the Newsroom (in part, at least, a guide to digital security)
Why Surveillance Is the Climate Change of the Internet (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic, 5-9-19) “How does surveillance hurt me? Why should I care? What have I got to hide?” Derek Thompson asks on the third season of The Atlantic’s podcast Crazy/Genius, explaining how privacy became the most important idea on the internet—and why it’s still so confusing.
First Amendment defense claims could threaten ‘revenge pornography’ statutes (Lorelei Laird, ABA Journal, 12-19-19) In around 2013, states began passing laws outlawing revenge porn. In Illinois one party argued that Illinois's revenge porn law was an unconstitutional restriction on her freedom of speech. The trial court agreed. "Laws like the ones being challenged, started springing up in early 2010, when it started becoming common to see intimate images shared without the subject’s consent." Is the issue free speech or privacy? "The Vermont Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that personal privacy is a compelling enough state interest to keep its revenge porn law on the books. The Court of Appeals of Wisconsin also cited personal privacy when upholding its revenge porn law in 2018, although that court was analyzing whether the law was too broad, rather than looking for a compelling state interest." Worth a read. Not a simple issue.
Samsung Phone Users Perturbed to Find They Can't Delete Facebook (Sarah Frier, Bloomberg, 1-8-19) Customers have been annoyed by Samsung's deal to pre-install Facebook on devices, including Galaxy phones, because the app can only be disabled, not deleted. Pre-install deals are common, but privacy concerns are rising.

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Grindr Sets Off Privacy Firestorm After Sharing Users’ H.I.V.-Status Data (Natasha Singer, NY Times, 4-3-18) An increasing number of online users in the United States, along with some members of Congress, are questioning the tech industry’s largely unfettered collection and data-mining of consumers’ personal details. The Grindr controversy also highlights the widening regulatory gap between the United States, which lacks a comprehensive federal consumer privacy law, and Europe, where privacy is viewed as a fundamental human right, with laws to back it up. Misappropriating the right of publicity, on the other hand, is an invasion (without their consent) of a person’s right to benefit from commercial exploitation of their name or likeness.
Online privacy for journalists by Michael Dagan (how to safeguard your communications, browsing, and data, from any unwanted "big brother" or intruder--indirectly how to protect a source. Proceeds go to Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Myths and fallacies of “Personally identifiable information” (Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov, Viewpoints, Communications of the ACM, June 2010). Developing effective privacy protection technologies is a critical challenge for security and privacy research as the amount and variety of data collected about individuals increase exponentially. Any information that distinguishes one person from another can be used for re-identifying data.
Coalition Letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kelly Opposing Collection of Passwords at the Border (Center for Democracy & Technology, CDT, 3-10-17) Lara B. Sharp.
A Tiny Scar, From Falling (Longreads, 5-21-18) Her efforts to gather information about what happened to her in foster care and as a ward of the state turn up nothing but incorrect records. "Why would anyone who was found guilty of abusing a child have the right to privacy related to the crimes? That doesn’t happen with other crimes."

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Gawker’s Demise and the Trump-Era Threat to the First Amendment (Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker, 12-19/26-16) 'Ever since New York Times v. Sullivan, in 1964, established the rule that, in order to prevail, public figures must prove that stories about them are both false and were published with “actual malice,” libel cases have proved extremely difficult for plaintiffs to win. “We always felt that privacy was more of a fruitful ground for plaintiffs to sow, because in those cases they did not have to prove falsity or actual malice, the way they did in libel cases,” George Freeman, the executive director of the Media Law Resource Center, told me. “The whole celebrity culture just gives rise to more of these issues.” The Internet, with its absence of gatekeepers and its unlimited number of voices, has scrambled the traditional understanding of invasion-of-privacy cases. “We are in a different world now, sparked in part by the Hulk Hogan case and by a push-the-envelope media that doesn’t abide by traditional journalistic rules,” Gajda said.'
The Man Who Made Off With John Updike’s Trash (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 8-28-14) Who really owns a great writer’s legacy? The ethics of collecting celebrity trash.
Facebook: Where Your Friends Are Your Worst Enemies (Packet Storm, 6-21-13)
HIPAA, electronic health records, medical privacy laws, and patient rights
A Writer’s Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy (Amy Cook, Writer's Digest, 1-22-16) An excellent overview of what to avoid when writing a novel or memoir, with particularly good attention to invasion of privacy, about which writers may show less concern. This is a pretty long article with lots of ads interspersed, so read past the ads to make sure you're getting it all. Among the takeaways: "Don’t mention private or embarrassing facts about others unless you can honestly say they are of legitimate public concern and essential to telling your story. Ditto with bringing up a long-passed crime."

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Here's what the Feds have on you: Everything (Erik Sherman, MoneyWatch, CBS 6-7-13)
What makes government spies scarier than corporate snooping? (Timothy Noah, NSNBC, 6-11-13)
Herbert Mitgang's obituary (Douglas Martin, NY Times, 11-21-13) focuses on his expose of government spying. His "1988 book, Dangerous Dossiers: Exposing the Secret War Against America’s Greatest Authors, reported that the agencies were suspicious not just of radical views but also of liberal ones. Mr. Mitgang said the Nobel Prize winners Sinclair Lewis and William Faulkner were monitored in part because they favored racial equality." Ernest Hemingway's file "criticized his muscular writing style and, probably most damning, said that he had once likened the F.B.I. to the Gestapo." So much for freedom of the press.
A.C.L.U. Files Lawsuit Seeking to Stop the Collection of Domestic Phone Logs (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 6-11-13) Congress never openly voted to authorize the collection of logs of hundreds of millions of domestic calls, but some lawmakers were secretly briefed. Some members of Congress have backed the program as a useful counterterrorism tool; others have denounced it.
Should Google serve the state – or serve its customers? (John Naughton, The Guardian, 6-8-13) The web giant is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to privacy for users. Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, lectured about ideas at Cambridge. "The rock is that the national security state...The hard place is corporate terror that their users will become alienated by the realisation that personal communications cannot be safely entrusted to internet companies based in the US." "In the US, he argued, people worried more about the power of the state rather than that of corporations, whereas in Europe people seemed to trust the state but mistrust companies."

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The Problem With Europe’s Strict Privacy Laws (Christopher Wolf, Slate 3-14-12). An elderly German named Heinrich Boere recently invoked an EU privacy law to file a complaint against two Dutch reporters for secretly videotaping an interview with him at his nursing home. "The criminal invasion-of-privacy case against the reporters put into sharp focus the automatic and inflexible application of privacy law in circumstances where flexibility and discretion appear to be called for." Read this important article!
Should Personal Data Be Personal? Europe Moves to Protect Online Privacy (Somini Sengupta, NY Times Sunday Review 2-4-12)
SPLC Legal Brief: Invasion of Privacy Law (Student Press Law Center, SPLC, a helpful outline of key issues)
Naming Names: Identifying Minors (SPLC, aimed at student newspapers)
Facebook Is Using You (Lori Andrews, NY Times, 2-5-12). "We need a do-not-track law, similar to the do-not-call one. Now it’s not just about whether my dinner will be interrupted by a telemarketer. It’s about whether my dreams will be dashed by the collection of bits and bytes over which I have no control and for which companies are currently unaccountable." Andrews is author of I Know Who You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy

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Sexual harassment and other bad workplace behavior

 (see also Bullying, cyberbullying, and online harassment)


‘The Tip of the Iceberg’ (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 2-9-22) Harvard faces a lawsuit by three graduate students who say for years it ignored their warnings and complaints about a prominent anthropologist's sexual misconduct before making minimal findings against him. “The findings that Harvard did make in this case are the tip of the iceberg. Our complaint sets out a long history of Harvard’s failure to protect students, and we look forward to showing that pattern in court.”
• And now we can read the book: She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. From the two Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, the untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement. They name some of the people who turned against the influential producer, as well as some who helped cover up his alleged predation. As discussed in  'New York Times' Reporters Explain How They United Women, Helping Trigger #MeToo (Mary Louise Kelly, NPR, 9-9-19) '[E]ventually, the pair found the words that could break the ice. "We can't change what's happened to you," Twohey said she would say when she knocked on alleged victims' doors, "but if you work with us and we work to tell the truth, we may be able to prevent other people from getting hurt."
Hollywood’s Sexual Harassment Scandal Might End ‘Pay or Play’ Clauses (Robert Garson, Observer, 11-22-17) Contracts need to include clauses about Weinsteinian, Spaceyan, and C.K.ian conduct.
What is Workplace Sexual Harassment? (Equal Rights Advocates) The law defines sexual harassment as, unwelcome verbal, visual, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on someone’s sex that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile work environment.
Sexual Harassment Resource Guide (Writers Guild of America East)
Statement of Principles on Sexual Harassment (Writers Guild of America West) See the Guild's FAQ as well as Nearly Two-Thirds of Female Writers Have Been Sexually Harassed, WGAW Survey Finds (Ross A. Lincoln, The Wrap, 7-25-18) By contrast, only 11 percent of male writers reported being harassed.

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The Best of the Reckoning (Slate, 12-21-17) Links to the most searing, honest, forceful, precise, paradigm-shifting writing on sexual harassment at the end of 2017, when enough women complained about Harvey Weinstein's behavior to start the #MeToo movement.
How Associations Can Help End Sexual Harassment (Allison Torres Burtka, Associations Now, ASAE, March/April 2018)
National Academy of Sciences approves a new way to expel harassers (Megan Thielking, STAT, 6-3-19)
Sexual harassment is rampant in science — and current policies aren’t cutting it, landmark report finds (Megan Thielking, STAT, 6-12-18)
‘It’s time for systemic change’: Scientific leaders urge new efforts to curb sexual harassment in the field (Megan Thielking, STAT, 9-20-18) See AAAS Revocation Policy (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
Why We’re Writing a Book About Justice Brett Kavanaugh (Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly, NY Times, 11-27-18) A weeklong F.B.I. investigation into the assault allegations, called unexpectedly by a Republican senator who had been confronted by a sexual-assault survivor in an elevator, was regarded by many as too short and too limited in scope to quell doubts about the judge’s character as a young man.
Bad Humor (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Education, 5-7-18) When one scholar's “lame” joke in a crowded elevator was another’s offensive comment, a disciplinary society was asked to adjudicate. Now, a political scientist won't apologize. See also Is 'Ladies Lingerie' a Harmless Joke or Harassment? (Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 5-9-18) A dispute among international-relations scholars puts the spotlight on a system that serves everyone poorly.
Killing the Conference Interview (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Education, 9-9-19) "Other professional organizations are [also] rethinking the way they approach hiring at their annual meetings. The American Economic Association, for example, recently came out against single hotel-room interviews, citing association policies against sexual misconduct and the potential for abuse (never mind the set-up's general awkwardness)."

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Dealing with bullying, cyberbullying, and online harassment


A Teenager Was Bullied. His Ancestors Saved Him. (John Leland, NY Times, 2-26-21) Dennis Richmond Jr. was a middle-schooler who took refuge in his family history, some of it very surprising. After watching "Roots," he delved into his genealogy and found meaning and identity there.
Biden’s top science adviser bullied and demeaned subordinates, according to White House investigation (Alex Thompson, Politico, 2-7-22) Fourteen current and former Office of Science and Technology Policy staffers who worked under Eric Lander described a toxic work environment. Rachel Wallace told POLITICO that Lander “retaliated against staff for speaking out and asking questions by calling them names, disparaging them, embarrassing them in front of their peers, laughing at them, shunning them, taking away their duties, and replacing them or driving them out of the agency. Numerous women have been left in tears, traumatized, and feeling vulnerable and isolated.”
Online Harassment Field Manual (PEN America) Tactics and Resources for writers, journalists, their allies and employers. Click on the topics and find individual chapters, such as Making sense of online harassment "Why some people are driven to commit acts of online hate and harassment is a complex question with a multitude of possible answers, many of them dissatisfying." (Ingrained bias? Disinhibition? Seeking community? Self-esteem issues/self-loathing? "Lulz" (explained)? Seeking attention?
Reporting online harassment to platforms often feels futile or labor-intensive, but it can also yield helpful results. (chapter from Online Harassment Field Manual)
A new manual for writers and journalists experiencing harassment online (Laura Macomber, Columbia Journalism Review, 4-20-18) "Men get attacked for their opinions, and women get attacked because they have opinions." More than a review of the PEN manual.

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Best Practices for Allies and Witnesses (PEN field manual)
Reporting online harassment to platforms often feels futile or labor-intensive, but it can also yield helpful results. (chapter from Online Harassment Field Manual)<
Prominently posted rules boost participation, cut harassment online (Princeton University, Phys.org, 4-29-19) Rules change behavior by influencing social norms- people's beliefs about acceptable conduct in online discussions.
The Psychology of Hate (Allison Abrams, Psychology Today, 3-9-17)
Frequently asked questions about hate groups (Southern Poverty Law Center). Fascinating, though appalling, reading. See also the SPLC's Hate Map, its Hatewatch blog (which monitors and exposes the activities of the American radical right), and its list of active hate groups in the U.S.. br />• Women in public-facing journalism jobs are exhausted by harassment (Rachel Schallom, Poynter, 6-28-18)
Online Harassment 2017 (Maeve Duggan, Pew Research Center, 7-11-17) Roughly four-in-ten Americans have personally experienced online harassment, and 62% consider it a major problem. Many want technology firms to do more, but they are divided on how to balance free speech and safety issues online
Tribeca doc 'Netizens' highlights the online harassment of women (Maria Garcia, Film Journal International, 4-25-18) Cynthia Lowen’s Netizens is about three women whose lives have been profoundly affected by cyber sexual harassment.
Online Harassment Survey: Key Findings (PEN America)
Why Women Aren't Welcome on the Internet (Amanda Hess, Pacific Standard, 1-6-14) "Ignore the barrage of violent threats and harassing messages that confront you online every day." That's what women are told. But these relentless messages are an assault on women's careers, their psychological bandwidth, and their freedom to live online. We have been thinking about Internet harassment all wrong.
What the Law Can (and Can't) Do About Online Harassment (Marlisse Silver, Sweeney, Atlantic, 11-12-14)
Alia Joyt, 10 Forms of Online Harassment (How Stuff Works)
5 Strategies for Dealing with Cyberbullying (Jessika Toothman, How Stuff Works)
The Death of Civility in the Digital Age (Mark Oppenheimer, New Republic, 3-6-18) I wrote a foolish take on Harvey Weinstein's Judaism, and was mobbed for days on social media. Then I rediscovered the joys of life offline, where humans treat each other with decency.
SOME ANALYSIS AND POSITIVE EXAMPLES, suggested by PEN America:
Analysis: Why nice people become mean online (Gaia Vince, Mosaic, CNN, 4-3-18)
Toxic Twitter: A Toxic Place for Women (Amnesty International, Chapter 1, Online Violence Against Women). As a company, Twitter is failing to respect women's rights online.
A sexist troll attacked Sarah Silverman. She responded by helping him with his problems. (Allison Klein, Inspired Life blog, WaPo, 1-8-18)

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The Price I’ve Paid for Opposing Donald Trump (David French, National Review, 10-21-16) Trump’s alt-right trolls have subjected me and my family to an unending torrent of abuse that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Professors Are Targets In Online Culture Wars; Some Fight Back (Anya Kamenetz, All Things Considered, NPR, 4-4-18)
Dealing with cyberbullying – What would a feminist do? (Podcast, host Jessica Valenti, The Guardian, 5-28-16) What is it about the internet that makes people feel they have the freedom to say criminal, abusive things? Jessica Valenti – The Guardian’s most frequently targeted writer – talks about online harassment and what people can do about it.
Why Your Brain Hates Other People And how to make it think differently. (Robert Sapolsky, Nautilus, 6-22-17) Dividing the world into Us and Them is deeply hard-wired.
The Outrage Machine (video, The Retro Report, NY Times) How do we keep free speech on the internet without letting a mob take over. Jerry Springer, Oprah, Ricky Lake, Fox News, the aunt from hell, and other reminders of where we are.

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How to Cover Your Digital Trail


Your Digital Trail, And How It Can Be Used Against You (Daniel Zwerdling, All Tech Considered, NPR, 9-30-13) NPR and the Center for Investigative Reporting are documenting just how vivid the typical person's digital picture has become — and how easy it can be to access it. Co-reported by G.W. Schulz from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Your Digital Trail: Private Company Access (Zwerdling, NPR, 10-1-13) Data we voluntarily provide online — such as on dating websites — may not stay with that site. While not always obvious, websites commonly allow other companies to track user behavior.
Encrypting Your Laptop Like You Mean It (Micah Lee, The Intercept, 4-27-15)
Your Digital Trail: Does The Fourth Amendment Protect Us? (Daniel Zwerdling, All Tech Considered, NPR, 10-2-13) Could government agents really get access to all your private data in less than a minute? Experts say no but warn we are moving in that direction.
Your Digital Trail: Data Fuels Political And Legal Agendas (Zwerdling, NPR, 10-3-13) Private attorneys are easily getting access to defendants' emails and texts. All it takes is a subpoena, which any attorney can do. Former Nixon administration attorney John Dean and a North Carolina divorce lawyer warn that if you think you have nothing to hide, think again.
Data Marketers Know What You Bought Last Summer (Elise Hu, New York Public Radio, 9-4-13) Marketing technology company Acxiom is letting you see the data marketers have and use to advertise to you. Check out what they know about you, your household, your education or income or purchase preferences.

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Endangered: Academic freedom, campus free speech, teacher tenure, student rights.
Trending: Educational gag orders


Florida All in for Assault on Academic Freedom (Keith E. Wittington, Reason/The Volokh Conspiracy, 9-26-22) To defend the Stop WOKE Act, Florida asks court to eliminate any academic freedom exception to government employee speech doctrine. "This past summer Florida adopted House Bill 7, better known as the Stop WOKE Act. The legislation blocks academic instruction and workplace training that "espouses, promotes, advances, inculcates, or compels" belief in a variety of race-related ideas. It is one of a number of so-called anti-"Critical Race Theory" bills that have been advanced by Republican policymakers in the states since 2020. Some have taken aim at workplace training. Others have focused on primary and secondary education. An emerging set of proposals are targeted at higher education. The Florida bill has elements of all three." Several lawsuits have already been filed against the enforcement of Stop WOKE Act
Free Speech Under Attack (Part II): Curriculum Sabotage and Classroom Censorship On Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, holds a hearing to examine the ongoing efforts to prohibit discussion in K-12 classrooms about American history, race, and LGBTQ+ issues, and to punish teachers who violate vague and discriminatory state laws by discussing these topics.
    "Over the past year, 17 states have passed legislation or enacted executive orders prohibiting the teaching of certain topics related to race, and many states are following Florida’s lead in introducing and passing so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, which seeks to prohibit classroom discussion of gender and sexuality in many contexts. Proponents of these laws claim they are meant to promote parental rights and transparency, but they are being used to attack teachers, undermine public education, and impose the will of a minority of parents on the majority.
     "Much of the legislation that has been enacted or proposed recently around the country is vaguely written to ban a large swath of literature, curriculum, historical topics, and other media in classrooms. These laws are designed to have a chilling effect on how schools educate children and have resulted in the targeting of teachers.
    "The movement to censor classroom discussion is growing more extreme with proposed legislation that resembles policies implemented in authoritarian regimes. The hearing will examine the impact these laws have on teachers and students and the threat they pose to free speech."

America's Censored Classrooms (August 022) PEN America's new report analyzes educational gag orders in the 2022 state legislative sessions and how things escalated (250% greater than in 2021). Bills introduced in 2022 were more likely to implicate higher education (39% in 2022 vs. 30% in 2021); to include punishments (55% in 2022 vs. 44% in 2021); to target LGBTQ+ identities (though ideas about race were still the primary target); and to target private schools. In 2022, things got worse for free expression in the classroom.

Campus Free Speech Guide (PEN America)
Tenured Oklahoma Christian University professor is fired from his job of 41 years after he invited a gay man to speak at a presentation about overcoming struggles (Harriet Alexander, Daily Mail and widely reprinted, 3-15-22) Michael O'Keefe, who taught at Oklahoma Christian University for 41 years, was fired for bringing a gay speaker to his class. The guest speaker spoke only 'about his personal journey, not to promote any type of lifestyle' and gave a trigger warning, that explicit language would be used that was important to the context of the story.
An assistant principal read the children’s book ‘I Need a New Butt!’ to second-graders. He was fired. (Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 3-11-22)
Steep Rise in Gag Orders, Many Sloppily Drafted (Jeffrey Sachs, PEN America, 1-24-22) This post is part of a blog series from PEN America tracking the progress of educational gag orders and censorious legislative efforts against educational institutions nationwide. These bills are tracked in PEN's Index of Educational Gag Orders, updated monthly.
Educational Gag Orders: Legislative Restrictions on the Freedom to Read, Learn, and Teach. (report from PEN America) PEN analyzes 54 state-level bills introduced Jan-to-Sept 2021, which each aim to limit teaching and learning on topics related to racism, sexism, gender, and history in schools, colleges, and state agencies and institutions, and sound the alarm as a widespread attack on free speech and academic freedom." Listen to Virtual Round Table (Friday, November 19, 2021 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) and read press release (11-8-21)."PEN America reaches four overarching conclusions about these bills:
---They represent an effort to impose content- and viewpoint-based censorship.
---They have already had and will continue to have a chilling effect on the speech of educators and trainers.
---They are based on a misrepresentation of how intellectual frameworks are taught, and threaten to constrain educators’ ability to teach a wide range of subjects.
---They are often misleadingly framed as protecting free speech and academic inquiry, when their purpose and effect is to do the opposite."

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AAUP President Warns of Investigation if Tenure Is Gutted in the University System of Georgia (American Association of University Professors, 10-13-21) "The principal purpose of tenure is to safeguard academic freedom, which is indispensable for the quality of teaching and research in higher education." The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is considering proposed changes to the system’s post-tenure review policy that would severely compromise tenure and academic freedom at the twenty-five tenure-granting colleges and universities in the system. "At reputable institutions of higher education, academic freedom is protected because tenured professors can be dismissed only for reasons related to professional fitness and only after a hearing before a faculty body at which the administration must make its case that the faculty member's conduct or performance warrants dismissal."
Classrooms Gone Wild: The push to control what your kids read and write is intensifying nationwide (Sharyn Vane, Book & Film Globe, 9-20-21) Book bans, particularly on books that center racism, history, or diversity, have emerged as the latest battlefront in an ongoing nationwide debate about who is allowed to be heard in our classrooms. This week, a school district in York, Pennsylvania rolled back a book ban that had focused almost entirely on titles by or about people of color, including Jacqueline Woodson, Ijeoma Oluo, and Ibram X. Kendi.
21 Excellent Stories of Student Journalism Against the Odds (Allison Schatz and Sian Shin, editors, Student Press Law Center, 1-29-21) In 2020, high school and college journalists dealt with the consequences of a life-changing pandemic, the sudden shift to remote learning, an outpouring of protests against racism, a contentious election and more. They had to report profoundly important stories while confronting unprecedented health and safety concerns which changed the way in which journalism was produced, and against the backdrop of unprecedented public hostility against the media. Despite these challenges, student journalists produced incredible journalism.
Education Dept. issues new Title IX regs with crucial campus due process protections, adopts Supreme Court sexual harassment definition The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
Largest ever free speech survey of college students ranks top campuses for expression (also FIRE, 9-29-2020) University of Chicago #1 for free speech, DePauw worst, Ivy League underperforms."The Ivy League offers students sterling credentials, but is miserly when it comes to offering them free speech — try the University of Chicago instead. That’s just one of the findings from the first-ever rankings of the free speech climates at 55 of America’s largest and most prestigious campuses, based on the largest free speech survey of college students ever performed."

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FIRE statement on campus censorship during nationwide protests. George Floyd’s death and the subsequent reaction has provoked a wide variety of responses in college communities, including some that many find deeply offensive or that involve the use of racial slurs. FIRE will continue to defend speakers’ right to exercise their expressive rights regardless of viewpoint. Universities committed to free expression must do so as well.
As critics call for deplatforming, defunding, and prosecution over Leila Khaled discussion, San Francisco State University president gets it right (Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE, 9-26-2020) "In 1969, Leila Khaled hijacked her first airliner, commandeering TWA flight 870 and becoming the first woman to hijack an airplane. The hijacking was undertaken in support of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine....Our society extends freedom of expression to angels and sinners alike, and history’s participants are not always lawful or unambiguously moral." Despite heavy pressure from some Jewish groups, the university refused to cancel the event. See SFSU’s president, Lynn Mahoney (in Jewish News of Northern California) on why she refused to cancel the event. "I condemn hate but cherish a diversity of opinions."
In Defense of Knowledge and Higher Education (Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, American Association of University Professors) In this statement, the AAUP calls attention to the threats posed by attacks on expert knowledge. How can a government develop effective policy when it rejects informed, dispassionate studies of climate change, suppresses its own data collection on white supremacist domestic terrorism, or imposes gag orders on doctors under regulations prohibiting discussion of abortion or contraception, merely because they contradict ideological belief? “We cannot eat ideological belief; wishful thinking will not keep us safe,” the statement asserts.

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Professor exonerated for quoting iconic black writer at The New School (FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 8-16-19) The New School has cleared a professor of charges of racial discrimination for quoting literary icon James Baldwin during a classroom discussion. Sheck assigned “The Creative Process,” a 1962 essay in which Baldwin argues that Americans have “modified or suppressed and lied about all the darker forces in our history” and must commit to “a long look backward whence we came and an unflinching assessment of the record.” In her graduate seminar, classroom discussion involved the Baldwin statement, “I am not your nigger,” which was made during an appearance as a guest on The Dick Cavett Show. Sheck noted how the title of an Oscar-nominated 2016 documentary based on Baldwin’s writings, “I Am Not Your Negro,” intentionally altered Baldwin’s words. She asked her students what this change may reveal about Americans’ ability to reckon with what Baldwin identified as “the darker forces of history.” Students complained. The university reversed course late Wednesday after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education intervened on behalf of professor Laurie Sheck’s academic freedom rights. The New School’s own policies make clear it will not punish speech protected by the First Amendment and basic tenets of academic freedom.
Statement on Trump’s Campus Speech Executive Order (National Coalition Against Censorship, 3-21-19) "The order does not specify how government agencies will measure an institution’s compliance, nor how political bias will be eliminated from those measurements. As a result, the opportunity for politically-motivated decisions about what speech should or should not be permitted on university campuses is far too great. Government control of campus speech under the guise of protecting free speech is more likely to chill academic freedom than to encourage greater diversity of thought. Colleges and universities will continue to be bound by the First Amendment and their own commitments to academic freedom and freedom of inquiry." See also Proposed Executive Order Threatens Academic Freedom (NCAC, 3-4-19)
Here’s What Trump’s Executive Order on Free Speech Says (Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-21-19) "President Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday that he has said will mandate that colleges uphold free speech or risk jeopardizing federal research funds....The order will direct federal agencies to “take appropriate steps” to ensure that colleges receiving federal research funds “promote free inquiry.” But public colleges are already legally bound to do so by the First Amendment....The order also will direct the Education Department to do two things: Add program-level outcomes data to the College Scorecard and produce a report examining “policy options” for the idea of risk sharing on student-loan debt." (Executive order included.)

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Defining Academic Freedom (Cary Nelson, Inside Higher Ed, 12-21-10) Sometimes academic freedom is invoked in situations where it doesn't actually apply. But many within and without higher education are not well-versed in all the protections it does provide. This statement is designed to help clarify both what academic freedom does and doesn't do. For example, academic freedom means that both faculty members and students can engage in intellectual debate without fear of censorship or retaliation. (Excellent explanation follows.)
Academic Freedom Primer (pdf, Ann Franke, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges)
Learn more about student rights (FIRE) Topics: Unprotected Speech Cheat Sheet. Due Process on Campus. Freedom of Conscience and Thought Reform on Campus. Religious Liberty on Campus. Free Speech in High School. Free Speech at Private Universities. First Amendment Library. First Amendment Library Free Speech Glossary. Disinvitation Database. FIRE’s Guides to Student Rights on Campus. So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast.
Academic freedom (Wikipedia's entry is a good overview, plus there are links)
Resources on Academic Freedom (American Association of University Professors, AAUP)

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China’s bid to block my journal’s articles is a new attack on academic freedom (Tim Pringle, The Guardian, 8-21-17) Cambridge University Press was asked to suppress articles in China Quarterly. It has now resisted, but it is a worrying development
IPA urges China to 'respect the decision' of Cambridge University Press to restore articles (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 8-22-17) The International Publishers Association has urged the Chinese government not to take punitive action against Cambridge University Press following the publisher’s decision to restore online access to hundreds of academic articles it had been asked to remove by Chinese authorities.
Boston College ordered by US court to hand over IRA tapes (Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent, The Guardian, 4-25-16). Police in Northern Ireland have long sought to obtain taped interviews of former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre made for academic archive. Academic community fears chilling effect of honoring subpoenas for sealed oral history transcripts. Moloney and McArthur warned that academic freedom was “under siege” due to the pressure on Boston College and challenged the university to resist the subpoena.From a Boston Globe editorial 8-1-11: "BOSTON COLLEGE is justifiably proud of its relationship with Ireland and its role in helping to shepherd the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Those close ties are one reason the college has been waging a court battle against a US government subpoena, requested by British authorities, which seeks testimony from a sealed oral history project about the war in Northern Ireland. Boston College’s concerns are valid, but the interests of justice and diplomacy outweigh any claim for special protection. The promise that was made to participants in the oral history project -- that their testimony wouldn’t be released until they died -- must be rescinded in light of a murder investigation."

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College Fights Subpoena of Interviews Tied to I.R.A. (Katie Zezima, NY Times, 6-9-11). "Boston College filed a motion this week to quash a federal subpoena seeking access to confidential interviews of paramilitary fighters for the Provisional Irish Republican Army."
US college requests quashing of oral history subpoenas (Kevin Cullen, Irish Times 6-11-11). "In a case being watched closely by academics around the world, Boston College has asked a judge to quash subpoenas demanding it turn over to British authorities records from an oral history project involving republican and loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland. In papers filed in court in Boston, the college said releasing audio tapes and other materials connected to the confidential interviews could jeopardise the safety of former paramilitaries who were interviewed, the two former paramilitaries who conducted the interviews, and college staff involved in an oral history known as the 'Belfast Project'.”
The Unwritten Code of Conduct (The Research Whisperer, 12-15-15) "Each day this week, my supervisor has walked into my office and made verbal demands that I remove content from my beloved blog. Each day, the boundaries of appropriate social media usage shift a little, and my requests for some clear written guidance are rebuffed. I’m a postdoc at a research-intensive organisation....If universities are intent on monitoring, moderating and censoring the social media presence of academic staff, then it’s only fair to actually write these unwritten rules and work together towards some transparent and fair guidelines."

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Unacademic Freedom? (Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 3-1-16) Academic freedom is supposed to protect unpopular views. A case involving an Oberlin professor who claimed that ISIS is really the CIA and Mossad asks whether that freedom extends to falsehoods.
Kitzmiller v. Dover: Intelligent Design on Trial (National Center for Science Education: Defending the teaching of evolution & climate science). As the first trial over "intelligent design," the case received national media attention and has since been the subject of several books
More criticism of 'Academic Bill of Rights' (Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 1-9-06) "Ellen Schrecker, a professor of history at Yeshiva University, called the Academic Bill of Rights a "cleverly written document" that was designed to pressure faculty members to hire more conservatives and to avoid topics and views that offend conservatives. "We should not seek to protect students from hearing uncomfortable views," she said."
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) (mission: to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities, including rights to freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience)

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Best practices for government communications directors


This section was assembled before Trump was elected. My guess is the rules will change.

NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco explicitly tells NOAA scientists that they are free to speak to the public, including the media, without permission from anyone at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (that is, without being "handled" and censored).
Federal Agency Encourages Its Scientists to Speak Out (Mark Fischetti, Scientific American blog, 12-8-11, on NOAA's policy of promoting open science)
NOAA's Scientific Integrity Commons and FAQs
Can agencies stop employees from talking to media? Brechner Center says no (Madeline Laguaite, Covering Health, AHCJ, 11-19-19) "Public employees have the right to speak to the press without going through the boss, but workplace gag orders continue to violate their freedom of speech, says a report from The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information, a nonprofit educational center....Federal, state or local agencies often impose policies that restrict an employee’s ability to speak with reporters. In a report released in October that examines employees’ First Amendment rights, the center urges news organizations to challenge those rules. “It’s not legal for a public agency to tell its employees they are forbidden from speaking to the media,” said Frank LoMonte, Brechner Center director and a journalism professor at the University of Florida. “And if you encounter a policy like that, you should know that the agency is breaking the law.”
Climate.gov (NOAA science information for a climate-smart nation)
NOAA state of the science fact sheet on Air Quality

Example:
Public Communications and the Media
May I take phone calls from media and give interviews?
Yes. There are no exceptions here. However, you are not required to give media interviews. You can always refer media to your public affairs officer. Similarly, you should always feel free to consult with your public affairs officer prior to an interview and/or include them in the interview.

What should I do if I am asked to give an interview?
You are not required to do anything. However, good practice suggests you should notify your public affairs officer and/or the head of your operating unit prior to or just after you give an interview. Why? Common courtesy. You wouldn't want somebody surprising you with detailed questions about your work, and your managers are no different. Nobody enjoys being made to look foolish or uninformed in public. If you don't tell your managers you said something, it is possible they could be called out and made to look bad. Situational awareness is not a requirement, but it can be a good thing. Use your best judgment.
[Thanks to Andrew Holtz for drawing journalists' attention to this. HHS should be following a similar policy.]
See PROBLEMS FOR JOURNALISTS COVERING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS AGENCIES

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Bias in journalism vs. political correctness. Juan Williams Fired For Admitting He Is Afraid of Flying Muslims (Riley Waggaman, Wonkette, 10-21-10) and In wake of NPR controversy, Fox News gives Juan Williams an expanded role (Matea Gold, in Los Angeles Times, 10-21-10)

Blogging, digital journalism, and the law


Digital Journalist's Legal Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press). for anyone disseminating news online, from an independent blogger to a reporter for a major media outlet, as well as media lawyers. Topic areas (from from RCFP press release) include:
* Gathering News and Information (e.g., rules for open records and meetings, access to courts, and newsgathering right of access to events/places)
* Protecting and Defending Your Work (e.g., what to do to protect sources and fight subpoenas, steps to take if there’s a threat or actual lawsuit libel, and how to handle invasion of privacy concerns)
* Knowing Legal Restrictions (e.g., understanding basic Internet regulation and how to protect a domain name, and copyright and trademark law covering both original work and “fair use” of other materials).
A Citizen's Guide to Reporting on #OccupyWallStreet (Citizen Media Law Project)
Digital Media Law Project's blog posts on legal issues relevant to bloggers. If I were a blogger wondering about legal issues, I'd start by going through this site's many blog posts.
Making Google the Censor (Daphne Keller, NY Times, 6-12-17) Can sites like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia be asked to build tools to identify and remove extremist content? and so on.
Can I use that? A legal primer for journalists (Jonathan Peters, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-1-15)
Blogger's Guide to Copyright and DMCA (Natalie Mootz, Blogging.com)
A Legal Guide for Bloggers: Copyright, the DMCA, and Fair Use Images (Ben Mulholland, process.st, 10-9-17)
U.S. court rules Oregon blogger not a journalist (Summer Harlow, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas 12-7-11).
Judge: Blogger not a reporter, must turn over information (Steve Schmadeke, Chicago Tribune 1-13-02)
No, the Sky Is Not Falling: Explaining that Decision in Oregon Eric P. Robinson (Citizen Media Law Project 12-12-11).
Blogger jailed in Anna Nicole Smith defamation suit (Kate Murphy, AFP--noting that in court a blogger is a publisher, not a writer)
Blogging Between the Lines (Dana Hull, American Journalism Review, December 2006). "The mainstream media have fallen in love with blogs, launching them on everything from politics to life in Las Vegas to bowling. But does the inherent tension between the blogosphere’s anything-goes ethos and the standards of traditional journalism mean this relationship is doomed?"

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Free speech, freedom of expression, and censorship

Including censorship in the name of political correctness
and FOSTA/SESTA

"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."--First Amendment, one of ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution that constitute the Bill of Rights

‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’
~Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


Why civility should not trump free expression: Part 10 of 14 answers to bad arguments against free speech (Greg Lukianoff and Nadine Strossen, FIRE, 1-27-22) Nadine Strossen provides responses to some important misconceptions about freedom of speech. This is a follow-up to Answers to 12 Bad Anti-Free Speech Arguments: Featuring That XKCD Cartoon Everyone Likes to Quote! (Areo, 5-25-21)
Pentagon Outlines What Qualifies as Extremism After Service Members Charged in Jan. 6 Riot ( Zoe Strozewski, Newsweek, 12-20-21) In the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the military is considering new guidelines on extremism in the military. "Some of the activities banned in the [new Pentagon] rules include advocating terrorism, backing an overthrow of the government, fundraising or rallying for an extremist group and even "liking" or reposting extremist views on social media platforms."
Judges Are Playing ‘Calvinball’ With the Constitution Because They’re Mad Trump Was Banned From Twitter (Mike Masnick,Daily Beast, 9-24-22) A Federalist Society judge in the 5th Circuit deciding that private companies have no editorial discretion and that the state can compel them to host content they wish not to associate with is Calvinball. The ruling reads like an uninformed social media thread that actual lawyers would mock. The cynical will point to things like the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs (which overturned Roe v. Wade) and note that we’ve entered an era of Calvinball jurisprudence—in which precedents are no longer an impediment to whatever endgame Federalist Society judges want. (The beloved comic strip Calvin and Hobbes introduced us to the concept of “Calvinball”—a sport in which the participants make up the rules as they go, never using the same rules twice.) It's worth reading whole column.
10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2020 from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and here are The 10 Worst in previous years. Harvard made the list for the fifth year.
Free Speech Lessons for Freshman Orientation & First-Year Experience Programming FIRE, in partnership with New York University’s First Amendment Watch, has developed a series of free-to-use modules, videos, and other resources for universities to use when teaching incoming students about their free speech rights and the principles behind the First Amendment.
Holocaust book Maus hits bestseller list after Tennessee school board ban (Maya Yang, The Guardian, 1-31-22) Author Art Spiegelman says decision to ban Pulitzer-winning novel that depicts Jewish people as mice is ‘demented’ Art Spiegelman sees the new ban of his book ‘Maus’ as a ‘red alert’ (Michael Cavna, WaPo, 1-28-22)
Far-Right Group Wants to Ban Kids From Reading Books on Male Seahorses, Galileo, and MLK (Kelly Weill, Long Read, Daily Beast, 9-24-21) Moms for Liberty is raising hell in a Tennessee school district over books that teach about race in American history—and also books that teach about wild animals and science. School books about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges (the first Black child to integrate an all-white public elementary school), protests during the Civil Rights Movement, Native Americans, and school segregation are too “divisive.”

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Campus Free Speech Guide (PEN America)

Laugh at the outrage over ‘sexy seahorses’ – but there’s nothing funny about conservatives trying to rewrite history (Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian, 9-25-21) The rightwing playbook: outrage, leading to the passage of deliberately vague laws and advocacy groups diligently weaponizing those laws. The Moms for Liberty have been methodical: they’ve sent the Tennessee department of education a detailed spreadsheet outlining their complaints about the books being foisted on their children. A book about Galileo is “anti-church.” Over the past year, US conservatives have become obsessed with “critical race theory” (CRT). "None of the people raving about CRT are actually able to explain what the academic concept means; to them it just means anything that is less than complimentary about white people."
How censorship became the new crisis for social networks (Casey Newton, Platformer, 6-2-21) "It's not just conservatives complaining any more. The crackdowns are real, and getting worse....What’s clear is that in a world where authoritarianism is on the rise, people around the world continue to view social networks as critical venues for protest and debate. One of the biggest questions of the next-half decade will be in how many places Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others can live up to that ideal."
FOSTA/SESTA. A new law intended to curb sex trafficking threatens the future of the internet as we know it (Aja Romano, Vox, 7-2-18) Trump signed into law a set of controversial bills intended to make it easier to cut down on illegal sex trafficking online. Both bills — the House bill known as FOSTA, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, and the Senate bill, SESTA, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — have been hailed by advocates as a victory for sex trafficking victims, but the law doesn’t appear to do anything concrete to target illegal sex trafficking directly, and instead threatens to “increase violence against the most marginalized.” And makes it a lot easier to censor free speech on small websites — as evidenced by the immediate ramifications the law has had across the internet, affecting such sites as Reddit, Craigslist, and Google.
SESTA Bill Will Not Prevent Sex Trafficking But Will Silence Online Speech "While the sponsors of these bills contend that they are aimed at stopping sex trafficking, neither bill actually helps sex trafficking victims confront their abusers and instead both focus on curtailing online speech. Even sex workers oppose the bills, which are likely to make consensual sex work more dangerous. The National Coalition Against Censorship joins with our allies in the free speech community to oppose this bill." See From Section 230 to The EARN IT Act and still controversial (blog post with links to more on this issue)
A First Amendment Agenda for the New Administration (Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, 12-9-2020) How the Biden administration can reaffirm the freedoms of speech, association, and petition in its first 100 days.
Free Speech Out Loud (FIRE's First Amendment Library) Audio recordings of famous First Amendment court opinions and other primary source documents that serve as the backbone of the free speech rights we enjoy today.
Dan O'Brien on Writing, Trauma, and Optimism; Plus, Tough Questions with Suzanne Nossel (The PEN Pod, PEN America) Updates and conversations about literature and free expression, and an outlet for literary celebration as in-person events remain few and far between.
Lifetime Censorship Award to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, 2020) "For its unashamed, years-long record of censoring its critics and utter disinterest in protecting students’ rights.
What some reporters get wrong about the First Amendment (Jonathan Peters, Columbia Journalism Review, 2-5-18) One of them: "There are very few constitutional protections for newsgathering, and virtually none that apply just to journalists."
The Skokie Case: How I Came to Represent the Free Speech Rights of Nazis (David Goldberger, ACLU, 3-2-2020)
ACLU100 History Series This essay collection explores many critical moments in the organization’s history. Together, it tells not only the ACLU’s story, but America’s as well.

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First Amendment Rights: A Conversation with Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (video, University of Rhode Island lecture, 6-16-2020)
The CDC's Employee Speech Policies (2020) Documents released in our FOIA lawsuit for the CDC's policies on employee speech. Our FOIA lawsuit was prompted by widespread reporting that the CDC has been sidelined in the government’s public response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the Office of the Vice President has been controlling CDC communications and limiting the ability of CDC scientists to speak to the public or to the press. There is a statement from May 22 that all inquiries and press materials must go through his office. That would mean ALL requests and statements for an 80,000 person department (including FDA, CDC, CMS, etc) going through a 100 person office.
If the University of Kentucky destroys Memorial Hall mural, it will actually nullify two works of art (Christopher Finan, Opinion, Lexington Herald Leader, 7-30-2020) NCAC's executive director outlines the stakes of the ongoing mural controversy at the University of Kentucky. By agreeing to remove the 1930's-era mural from campus, he argues, the University of Kentucky is in danger of losing an opportunity to advance racial understanding and of nullifying the work of a Black artist who was commissioned to respond to the mural. Eli Capilouto, the university's president, announced it would remove Ann O’Hanlon’s 1930’s-era mural from Memorial Hall because students consider its depiction of Blacks and Native Americans offensive. Two years earlier the university responded to complaints about the mural by commissioning a renowned Black artist, Karyn Olivier, to create an installation in the dome above the mural that highlights the important contributions made by people of color in Kentucky history. As Capilouto explained, the purpose of the installation was to encourage conversation about the history of slavery and the changing ways in which it has been represented in art. “It sets up a dialogue between the two pieces of art,” he said. It is heartbreaking to hear that a bold effort to encourage dialogue about the problem of race is being abandoned, especially when those words are spoken by a professional educator.
Free Speech ‘Meltdown’ (Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Inside Higher Ed, 4-23-19) Williams plans to revise its policies after a faculty petition to adopt free speech guidelines enraged student activists.
Immigration judges’ union sues to block DOJ speech restrictions (Alison Frankel, Reuters, 7-1-2020) U.S. immigration judges contend they’ve been muzzled by the Department of Justice—and now they’re doing something about it. The union, representing more than 460 immigration judges, sued three Department of Justice officials in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, challenging a policy edict from DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review that allegedly bars almost all immigration judges from speaking in their personal capacity about immigration issues, including the operations of the courts they preside over. Immigration judges are actually employees of the Justice Department, not members of the federal judicial branch.

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On Freedom of Expression and Campus Speech Codes (American Association of University Professors)
Virtual First Amendment Classroom (National Coalition Against Censorship) NCAC, an alliance of over 50 national non-profit organizations, has advocated for the free speech rights of students, artists, teachers and librarians for over 45 years.NCAC is now offering teachers who are teaching remotely the opportunity to host virtual classroom presentations on free speech and the First Amendment by guest speakers from our staff of experts. Topics: Free Speech Fundamentals, Student Speech Rights, Symbolic Speech, History of Free Speech Rights in the US, Offensive Speech, Limits on Free Speech.
A Supreme Court case has Internet companies running scared (Alison Frankel, Internet of Things, Reuter,12-13-18) In the case Manhattan Community Access Corporation v. Halleck, a NY public access cable television station, operated by the nonprofit Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) via a long-running agreement with New York City, took disciplinary action against two contributors for allegedly inciting violence against station employees. The contributors sued, claiming MNN was violating their First Amendment free speech rights. The Internet Association fears that the owner of a private platform can be converted into a state actor just because it operates a site encouraging free speech. See EFF To U.S. Supreme Court: Rule Carefully In Free Speech Case About Private Operators, State Actors, and the First Amendment ( Karen Gullo and David Greene, Electronic Frontier Foundation, 12-12-18) "Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide an opportunity for everyone to have a voice on the Internet, to communicate with friends, post their views, and comment on movies or the president. However, the fact that they provide a broad, open platform for speech doesn’t automatically mean they are “public forums” in the sense your town’s official Facebook page or @realDonaldTrump are. Those are run by the government or its officials, who, when it comes to the First Amendment, are “state actors” and can’t block people from the forum without complying with First Amendment standards. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are platforms created and run by corporations, which are private entities that can curate and edit content. The distinction between private entities and state actors providing forums for communication is crucial for the free speech rights of Internet users and the platforms they use."

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The Santa Clara Principles on Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation (PDF) David Greene:
"These principles advance three key goals: numbers (companies should publish the number of posts removed and accounts suspended); notice (companies should provide notice and an explanation to each user whose content is removed); and appeal (companies should provide a meaningful opportunity for timely appeal of any content removal or account suspension)." As stated in an excellent piece: Alex Jones is far from the only person tech companies are silencing (David Greene, WashPost, 8-12-18) Content moderation systems do but should not operate in secret with no public accountability.
Violent Protests and Free Speech: Who’s to Blame for an Officer’s Injuries? (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 12-9-19) The A.C.L.U. asked the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist sued by a Louisiana police officer. The lawsuit, a federal judge found, bordered on the delusional. A Louisiana police officer injured in a protest tried to sue the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, which amounted, wrote Judge Brian A. Jackson of the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge, to picking a fight with an idea. “A hashtag,” Judge Jackson wrote, “is patently incapable of being sued.” The officer also sued Black Lives Matter, which the judge said was also a nonstarter. It is, he wrote, “a social movement rather than an organization or entity of any sort” that could be a defendant in a lawsuit. A third part of the lawsuit — seeking to hold a leader of the movement liable for the officer’s injuries — reached the Supreme Court on Friday.
How To Tell If You're Being Canceled (Nick Gillespie, Reason, 11-1-2020)Kindly Inquisitors author Jonathan Rauch on the never-ending battle to defend free speech. Rauch's book: Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought
A Shameful Season for American Journalists (Chriustopher M. Finan, Opinion, Wall Street Journal, 9-24-18--behind a paywall). The Nation, the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books all run scared from criticism. "Ian Buruma was forced out last week as editor of the New York Review of Books after publishing an essay by a man who admitted that he has abused women. Mr. Buruma’s sudden departure caps a shameful season of American journalism. In July, the Nation apologized for a poem for the first time in its 153-year history. In August, the New Yorker canceled a conversation at its annual festival between editor David Remnick and former White House aide Steve Bannon....The journalist’s job is to ask difficult questions, prompting what can be uncomfortable conversations. This can be complicated. Presenting objectionable views could suggest one is condoning them. Yet learning something about the experience and views of those we dislike or with whom we disagree is crucial to understanding the deepening—and dangerous—divisions in our society." As some observers put it, When does poor editorial or educational judgment cross over into censorship? And: "Engagement is not endorsement."
• "NFL owners have employed players who killed other men, beat wives & girl friends, took part in a dog-fighting ring, and more. Yet they've effectively banned Colin Kaepernick for speaking his mind. Agree with his views or not, free speech is at stake." @ClydeHaberman
Gatekeepers or Censors? How Tech Manages Online Speech (NY Times, 8-7-18) Apple, Google and Facebook this week erased from their services many — but not all — videos, podcasts and posts from the right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars site. And Twitter left Mr. Jones’s posts untouched....The tech companies’ approach to Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist, exposed how unevenly tech companies enforce their rules....Of all the tech companies, Facebook has faced the biggest public outcry over what it allows on its platform."
How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 6-30-18) 'The court’s five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented “crisis pregnancy centers” to provide women with information about abortion. Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.” The two decisions were the latest in a stunning run of victories for a conservative agenda that has increasingly been built on the foundation of free speech. Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.'
Facebook and Apple just made Alex Jones a martyr: It's better to counter bad speech with good speech (Nadine Strossen, NY Daily News, 8-8-18) "A 2016 report about counterspeech on Twitter concluded that hateful and other “extremist” speech was most effectively undermined by counterspeech rather than by censoring, in part because of the futility of trying to remove anything once it’s been posted."
Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech (download free PDF, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). Three workbooks: Understand Context and Conflict. Select and Guide Audiences. Design Medium, Speakers, and Message Content. Author: Rachel Brown.

Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men From Hate Speech But Not Black Children (Julia Angwin and Hannes Grassegger, ProPublica, 6-28-17) A trove of internal documents sheds light on the algorithms that Facebook’s censors use to differentiate between hate speech and legitimate political expression.

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Alex Jones and Online Content Regulation (National Coalition Against Censorship, 8-9-18) It's not about Alex Jones...The removals shine a harsh light on the challenges tech companies face in applying their own content regulations.
Why kicking Alex Jones off social media is not legally censorship (PBS, 8-8-18) Listen or read transcript.
Liberals, Don’t Lose Faith in the First Amendment (David Cole, NY Times, 8-1-18) "In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Roberts court deployed the First Amendment to guarantee that corporations can engage in unlimited campaign spending....[But] the amendment’s core requirement is that the government must remain neutral regarding the content and viewpoint of speech. As a result, a decision protecting conservative speech will equally support liberal speech....government officials continue to be tempted to silence people for their views....In a democracy, the rich and those in the majority don’t need constitutional protections; they can generally enact their desires through ordinary political processes. The targets of censorship are typically dissidents, outsiders, the marginalized." This opinion piece is once-over-lightly on cases.
Everything we think about the political correctness debate is wrong (Matthew Yglesias, Vox, 3-12-18) Support for free speech is rising, and is higher among liberals and college graduates. Among the public at large, meanwhile, the group whose speech the public is most likely to favor stifling is Muslims.
The State of the First Amendment: 2017’s Top Free Speech Offenders and Defenders (National Coalition Against Censorship, 12-20-17)
DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression, an excellent daily-curated roundup of the most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today, from the U.S. and abroad--a project of PEN America's #LouderTogether campaign. See also the PEN America Digital Archive , an archive of resources for and about literature and advocacy for free expression.
Freedom of Expression Watchlist (Authors Guild)
So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast (FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).
Freedom of Information Resources for Journalists (Newslab)
'The Talk': How to 'do' free speech (video, Aaron Reese and Chris Maltby, FIRE, free speech explained for young people)
Books for Understanding: Freedom of Expression and the First Amendment Book lists on The idea of free expression in history and philosophy; A free press; Religious freedom (General; and Separation of church and state); The First Amendment and free speech in America; Limits on free speech (hate speech and obscenity; commercial and electoral speech); free expression in education (in the classroom; academic freedom); Freedom of association, assembly and petition.

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The Delete Squad (Jeffrey Rosen, The New Republic, 4-29-13) Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech.
Older people and Republicans, threatening free speech (Catherine Rampell, WaPo, 11-2-17) Various free speech surveys reveal that "lefty undergrads hold no monopoly on illiberalism." Depending on the survey source and the question, any group can appear to be illiberal. "For example, a [Cato Institute survey's] series of questions asked about whether executives and employees should be fired for holding various beliefs or participating in various kinds of political dissent. Liberals were more likely to support firing for racist beliefs and so on; but conservatives were more likely to support firing for political dissent such as flag-burning...a majority of Republicans says that Americans who burn the American flag — a constitutionally protected act — should have their citizenship revoked....Speaking of flagrant violations of the First Amendment, nearly half of Republicans would favor a law banning the building of mosques in their community...All of which is to reiterate that democratic values are under threat from many more sources than just socialist 19-year-olds."
One Year In: Trump and Trauma, Threats and Tribalism: Art Censorship and a Divisive Presidency (Svetlana Mintcheva, National Coalition Against Censorship, 1-17-18) Protests opposing alt-right and other controversial speakers have turned violent on college campuses, museums face threats of violence, artists call for the destruction of work by other artists and outrage is replacing reasoned debate (that apparently outdated darling of liberals). A new culture war? "From the demise of net neutrality to extreme media consolidation, both accomplished by a Trump-appointed Federal Communications Commission, and including a range of legislative changes in-between, structural changes in the United States promise long-term shifts in who is able to be heard and who shapes public opinion."
First Amendment Watch New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute launched this online resource that "goes beyond the headlines to provide much-needed coverage and context to the debate over freedom of expression."
---Under News Gathering: Access, Secrecy, Leaks, Subpoenas, FOIA, Fake News.
---Under Speech: Offensive Speech, Campus Speech, Symbolic Speech, Artistic Speech.
---Other Sections (no subcategories yet): Libel, Threats, Censorship, Assembly, Privacy, Emotional Distress, Hate Speech, Prior Restraint, Reporter's Privilege, Public Forums, Privacy Versus Free Speech.
Spam Filters Threaten Free Speech on the Internet (James McGrath Morris, WaPo, 11-29-08) "The inclusion of "young adult," "getting nasty" and "hot" among the thousands of words in my publication [a newsletter, Biographer's Craft] was like poison. Indiscriminate spam-blocking software would spot those words, ignore the context and group my newsletter with unsolicited e-mails from purveyors of smut. "
Lawmakers in Ten States Have Proposed Legislation Criminalizing Peaceful Protest (Spencer Moodman, The Intercept, 1-23-17)
The Worst Time for the Left to Give Up on Free Speech (Michelle Goldberg, Op-Ed, NY Times, 10-6-17) "It’s certainly true that it’s easier to enjoy free speech when you’re privileged. It doesn’t follow from that, however, that eroding free speech protections helps the vulnerable. When disputes about free speech are adjudicated not according to broad principles but according to who has power, the left will mostly lose.... Luckily, if they ever do come face to face with forces determined to shut them up, the A.C.L.U. will be there."

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Junk science': experts cast doubt on widely cited college free speech survey (Lois Beckett, The Guardian, 9-22-17) Survey saying 20% of US college students believe it’s appropriate to use violence against offensive speech was was not administered to a randomly selected group of college students nationwide, what statisticians call a “probability sample.” Instead, it was given to an opt-in online panel of people who identified as current college students.
Cake Is His ‘Art.’ So Can He Deny One to a Gay Couple? (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 9-16-17) "Jack Phillips bakes beautiful cakes, and it is not a stretch to call him an artist. Five years ago, in a decision that has led to a Supreme Court showdown, he refused to use his skills to make a wedding cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage, saying it would violate his Christian faith and hijack his right to express himself....At first blush, the case looked like a conflict between a state law banning discrimination and the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom. But when the Supreme Court hears the case this fall, the arguments will mostly center on a different part of the First Amendment: its protection of free speech."
When free speech devolves into violence (Roy S. Gutterman, editorial, Syracuse.com, 8-17-17) "Where do you draw the line between free speech and censorship, suppression or punishment? In Charlottesville, Virginia, that line was smashed. What started as a seemingly lawful, yet emotional and heated, protest exploded into a full-blown riot with chaos, three deaths and neo-Nazis, KKK and other white supremacists clad in helmets, brandishing shields and weapons. First Amendment rights to speak, assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances are fundamental, but not absolute. Showing up to a protest with armor and weapons crosses the line and the rioting loses its constitutional protection."
The Ugly Business of Defending Free Speech in 2017 (Priscilla Frank, HuffPost, 11-21-17) Clay Hansen, of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression (TJC) is proud to defend pro athletes around the country exercising their First Amendment rights by kneeling during the national anthem to support "49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 began protesting racial injustice in America by taking a knee during the national anthem." It's tougher defending Nazis and funeral protesters, but he has to, because, in his mind, “If we don’t defend these people now, it could be you next.” “The First Amendment applies to everyone,” Hansen said. “It applies to the ignorant and the hateful and everybody else, regardless of how much you disagree with them personally.”
How to Make Fun of Nazis (Moises Velasquez-Manoff, NY Times, 8-17-17) "For decades, Wunsiedel, a German town near the Czech border, has struggled with a parade of unwanted visitors. It was the original burial place of one of Adolf Hitler’s deputies, a man named Rudolf Hess. And every year, to residents’ chagrin, neo-Nazis marched to his grave site. The town had staged counterdemonstrations to dissuade these pilgrims....in 2014, the town tried a different tactic: humorous subversion....nonviolent struggles were resolved much sooner than violent ones....nonviolent struggles attracted more allies more quickly. Violent struggles, on the other hand, often repelled people and dragged on for years."

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John Lewis: NFL players kneeling 'are following a long tradition' (Brandon Carter, The Hill, 9-25-17) Players across the NFL knelt and locked arms during the playing of the national anthem this weekend in response to President Trump’s criticism of athletes who don’t stand for the anthem. The NFL hoped Colin Kaepernick would go away, but they couldn't keep him off the field (Adam Kilgore, National Post, 9-26-17) Donald Trump's caustic remarks and tweets left players with little choice but to respond. Many took their cues from Kaepernick. The Martyring of Colin Kaepernick (Ben Strauss, Politico, 9-3-17) How the NFL botched the quarterback’s protest and guaranteed the controversy will live on, whether he plays or not. Reporters had begun to openly suggest Kaepernick, good enough to sign a $127 million contract in 2014, was being blackballed—retaliation by a famously autocratic organization against a player who had dared to embarrass it. The point: Dear Conservatives: Do You Really Believe in Free Speech? (Benjamin L. Corey, Patheos, 9-25-17) "...in situations like this you prove you don’t really believe in free speech at all– because you can’t say you believe in free speech, but also believe in compelled speech." An important summary: This video is the best 5 minutes you will see on the NFL protests. (German Lopez, Vox, 9-28-17) Nick Wright: “When people march, they are not protesting traffic.” What are you actually mad at? Are you angry about the form of protest? Or what is being protested? Kneeling IS a form of peaceful protest. The players have been uniform that they have been using the anthem to protest inequality, police brutality, and racial injustice. Trump and others have hijacked the protest and made it about the anthem.
Transcript: Colin Kaepernick addresses sitting during national anthem (Chris Biderman, Ninerswire, 8-28-16) A transcript from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s media session Sunday Aug. 28, 2016 – his first public appearance after telling NFL Media why he decided to sit during the national anthem during the first three preseason games.
Defining Hate Speech (Andrew Sellars, Boston University School of Law, on Social Science Research Network, SSRN, a website devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities) Downloadable. Common traits of hate speech: 1) Targeting a group, or individual as member of a group; 2) Content in the message that conveys hate; 3) The speech causes a harm; 4) The speaker intends harm or bad activity; 5) The speech incites bad actions beyond the speech itself; 6) The speech is either public or directed at a member of a group; 7) The context makes violence response possible; 8) The speech has no redeeming purpose.
What Does Facebook Consider Hate Speech? Take Our Quiz (Audrey Carlsen and Fahima Haque, NY Times, 10-13-17) The answers to the quiz are interesting, especially if you get one wrong.
Hate Speech court cases (6 cases, The First Amendment Encyclopedia)

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Gag Orders and Free Speech cases (4 cases, The First Amendment Encyclopedia) Look at Case Categories for links to case summaries on other, related subjects in the First Amendment Encyclopedia, a very handy addition to our online reference library.
Why We Must Still Defend Free Speech (David Cole, NY Review of Books, 9-28-17) "Free speech, in short, is exposing white supremacists’ ideas to the condemnation they deserve. Moral condemnation, not legal suppression, is the appropriate response to these despicable ideas."
• DOCS V. GLOCKS. Florida Doctors May Discuss Guns With Patients, Court Rules (Lizette Alvarez, NY Times, 2-16-17) A number of doctors and medical organizations sued Florida in a case that came to be known as Docs v. Glocks, after the popular handgun. The Florida law was the first in the country to try to restrict the First Amendment rights of medical providers to discuss the safe storage of guns with patients, and the court ruling will probably make it more difficult for other states to pass a similar measure. The Republican-controlled Florida legislature, with the support of the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, passed the restrictions in 2011, aimed primarily at pediatricians. Under the law, doctors could lose their licenses or risk large fines for asking patients or their families about gun ownership and gun habits. The National Rifle Association viewed the medical community’s gun-related questions as discriminatory and a form of harassment, a position that the state took in court when it argued the queries violated the right to bear arms. Florida to Pay Legal Fees in Case That Kept Doctors From Discussing Guns (Matthew Haag, NY Times, 7-24-17)

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How To Leak To ProPublica (ProPublica) "We’re investigative journalists devoted to exposing abuse of power. If you’ve got evidence showing powerful people doing the wrong thing, here’s how to let us know while protecting your identity."
Leaked policies guiding moderators on what content to allow are likely to fuel debate about social media giant’s ethics (Nick Hopkins, The Guardian, 5-21-17) Leaked policies guiding moderators on what content to allow are likely to fuel debate about social media giant’s ethics
Making Google the Censor (Daphne Keller, NY Times, 6-12-17) Can sites like Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia be asked to build tools to identify and remove extremist content? and so on.
Free Speech Rights of Public Employees (Exploring Constitutional Conflicts, The issue: May the government use the speech of a public employee as the basis for discharge or denying promotion? A few interesting cases. Here's one, from Oyez: Garcetti v. Ceballos.

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Human Rights and Encription (PDF of report, UNESCO 2016) "UNESCO “recognizes the role that anonymity and encryption can play as enablers of privacy protection and freedom of expression, and facilitates dialogue on these issues.” The principles of Internet Universality (R.O.A.M.) "advocate for a human-Rights-based, Open and Accessible Internet, governed by Multi-stakeholder participation." Advocates for "encryption literacy."
Oyez Database on major constitutional cases heard by the United States Supreme Court, with multimedia resources including digital audio of oral arguments.
Talent Wants to Be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free Riding by Orly Lobel, who challenges conventional business wisdom about competition, secrecy, motivation, and creativity. Combining original behavioral experiments with sharp observations of contemporary battles over ideas, secrets, and skill, Lobel identifies motivation, relationships, and mobility as the most important ingredients for successful innovation.
Will Fair Use Survive? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control (Freedom of Expression Project). Download free PDF. Practices that threaten free expression and fair use: cease and desist letters, DMCA take-down notices, the "clearance culture," negotiated guidelines.
Online Censorship: A Global Map & Ranking of Every Country’s Internet Restrictions (Infographic, VPN Mentor)

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Seattle Muralist Crystal Barbre Alters Her Work to Skirt Obscenity Laws (Sarra Scherb, Vanguard Seattle, 9-27-16). Who’s Afraid of the Female Nipple? The State of Washington.
Timeline: a history of free speech (David Smith and Luc Torres, Media, The Guardian, 2-5-06
Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech (Nicholas Kristof, OpEd, NY Times, 11-11-15) "On university campuses across the country, from Mizzou to Yale, we have two noble forces colliding with explosive force. One is a concern for minority or marginalized students and faculty members, who are often left feeling as outsiders in ways that damage everyone’s education." Student photographer Tim Tai, who was trying to document the protests unfolding in a public space, "represented the other noble force in these upheavals — free expression. He tried to make the point, telling the crowd: 'The First Amendment protects your right to be here — and mine.'”

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Who Is Entitled to Be Heard? (Suzanne Nossel, Op Ed, NY Times, 11-12-15) "Some of the most potent threats to free speech these days come not from our government or corporations, but from our citizenry. Pitched battles being waged at Yale and the University of Missouri pit speech versus speech in a contest of who and what is entitled to be heard."
Freedom of Speech (Wikipedia--some useful points made here)
Tolerance, Free Speech Collide on Campus ( Dan Frosch and Tamara Audi, WSJ, 11-13-15) A philosophical divide is at the heart of recent protests that have roiled campuses around the country. Universities are struggling to balance the free exchange of ideas with students’ growing desire to be shielded from offensive views.
How a high school student’s painting caused congressional Republicans to act like campus snowflakes (Jonathan H. Adler, WaPo, 1-14-17) Taking it down, wrong. Allowing expression of an opposing opinion, right.

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Kelly Carlin, Rain Pryor, and Kitty Bruce, daughters of three major stand-up comedians, speak about their fathers' (George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce's) experiences fighting for free speech in comedy, on campus and off. (YouTube video of the three women, supported by FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education). Or listen to the So To Speak podcast.
That's Not Funny! (Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, Sept 2015) Stand-Up Comics have to censor their jokes on campus. "College gigs pay easily a grand a night—often much more—and they can come in a firecracker string, with relatively short drives between schools, each hour-long performance paid for (without a moment’s ugliness or hesitation) by a friendly student-activities kid holding out a check and hoping for a selfie." Chris Rock no longer plays colleges because "they were far too eager 'not to offend anybody.'"
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Free speech (including protest and dissent)

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"
"What could possibly go wrong with an oligarch determining what constitutes free speech?"
~Robert Reich


How Free Speech Saved Democracy: The Untold History of How the First Amendment Became an Essential Tool for Securing Liberty and Social Justice by Christopher M. Finan (just published, April 2022)
Supreme Court rules against Boston in Christian flag case (Mark Sherman, AP News, 5-2-22) A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that Boston violated the free speech rights of a conservative activist when it refused his request to fly a Christian flag on a flagpole outside City Hall. The case hinged on whether the flag-flying is an act of the government, in which case Boston can do whatever it wants, or private parties like Shurtleff, Breyer wrote. See SCOTUS decision (Supreme Court of the United States, 5-2-22)
Houston area student wins $90,000 settlement after being bullied by teacher for not standing for Pledge of Allegiance (Ariana Garcia, Chron, 3-29-22) Klein ISD teacher Benjie Arnold allegedly threatened to fail the student after she refused to stand for the pledge, objecting to the words 'Under God.'
We Still Stand With Daniel Hale Defending Rights & Dissent stands with Daniel Hale, a courageous whistleblower. "Hale’s crime is exposing the human rights abuses of US drone strikes, including that during a given time period nearly 90% of those killed by drone strikes were not the intended target....Whistleblowers charged under the Espionage Act have an almost impossible chance of mounting a fair defense, which is why Defending Rights & Dissent has repeatedly urged Congress to amend this draconian and antiquated law....It is outrageous that a law ostensibly designed to target spies and saboteurs is used to jail journalists’ sources and even journalists who act in the public interest to reveal official abuses of power. Hale’s case spans three administrations, including presidents from both major parties. Espionage Act abuse to prosecute whistleblowers is a bi-partisan disgrace."
Animal Rights Activists Rescued Two Piglets From Slaughter. They Wanted to Get Caught. (Andrew Schwartz, TNR, 2-23-22) Liberating the pigs from a Smithfield facility was just the first step in Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer’s grand plan. Now they want their legal case to start a sea change in animal rights.
A Cheerleader’s Vulgar Message Prompts a First Amendment Showdown (Adam Liptak, NY Times, 12-28-2020) A Pennsylvania school district has asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether students may be disciplined for what they say on social media. In urging the justices to hear the case, the school district said administrators around the nation needed a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court on their power to discipline students for what they say away from school.
Court narrows federal Anti-Riot Act (Josh Gerstein, Politico, 8-24-2020) A federal appeals court has narrowed an anti-riot law the Trump administration is wielding to bring federal charges against individuals accused of fueling civil unrest following the death of George Floyd in an encounter with Minneapolis police. However, the Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the use of the federal statute against two California men convicted of spurring violence in connection with the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. Here's a good explainer ("The case — United States v. Daley — illustrates how procedural meta-issues can limit the fortunes of individual litigants even as courts resolve the big substantive issues in favor of the First Amendment.") (Ken White, The Popehat Report)

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FIRE statement regarding Trump's executive order on campus anti-Semitism (12-10-19) "According to news reports, President Trump will sign an Executive Order directing the Departments of Education and Justice to employ a specific definition and examples of anti-Semitism in evaluating institutional responses to alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. If true, the Executive Order would threaten freedom of expression on campus.
      "Adopted by the U.S. Department of State and later in expanded form by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the definition and examples reach core political speech protected by the First Amendment. Directing federal agencies to rely on this framework in enforcing Title VI would effectively order nearly every campus in the country to censor its students and faculty on the basis of viewpoint—in this case, constitutionally protected speech that is critical of Israel. (The vast majority of American campuses, public and private, receive federal funding and would be subject to the order.) This result would be sharply at odds with our national commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom, decades of First Amendment precedent, and the President’s stated concern for protecting free speech on campus."
•  On Campus Speech: Thanks, Mr. President — But No Thanks (Gene Policinski, Freedom Forum Institute, 3-7-19) Conservatives have long complained — in my view, with justification at some higher-ed institutions — that liberal academics have created an atmosphere where views of faculty or outside speakers from “the right” are unwelcome. In recent years, a number of high-profile, controversial speakers claiming conservative credentials have been heckled, harassed or prevented from speaking. Trump’s approach is to tie freedom of speech to federal funding for universities: “If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions … Free speech. If they don’t, it will be costly. That will be signed soon,” he told the Conservative Political Action Conference annual convention. Similarly, Trump Order Designed to Fight Anti-Semitism Risks Chilling Free Speech (PEN America press release, 12-11-19)

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Statement on Trump’s Campus Speech Executive Order (National Coalition Against Censorship, 3-21-19) "The order does not specify how government agencies will measure an institution’s compliance, nor how political bias will be eliminated from those measurements. As a result, the opportunity for politically-motivated decisions about what speech should or should not be permitted on university campuses is far too great. Government control of campus speech under the guise of protecting free speech is more likely to chill academic freedom than to encourage greater diversity of thought. Colleges and universities will continue to be bound by the First Amendment and their own commitments to academic freedom and freedom of inquiry." See also Proposed Executive Order Threatens Academic Freedom (NCAC, 3-4-19)
Here’s What Trump’s Executive Order on Free Speech Says (Andy Thomason, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3-21-19) "President Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday that he has said will mandate that colleges uphold free speech or risk jeopardizing federal research funds....The order will direct federal agencies to “take appropriate steps” to ensure that colleges receiving federal research funds “promote free inquiry.” But public colleges are already legally bound to do so by the First Amendment....The order also will direct the Education Department to do two things: Add program-level outcomes data to the College Scorecard and produce a report examining “policy options” for the idea of risk sharing on student-loan debt." (Executive order included.) In short, Trump wants the federal government to control and supervise campus speech--which is the opposite of free speech.
Censored story: Athletes transfers in question. That story was originally published Oct. 30, 2018 in the Har-Ber Herald, as was this editorial, but both were censored and ordered taken offline by school officials affiliated with Har-Ber High School in Springdale, Ark. The Student Press Law Center published the censored story 12-3-18 as a public service. The censored story was also covered by Buzzfeed News: A High School Newspaper Was Suspended For Publishing An Investigation Into Football Players’ Transfers (Amber Jamieson, 12-1-18, They are like, ‘Well, you raised an uproar, we’re going to try and silence you,’” said Halle Roberts, 17, the editor-in-chief of the Har-Ber Herald in Arkansas.), AP (12-3-18), The Hill (12-1-18), Arkansas Times (12-2-18), and 5 News KFSM (12-2-18), among others.
Journalism Education Assocation (JEA). "[JEA] denounces the practice of administrative prior review as serving no legitimate educational purpose. Prior review leads only to censorship by school officials or to self-censorship by students with no improvement in journalistic quality or learning."
New Voices State Tracker New Voices USA is a network of state-by-state campaigns to pass anti-censorship legislation that will grant extra protections to student journalists.
High school teachers: Bring FIRE to class this fall (Bonnie Snyder, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, 9-26-18) See FIRE’s FAQ for Political Speech on Campus.
FIRE's Guide to Free Speech on Campus (educational materials for high schools on the history, law, and philosophy of freedom of speech)

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Robert Post’s Arguments Draw Replies from Erwin Chemerinsky & Will Creeley on Campus Speech Issue (Ronald K.L. Collins, Concurring Opinions, 10-25-17) Post is devoted to recent developments concerning free speech on college campuses. This sampling reveals just how controversial and widespread this debate has become.
Free Speech on Campus by Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman
A brief history of free speech at Yale (Allison Pohle, Boston.com, 12-6-15) Freedom of speech didn’t become officially protected at the Ivy League school until 1974. 'A debate over free speech has been raging at Yale ever since a professor sent an email defending students’ rights to wear potentially offensive Halloween costumes as an expression of free speech. After backlash from students, she recently announced that she will no longer teach at the college. But, before that announcement, more than 60 faculty members signed an open letter in her defense, emphasizing that of all the university’s values, “none is more central than the value of free expression of ideas.’’ It hasn’t always been that way. Freedom of speech wasn’t protected at Yale until 1974, when the university created a document called the Woodward Report. The report’s central premise is that intellectual growth and discovery “clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.’’ That idea was a long time coming.' Read the story behind the creation of an official policy on freedom of speech on campus.
Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale (The Woodward Report, 12-23-74)
Free Inquiry on Campus: A Statement of Principles by Over One Hundred Middlebury College Professors (3-6-17)
"Campus free expression" bills may benefit protestors, but offer little new hope for college journalists ( Lindsie Trego, SPLC, 6-30-17) "The usefulness of Campus Free Speech legislation is severely limited by language that limits application only to that speech already protected by the First Amendment, found in three bills and three enacted statutes....while these statutes do a good job of setting aside outdoor areas as forums subject only to content-neutral restrictions, the longstanding issues with seeking First Amendment sanctuary for censored student journalists still may persist under these statutes.
Even among experts, consensus on campus free speech remains elusive (UCLA Newsroom, 10-19-17) "When it comes to free speech on college campuses, a panel of constitutional law experts, social scientists and a former longtime elected official had a difficult time even agreeing on the point of the argument, let alone agreeing on a solution that would satisfy the First Amendment’s strongest legal defenders and people who have been historically oppressed by the exercise of speech. But that failure to reach consensus was kind of the point. “I’m not going to promise you that you’ll agree with anything they say,” Carbado said. “What I will promise you is … we’re not going to run away from the hard issues. We’re going to put them on the table and we’re going to debate them, and that should be what a university does.”

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University of Wisconsin approves free speech policy that punishes student protesters [who use violence] (Todd Richmond, AP, Chicago Tribune, 10-5-17) University of Wisconsin System leaders approved a policy Friday that calls for suspending and expelling students who disrupt campus speeches and presentations, saying students need to listen to all sides of issues and arguments. The Board of Regents adopted the language on a voice vote during a meeting at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The policy states that students found to have twice engaged in violence or other disorderly conduct that disrupts others' free speech would be suspended. Students found to have disrupted others' free expression three times would be expelled. [Emphasis added.]
Why It's a Bad Idea to Tell Students Words Are Violence (Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, The Atlantic, 7-17) "Making the offline world “safer” by banning the occasional stress-inducing speaker will not help." "In sum, it was a radical enlightenment idea to tolerate the existence of dissenters, and an even more radical idea to actually engage with them. Universities are—or should be—the preeminent centers of Liberal Science. They have a duty to foster an intellectual climate that separates true ideas from popular but fallacious ones. The conflation of words with violence is not a new or progressive idea invented on college campuses in the last two years. It is an ancient and regressive idea. Americans should all be troubled that it is becoming popular again—especially on college campuses, where it least belongs." An excellent response to When Is Speech Violence? (Lisa Feldman, NY Times, 7-14-17)
Sessions says U.S. will intervene in campus free speech cases (Sadie Gurman, Chicago Tribune, 9-26-17) "Decrying what he sees as political correctness run amok, [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions said Tuesday the Justice Department will support students who sue universities claiming their free speech rights were violated. But during the same speech at Georgetown University's law school, Sessions condemned the NFL players who have been exercising their freedom of expression by kneeling silently during the national anthem before games....In declaring free speech 'under attack' on college campuses, [Sessions] dove into an issue that has become a cause celebre for conservatives who argue their voices are being drowned out on college campuses as speeches by right-wing figures have been derailed by protests and threats of violence.'..."The American university was once the center of academic freedom, a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas," Sessions told an invitation-only audience, as nearly 200 students gathered in protest outside. A few others sat in the auditorium with duct tape over their mouths. "But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos."'

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A chilling study shows how hostile college students are toward free speech (Catherine Rampell, WaPo, 9-18-17) "Here’s the problem with suggesting that upsetting speech warrants 'safe spaces,' or otherwise conflating mere words with physical assault: If speech is violence, then violence becomes a justifiable response to speech." John Villasenor, a Brookings Institution senior fellow and University of California at Los Angeles professor, conducted a survey of students. "Many of his questions were designed to gauge students’ understanding of the First Amendment. Colleges, after all, pay a lot of lip service to 'freedom of speech,' despite high-profile examples of civil-liberty-squelching on campus. The survey suggests that this might not be due to hypocrisy so much as a misunderstanding of what the First Amendment actually entails....Speech promoting hatred — or at least, speech perceived as promoting hatred — may be abhorrent, but it is nonetheless constitutionally protected....Women are more likely than men to believe hate speech is not constitutionally protected (49 percent vs. 38 percent, respectively)." "In truth, lefties can do more to call out threats to civil liberties perpetrated by their ideological allies. And colleges can do more to promote freer debate. But many of Villasenor’s results — like those from other data sources — show that the right is also astonishingly open to shutting down speech."
How Trump Has Stoked the Campus Debate on Speech and Violence (Jeannie Suk Gersen, New Yorker, 6-4-17) From the protests of the Free Speech Movement in the sixties, "in which students fought restrictions on dissenting political speech, to the protests of today, in which students try to shut down political speech they despise, sometimes even by violent means. The easy criticism, both from the right and from liberal academia, has been to mock college students as sensitive 'snowflakes' refusing to hear—let alone engage with—differing viewpoints. But such criticism misses a change, one that has added a combustible element to the long-standing debates over speech on campus: the start of a Presidency that, for many people, stands for bigotry and hate expressed in casual violence. During his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump helped to normalize hateful speech by fellow-citizens. In the first months of his Presidency, there has been a rise in hate crimes, numerous threats of violence against synagogues and mosques, and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries." (On the other hand, see also Teacher Suspended After Trump References Were Removed From a Yearbook (Liam Stack, NY Times, 6-12-17)

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The New Censorship on Campus (Jeffrey Herbst and Geoffrey R. Stone, Chronicle of Higher Education, 6-5-17) "Wanting to censor those whose views one finds odious and offensive is understandable. Actually silencing them is dangerous, though, because censorship is a two-way street. It is an illusion for minority groups to believe that they can censor the speech of others today without having their own expression muzzled tomorrow....Even from a short-term perspective, efforts by minority groups to censor the expression of offensive and odious speech often backfires, because it makes those they oppose into ever-more famous martyrs, giving them larger audiences and growing book sales. Little has helped the brand of the likes of Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos more than their exclusion from speaking on college campuses."
‘So to Speak’ Podcast: David Baugh on ‘Defending My Enemy’ (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE, 6-2-16) Why would a black criminal defense attorney—who fought against segregation in high school and battled racism in the courtroom—volunteer to defend the First Amendment rights of an Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan?

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A Guide to Disinvitation: My Conversation with Williams College President Adam Falk (Peter Wood, National Association of Scholars, March 2016) A thoughtful essay on "disinvitations on college campuses, as well as other snubs, actions prompting invited speakers to cancel their own appearances, and speakers showing up only to be drowned out by protester." This is a 'long and careful laying out of distinctions between academic, intellectual, and First Amendment freedoms, and how all three relate to the broader purposes of higher education. It was NAS’s attempt to stand back from the current melee over Black Lives Matter, microaggressions, safe spaces, and the like, to see if we could find some answers to today’s discontents. President Falk’s email seemed to provide an opening. He discerned “a line” that had been crossed. The first step would be to see if he would say what that line is.'
• Download free Peter Wood's The Architecture of Intellectual Freedom (National Association of Scholars, 1-26-16) An interesting piece. From the conclusion: "[w]e are concerned over the recent emergence of versions of academic freedom that conflate it with intellectual freedom—and sometimes conflate both academic and intellectual freedom with First Amendment freedoms. This blurring of key distinctions puts all three at risk. Universities are not places where anything can be said anywhere and at any time. They are places where the truth is pursued by disciplined means; where a hierarchy of knowledge prevails; and where intellectual authority is maintained. These matters are sometimes rhetorically downplayed but in practice they are rigorously upheld."
Settlement Reached in Case of Professor Fired for “Uncivil” Tweets (Center for Constitutional Rights, 11-12-15) “Professor Salaita’s case galvanized champions of academic freedom and Palestinian rights activists alike, making clear that punishing speech―even speech that dares to criticize Israeli government atrocities―will not be tolerated." See also a href="http://www.fepproject.org/news/SalaitaSettlement.html"target="_blank">The Settlement in Steven Salaita's Lawsuit - Victory or Defeat for Free Speech? The Free Expression Policy Project, 11-13-15).

'I disapprove of what you say,
but I will defend to the death your right to say it.'~Voltaire
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Trump, the press, the truth, civil rights,

and January 6

Find yourself arguing about Trump? These links (to both opinion and facts) may be helpful.

 

"Call me old-fashioned but I don't think a president who incites a coup against the U.S. government deserves a $200,000 pension for the rest of his life, along with a million-dollar travel budget, all financed by U.S. taxpayers. Just sayin." ~ Robert Reich


Trump’s New Recruits (Tom Nichols,The Atlantic, 9-19-22) His embrace of the QAnon conspiracy theorists represents a new expansion not only of Trump’s cult of personality, but of his threats to sow violence.
It’s Just Fraud All the Way Down (David A. Graham, The Atlantic, 9-21-22) The complaint filed today by New York Attorney General Letitia James is remarkable not for the shrewdness of the misconduct it alleges, but for its audacity. "At times in his prepresidential life, Donald Trump represented himself as a real-estate mogul, a television star, a business visionary, and a salesman par excellence. But according to a complaint filed today by New York Attorney General Letitia James, the Trump Organization was actually just a massive fraud with incidental sidelines in property development, merchandising, and entertainment."
Appeals Court Restores Justice Dept.’s Access to Sensitive Files Seized From Trump (Charlie Savage, Glenn Thrush and Alan Feuer, NY Times, 9-21-22) A federal judge had temporarily barred the department from using the records marked as classified in its inquiry into whether the former president illegally retained national defense documents. The decision by the appeals court was a striking repudiation of Mr. Trump’s attempts to claim in public, but not in court, that he had declassified the sensitive records at issue. The ruling was the latest turn in what began as a legal sideshow to the investigation into Mr. Trump’s hoarding of government documents, including some marked as highly classified.
      Mr. Trump “suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president,” the appeals court wrote. “But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified.” The court went on to say, “In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal.

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Trump should fill Christians with rage. How come he doesn’t? (Michael Gerson, Opinion, Washington Post, 9-1-22) A long, thoughtful essay about the Christian embrace of populist politics in America. "Leaders in the Republican Party have fed, justified and exploited conservative Christians’ defensiveness in service to an aggressive, reactionary politics. This has included deadly mask and vaccine resistance, the discrediting of fair elections, baseless accusations of gay “grooming” in schools, the silencing of teaching about the United States’ history of racism, and (for some) a patently false belief that Godless conspiracies have taken hold of political institutions." The essay links to other op-ed pieces about specific issues, among them:
---The GOP celebration of covid ignorance is an invitation to death
---Of all the conservative bans on teaching about racism, the one in Texas is the worst
---Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 assault on American democracy (neither a spontaneous act nor an isolated event). "In both public perception and evident reality, many White, conservative Christians find themselves on the wrong side of the most cutting indictments delivered by Jesus of Nazareth."
A Timeline of Trump’s False and Misleading Statements on the Mar-a-Lago Search (Stuart A. Thompson, NY Times, 8-16-22) The former president has pushed frenetic and sometimes contradictory claims about the F.B.I.’s search of his Florida home. He  and his allies have given often conflicting defenses of his retention of classified documents without addressing why he had kept them. In the wake of the search, Mr. Trump has accused the nation’s justice system of being exactly what he tried to turn it into: a political weapon for a president. Republicans have struggled to coalesce around a unified strategy to respond to the F.B.I.’s search of Donald J. Trump’s headquarters in Palm Beach, Fla.
The Part of the Espionage Act That Matters (Jan Lodal, a longtime defense and intelligence official, in a guest post on James Fallows blog, Breaking the News) "Trump’s violation of this Subparagraph (d) of the Espionage Act could not be clearer. Unlike all other crimes being considered for prosecution, Subsection (d) requires no probing of intent or consequence. It defines as criminal a clear process violation -- “failing to return” classified documents when properly asked to do so."
Trump’s Shifting Explanations Follow a Familiar Playbook (News Analysis, NY Times, 8-14-22)
The Complete Guide to All the Ways Donald Trump Is Legally Screwed (Vanity Fair, 8-22)

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A Sober Look at the ‘Cartoonishly Chaotic’ Trump White House (David Greenberg, NY Times, 9-14-22) In “The Divider,” political journalists keep their cool as they chronicle the outrageous conduct and ugly infighting that marked a presidency like no other. It’s all here: the culture wars and the corruption, the demagogy and the autocrat-love, the palace intrigue and the public tweets, the pandemic and the impeachments (plural).
How Trump Supporters Came to Hate the Police (Luke Mogelson, New Yorker, 9-10-22) At the Capitol riot and elsewhere, MAGA Republicans have leaped from “backing the blue” to attacking law-enforcement officials.
Most Americans see Trump's MAGA as threat to democracy (Jason Lange, Reuters, 9-8-22) A Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on Wednesday found a majority of Americans believe Trump's movement is undermining democracy.
“We need to take away children.” (An investigation by Caitlin Dickerson, The Atlantic, 8-7-22) The secret history of the U.S. government’s family-separation policy. "It is easy to pin culpability for family separations on the anti-immigration officials for which the Trump administration is known. But these separations were also endorsed and enabled by dozens of members of the government’s middle and upper management: Cabinet secretaries, commissioners, chiefs, and deputies who, for various reasons, didn’t voice concern even when they should have seen catastrophe looming; who trusted “the system” to stop the worst from happening; who reasoned that it would not be strategic to speak up in an administration where being labeled a RINO or a “squish”—nicknames for those deemed insufficiently conservative—could end their career; who assumed that someone else, in some other department, must be on top of the problem; who were so many layers of abstraction away from the reality of screaming children being pulled out of their parent’s arms that they could hide from the human consequences of what they were doing....

    “Congress, too, deserves blame, because it failed for decades to fill a legislative vacuum that anti-immigration officials moved to exploit. For too long, an overworked and underequipped border-police force has been left to determine crucial social, economic, and humanitarian policy....What happened in the months that led up to the implementation of Zero Tolerance—the Trump administration’s initiative that separated thousands of families—should be studied by future generations of organizational psychologists and moral philosophers.”
Among the Insurrectionists (Luke Mogelson, Reporter at Large, New Yorker, 1-15-21) The Capitol was breached by Trump supporters who had been declaring, at rally after rally, that they would go to violent lengths to keep the President in power.

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January 6: A chronicle of an attack foretold.
Plot to Overturn the Election (video, Frontline, 3-29-22) Many Republican voters believe his election was illegitimate, and the idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump is now a defining issue of the Republican Party. In a new investigative collaboration, FRONTLINE and ProPublica trace the hidden sources of misinformation about the 2020 election, demonstrating how a handful of people have had an outsized impact on the current U.S. crisis of democratic legitimacy.
How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right (Charles Homans, NY Times Magazine, 7-19-22) "The movement to reinstate President Trump has gone far beyond him — and now threatens the future of American elections. It could properly be said to constitute a movement, but one that no longer gathers under the banner of “Stop the Steal,” preferring the good-government language of “election integrity” — though the movement has next to nothing in common with earlier efforts to shore up genuine vulnerabilities in the American election system....The insistence on America as a “republic” but not a “democracy” is a tendentious reading of James Madison popularized by the John Birch Society, the conspiratorial anti-communist organization — a justification for governing the country according to conservative values and policy prerogatives, even when the numerical majority of its people did not vote for them."
The January 6 Hearings Are Changing Republicans’ Minds (Sarah Longwell, The Atlantic, 7-28-22) GOP voters want political power. And they’re no longer sure Donald Trump is the best way to get it.
Will Be Wild (Wondery) An 8-part podcast series about the forces that led to the January 6th insurrection and what comes next. "Through in-depth stories from a wide range of characters – from people who tried to stop the attack to those who took part – hosts Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz explore the ongoing effort to bring autocracy to America, the lasting damage that effort is doing to our democracy, and the fate of our attempts to combat those anti-democratic forces. Because January 6th wasn't the end of the story, January 6th was just a practice run."


Tinker, Tailor, Mobster, Trump (Greg Olear, Prevail, 3-31-20) What happens when a Confidential Informant becomes President? This old post has come up in several recent Substack comments in response to the question, "Why hasn't Tя☭mp been arrested all these years?"

Trump Claims He’s Not Ignoring N.Y. Attorney General Subpoena, He Just Lost His Phone (Bess Levin, Vanity Fair, 5-10-22) According to the ex-president, he is simply “not currently in possession” of the electronic devices prosecutors say contain crucial documents concerning his Trump Organization work.

•  In Sworn Deposition, Trump Says He Has Real Concerns About Being Killed By a Piece of Fruit (4-27-22) Pineapples, tomatoes, and bananas are “dangerous stuff” that could take a person’s life, the ex-president testified.
Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth (Doug Bock Clark, Alexandra Berzon and Kirsten Berg, ProPublica, 4-26-22) Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.
A Fact-Checked List of Trump Accomplishments (Farah Stockman, Opinion, NY Times, 9-11-2020) A checklist, in case you can't remember them all.
How Biden Should Investigate Trump (James Fallows, The Atlantic, 12-9-2020) The misdeeds and destructive acts are legion. The new president should focus on these three: "corrupt and possibly criminal” offenses, "corrosion of government rather than corruption of government," and three outright catastrophes, of which one, the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic is "the greatest failure of governance in U.S. history."
Yoni Appelbaum's pieces in The Atlantic up to 2021.
Litigation Tracker (Just Security) Pending Criminal and Civil Cases Against Donald Trump.

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She Took the White House Photos. Trump Moved to Take the Profit. (Eric Lipton and Maggie Haberman, NY Times, 3-31-22) The former chief White House photographer made plans to publish a book of Trump photos. The former president had other plans. Official photographers from every White House since President Ronald Reagan’s have published their own books. Barack Obama and George W. Bush were so supportive that they wrote forewords for them. But like so much else involving Mr. Trump, the plan by his chief photographer, Shealah Craighead, did not follow this bipartisan norm. Mr. Trump jumped the gun and did his own book of photographs. "Since leaving office, Mr. Trump has sought multiple ways to monetize his presidency, from charging supporters to attend an event and take photos with him to selling MAGA merchandise. He also has a long history of disputes from before his political career with business partners and over the years faced regular accusations that he did not properly compensate contractors."
How Donald Trump Captured the Republican Party (Romesh Ratnesar, NY Times, 2-22-22) A review of INSURGENCY: How Republicans Lost Their Party and Got Everything They Ever Wanted by Jeremy W. Peters.“Insurgency” chronicles the astonishingly swift transformation of the Republican Party, from the genteel preserve of pro-business elites to a snarling personality cult that views the Jan. 6 insurrection as an exercise in legitimate political discourse. The outlines of the Republicans’ hard-right turn are by now largely familiar. Watching the reality-television star deliver remarks from the Trump Tower food court to a crowd that allegedly included actors who had been paid $50 to hold signs and cheer, [Steve] Bannon couldn’t contain himself. “That’s Hitler!” Bannon said. And, as Jeremy W. Peters writes in this spirited new history, “he meant it as a compliment.” What distinguishes “Insurgency” is its blend of political acuity and behind-the-scenes intrigue.
How did Trump’s name end up on coronavirus relief checks in 2020? ABC News successfully sued to find out. (Chris Young, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 3-2-22)
Trump had positive COVID test before event with Gold Star families: book (Leo Shane III, Military Times, 12-1-21) When Trump came down with a life-threatening case of Covid, he suggested that he might have caught it from Gold Star families he had met with after his positive test. He not only concealed the result but also proceeded to put hundreds of people at risk by continuing his normal activities while refusing to wear a mask or practice social distancing. H/T Paul Krugman.
The Ecological Destruction from the Border Wall, in “American Scar” (New Yorker documentary, Film by Daniel Lombroso, Text by Murat Oztaskin, 4-30-22) Congress didn't go along with Trump's call for a border wall, so in early 2019, the President found a different way: he declared a national emergency at the southern border, a move that allowed him to reallocate funds for the wall’s construction from the Department of Defense. All told, the Trump Administration built more than four hundred and fifty miles of the barrier, about a quarter of the length of the U.S.’s border with Mexico. Construction continued until the moment of Joe Biden’s Inauguration. Funding the project from the D.O.D.’s budget and classifying it as a matter of national security offered the Trump Administration a way around protections: it made the wall’s construction exempt from the stipulations of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and more than eighty other laws and statutes. “There’s a certain kind of lawlessness that applies to the southern border that does not apply anywhere else,” said Stephania Taladrid, a New Yorker writer who’s covered the effects of the border wall, and who reported and produced “American Scar.”

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Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (Jeffrey Goldberg,The Atlantic, 9-3-20) The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic. President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, saying “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”
A Political Obituary for Donald Trump (George Packer, The Atlantic, 12-9-2020) "The United States’ score on the human-rights organization Freedom House’s annual index dropped from 90 out of 100 under President Barack Obama to 86 under Trump, below that of Greece and Mauritius. Trump withdrew the U.S. from 13 international organizations, agreements, and treaties. The number of refugees admitted into the country annually fell from 85,000 to 12,000. About 400 miles of barrier were built along the southern border. The whereabouts of the parents of 666 children seized at the border by U.S. officials remain unknown."
Documentary “Plot to Overturn the Election" Reveals Origins of the Stolen Election Myth (ProPublica and Frontline, 3-29-22) A group of people working from a plantation in South Carolina spread misinformation about the November 2020 election. These falsehoods have since become articles of faith for many Republicans. Watch "The Plot to Overturn the Election" (54 min.)
Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war (Peter Geoghegan, openDemocracy, 11-9-2020) "Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy. Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days....As Tuesday night moved into Wednesday morning, Trump held the Sunshine State comfortably, mainly thanks to Latino voters in the state's most populous county, Miami-Dade, shifting in huge numbers from Clinton in 2016 to Trump this time around. Why? One reason is the months of YouTube videos and Facebook posts that led many in Miami to believe that Biden was a stalking horse for socialism, anathema to the city's large Cuban ex-pat population. These conspiracy theories were shared widely and then repeated incessantly on Spanish-language radio."

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What if a U.S, presidential candidate refuses to concede after an election? (Van Jones, TED Talk about how to stop a coup, October 2020) You can read transcript as you listen. "The president’s litigation strategy is unlikely to succeed, but it’s doing great harm in the meantime." Explaining why the customary concession speech is one of the most important safeguards for democracy, Jones exposes shocking legal loopholes that could enable a candidate to grab power even if they lose both the popular vote and the electoral college.

     Did you know "that under our constitution a presidential candidate could actually lose the popular vote, fail to get a majority in the electoral college, refuse to concede, manipulate hidden mechanisms in our government and still get sworn in as the president of the United States of America? Everyone essentially ignores the elite electoral process...".A concession speech is "the one speech no presidential candidate ever wants to give, and yet, it is that public address that is most important for the health and the well-being of our nation....The best way to stop a coup is to update and strengthen our democratic system as soon as this election is over. Maybe we need to rethink, reimagine or just get rid of this whole electoral college, extra inning thing in the first place.
      "Get informed. A number of progressive organizations are already working hard to warn Americans about this growing threat to our democracy. Some organizations you could look into and research for yourself: choosedemocracy.us, electiontaskforce.org, protectdemocracy.org, mobilize.us, allamericans.org, civicalliance.com and the Fight Back table at demos.org. All these groups are working on this. Now, on the right, if that's your cup of tea, you could also check out The Heritage Foundation or the Government Accountability Institute."

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The Making of Donald Trump David Cay Johnston. An easy read: a once-over lightly survey of why this man should never have been allowed to hold office -- covering Trump's taxes and shockingly crooked tax dodging (easily done as a real estate tycoon), his casinos, Trump University, the fake names he's used in phone calls with the press, links with mafia members and Roy Cohn, his use of lawyers to bully, how he caused the destruction of the nascent United States Football League, his amorphous net worth, fake awards he has given himself, his golf courses, and the huckster's perpetual myth maintenance. (H/T Franklin the Mouse)
How a Future President Can Hold the Trump Administration Accountable (Sam Berger, Center for American Progress, 8-5-2020)
President Trump’s 3,400 conflicts of interest (Corruption, Crew, 9-24-2020) The conflicts include visits to Trump properties by foreign government officials, taxpayer spending at Trump businesses, and Trump’s own blatant promotions of the businesses. CREW has tracked around two conflicts of interest per day, but that is likely only the tip of the iceberg. According to data from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Trump made at least 500 visits to his own hotels, golf courses, restaurants, and other facilities during his four years in office. Special-interest groups held 130 events at Trump properties.

Trump wanted to launch missiles into Mexico to rid of drug labs: Esper memoir (Kelly McClure, Salon, 5-5-22) In a memoir written by Trump's former defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, it's revealed that the former president would often suggest shocking weapons-based forms of problem solving such as blowing up Mexican drug labs with missiles and shooting anti-police brutality demonstrators.
Heather Cox Richardson (5-6-22) "In other news today, a new book coming out by Mark Esper, former secretary of defense under Trump, reveals that the former president wanted the military to recall to active duty retired General Stan McChrystal and Admiral William H. McRaven in order to court-martial them for disloyalty to him. It also says that Trump wanted to have the U.S. military launch missiles at Mexican drug labs, quoting him as telling Esper that “[w]e could just shoot some Patriot missiles” into our neighbor and ally, Mexico, and no one would know it was the U.S. because Trump could just deny it.
"Esper pointed out that such an attack on a sovereign nation would be an act of war."

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Trump’s company has received at least $970,000 from U.S. taxpayers for room rentals (David A. Fahrenthold and Joshua Partlow, WaPo, 5-14-2020)
Judge slaps down Trump appointee who has sought to reshape Voice of America and related agencies (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 11-21-2020) 'Lee R. Crain, one of the attorneys who represented the plaintiffs, said Howell’s ruling ensures that journalists at the agencies can ‘rest assured that the First Amendment protects them from government efforts to control” their reporting. “They are free to do exactly what Congress intended: export independent, First Amendment-style journalism to the world.”... Michael "Pack had asserted the right to direct how journalists at VOA and sister networks such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia covered the news, a violation of the traditional “firewall” that ensures the networks aren’t government mouthpieces.'

      See also Court Injunction Bars USAGM From Editorial Interference (Jessica Jerreat, VOA News,11-21-2020) and see U.S. Government-Funded Broadcasters Must Remain Free from Political Interference PEN America (11-22-2020) decries "vandalism" being committed by USAGM CEO Michael Pack, files court brief in lawsuit against the U.S. Agency for Global Media. "Since its inception, public broadcast journalism's challenge has been to win the trust of its audience—to bury any impression that Radio Free Europe, for example, is an American Pravda."
An Oral History of Trump’s Bigotry (David A. Graham, Adrienne Green, Cullen Murphy, and Parker Richards, The Atlantic, June 2019) His racism and intolerance have always been in evidence; only slowly did he begin to understand how to use them to his advantage. "One of the things Trump learned when he injected himself into the Central Park Five case was that he could get attention for himself because he was a spokesman for a certain type of Archie Bunker New Yorker. I think that’s one of the bonds that he shares with [Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor] Rudy Giuliani: They’re both profoundly guys from that moment in New York when a lot of racial boundaries got drawn."
Making Sense (Sam Harris's podcast, 10-30-2020). This link takes you to Harris's fascinating discussion with Andrew Sullivan about why Trump has been so successful despite being a horrible person.
How Trump Became the Pro-Infection Candidate (Dhruv Khullar, New Yorker, 10-23-2020)
The Coup Stage of Donald Trump’s Presidency (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 11-20-2020) Is it a coup or a con? Trump’s bad con continues to show how easy it would be to stage a good one. Then we would call it a coup.

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Trump's Clown Coup (Susan B. Glasser, New Yorker, 11-20-2020) We’ve been getting used to painful truths for so long that the awful enormity of the current situation doesn’t hit us in the way it should. The G.O.P. leadership, which has tolerated so many abuses by Trump, is now openly complicit in his worst one yet.
How Trump and His Enablers Are Laying the Groundwork For a Coup d'état (A Pointed View, 11-10-2020) There's an interesting discussion of this on Facebook (launched by Anita Bartholomew's post).
In 1,316 days, President Trump has made 22,247 false or misleading claims (Washington Post Fact Checker) The Fact Checker’s ongoing database of the false or misleading claims made by President Trump since assuming office. A timeline of untruths, along with the facts. See also Trump is averaging more than 50 false or misleading claims a day (Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, The Fact Checker, 10-22-2020)
Disappearing Data (HuffPost Report, 10-28-2020) Data is the lifeblood of a functioning government. Over the past four years, the Trump administration has destroyed, disappeared or distorted vast swathes of the information the state needs to protect the vulnerable, safeguard our health, and alert us to emerging crises. This is an accounting of the damage in several areas where data is crucial: The Pandemic, Climate Change, The Vulnerable, Pollution, Science, Food, Conservation, and the Census.

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The President's Taxes: Long-Concealed Records Show Trump’s Chronic Losses and Years of Tax Avoidance (Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, NY Times, 9-27-2020--part of a series) The Times obtained Donald Trump’s tax information extending over more than two decades, revealing struggling properties, vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due. "Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made." The returns "reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base....Indeed, his financial condition when he announced his run for president in 2015 lends some credence to the notion that his long-shot campaign was at least in part a gambit to reanimate the marketability of his name."
The Swamp That Trump Built (Nicholas Confessore, Karen Yourish, Steve Eder, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, Grace Ashford, Michael LaForgia, Kenneth P. Vogel, Michael Rothfeld and Larry Buchanan, NY Times, 10-10-2020) A businessman-president transplanted favor-seeking in Washington to his family’s hotels and resorts — and earned millions as a gatekeeper to his own administration.
18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records (NY Times, 9-27-2020) Times reporters have obtained decades of tax information the president has hidden from public view. Among the key findings of The Times’s investigation: "Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750. He has reduced his tax bill with questionable measures, including a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. Many of his signature businesses, including his golf courses, report losing large amounts of money — losses that have helped him to lower his taxes."Read on.
Trump Engineered a Sudden Windfall in 2016 as Campaign Funds Dwindled (Susanne Craig, Mike McIntire and Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-9-2020) Tax records expose more than $21 million in highly unusual payments from the Las Vegas hotel Donald Trump owns with Phil Ruffin, routed through other Trump companies and paid out in cash. His tax records show that "his 'self-funded' presidential campaign was short on funds, and he was struggling to win over leery Republican donors. His golf courses and the hotel he would soon open in the Old Post Office in Washington were eating away at what cash he had left on hand....And in early 2016, Deutsche Bank, the last big lender still doing business with him, unexpectedly turned down his request for a loan. The funds, Mr. Trump had told his bankers, would help shore up his Turnberry golf resort in Scotland. Some bankers feared the money would instead be diverted to his campaign."

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Misinformation about Biden’s health spreads after debate (Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 9-30-2020) TikTok videos and Trump ads with false information got more than 700,000 views and clicks. See also Right-wing voices are dominating Facebook after the first presidential debate (WaPo, 9-30-2020) Many Americans who primarily get news from Facebook are living in a media ecosystem where the winner of the debate is clear: President Trump crushed Joe Biden. But Facebook and Twitter take unusual steps to limit spread of New York Post story (Dwoskin, WaPo, 10-15-2020) "Four years after Russian operatives exploited tech giants’ services during a presidential contest, the companies’ swift and aggressive steps in responding to the unverified story, and their divergent responses, are a real-time case study in their ability to protect the integrity of an election that has been marred by domestic disinformation and misleading accounts. That activity has included misinformation about Biden’s health, the dying wish of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the validity of mail-in ballots — much of it spread by Trump and his supporters."
Trump got a $21 million tax break for saving the forest outside his N.Y. mansion. Now the deal is under investigation. (Joshua Partlow, Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post, 10-9-2020) Five years ago, Donald Trump promised to preserve more than 150 acres of rolling woodlands in an exclusive swath of New York suburbia prized for its luxury homes and rural tranquility. He wrote off the cost as a business expense and the family calls it "a retreat for the Trump family."

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Trump says he's leaving hospital for White House, feels good (Zeke Miller, Jill Colvin, and Aamer Madhani, AP, 10-5-2020) "For more than eight months, Trump's efforts to play down the threat of the virus in hopes of propping up the economy ahead of the election have drawn bipartisan criticism....According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with mild to moderate symptoms can be contagious for as many — and should isolate for at least — 10 day. On Sunday afternoon, Trump briefly ventured out of the hospital while contagious to salute cheering supporters by motorcade — an outing that disregarded precautions meant to contain the virus....Less than one month before Election Day, Trump was eager to project strength despite his illness. The still-infectious president surprised supporters who had gathered outside the hospital, riding by Sunday in a black SUV with the windows rolled up. Secret Service agents inside the vehicle could be seen in masks and other protective gear....[Sunday] was the second straight day of obfuscation from a White House already suffering from a credibility crisis. And it raised more doubts about whether the doctors treating the president were sharing accurate, timely information with the American public about the severity of his condition."
‘It’s like every red flag’: Trump-ordered HHS ad blitz raises alarms (Dan Diamond, Politico, 9-25-2020) "The health department is moving quickly on a highly unusual advertising campaign to "defeat despair" about the coronavirus, a $300 million-plus effort that was shaped by a political appointee close to President Donald Trump and executed in part by close allies of the official, using taxpayer funds....[Michael] Caputo, who has no medical or scientific background, claimed in a Facebook video on Sept. 13 that the campaign was "demanded of me by the president of the United States. Personally."...But 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign's scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic, rather than working with lawmakers to set up a brand-new advertising effort with congressional oversight, or drawing on substantial internal resources and expertise in running health-related public service campaigns....But 10 current and former health officials told POLITICO that they have concerns about the campaign's scope, goals and even how it has been funded — by pulling money out of health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control that are in the midst of fighting the pandemic, rather than working with lawmakers to set up a brand-new advertising effort with congressional oversight, or drawing on substantial internal resources and expertise in running health-related public service campaigns."

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The Coronavirus and the Threat Within the White House ( David Remnick, New Yorker, 10-3-2020) "The best security system and the most solicitous medical officers in the world could not protect Donald Trump from a danger that he insisted on belittling and ignoring....The Centers for Disease Control and other public-health institutions have long said that wearing masks is essential to minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. Trump has been of another opinion, a delusional one."

The Plot to Keep Meatpacking Plants Open During COVID-19 (Michael Grabell, ProPublica, 5-13-22) Newly released documents reveal that the meatpacking industry’s callousness toward the health of its workers and its influence over the Trump administration were far greater than previously known. Congressional investigators have reported on a high-pressure lobbying campaign by the meat industry leading to one of the most consequential moments in the nation’s COVID-19 response: Trump's presidential order that effectively thwarted efforts by local health officials to shut plants down and slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Battle Over “The Room Where It Happened” Continues (Authors Guild, 9-24-2020) "On September 15, the Trump Administration continued its campaign against John Bolton and his book The Room Where It Happened by opening a criminal inquiry into whether Bolton had unlawfully disclosed classified information in his bestselling memoir. Ellen Knight, formerly of the National Security Council, expressed concern 'about the politicization -- or even the perceived politicization -- of the prepublication review process. Once authors start perceiving that manuscripts are being reviewed for political considerations, they will lose confidence in the integrity of the process and find ways to publish or release their works without submitting them for review. This could result in unchecked disclosures of sensitive information and the potential for serious damage to our national security.' Ms. Knight’s letter states that the Bolton prepublication review process “entailed an unprecedented amount of interaction between the political appointees in the NSC Legal staff and the career prepublication review staff.”
Twitter’s Trump Fact Check Won’t Solve Much, but at Least It’s Something (Dahlia Lithwick, Future Tense, Slate, 5-27-2020) Twitter took the unprecedented step of attaching warning labels accompanied by links to fact checks to two of the president’s false tweets. The president then went on to threaten that Twitter was “completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” although anyone with a brain quickly pointed out that private companies are not state actors and Trump has no First Amendment claims here.
The First Amendment: what it really means for free speech and why Donald Trump is trampling on it (Eliza Bechtold, The Conversation, 8-5-19) "...there is no First Amendment right to use Twitter or have a Facebook page. As private entities, social media companies are free to adopt policies relating to user content and to remove users who violate such policies without implicating the First Amendment. Moreover, the First Amendment protects the expression of corporations and other associations, as well as individuals. This means that Facebook, Twitter, and others have free speech rights."

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Judges toss lawsuit alleging anti-conservative bias on social media (Marc DeAngelis, Engadget, 5-28-2020) In 2018, the nonprofit organization Freedom Watch and a conservative YouTuber named Laura Loomer tried to sue social media companies. They alleged that Twitter, Facebook and Google -- which owns YouTube -- broke antitrust laws and violated their First Amendment rights by conspiring to suppress conservative viewpoints. Their case was dropped last year, but they appealed the decision. According to Bloomberg, a federal appeals court today affirmed the decision to drop the suit, leaving the tech companies in the clear.The plaintiffs say that tech companies conspired to suppress conservative views. See also Freedom Watch and Laura Loomer Lose Lawsuit Against Social Media Platforms (Eugene Volokh, The Volokh Conspiracy, 5-27-2020) No, said the Court. The plaintiffs' First Amendment claim failed because "the First Amendment 'prohibits only governmental abridgment of speech," because there was no evidence of an anticompetitive behavior by platforms, and because D.C.'s public accommodation statute doesn't apply to online service providers.
The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President (McKay Coppins, The Atlantic, 2-10-2020) How new technologies and techniques pioneered by dictators will shape the 2020 election. After the 2016 election, much was made of the threats posed to American democracy by foreign disinformation. Stories of Russian troll farms and Macedonian fake-news mills loomed in the national imagination. But while these shadowy outside forces preoccupied politicians and journalists, Trump and his domestic allies were beginning to adopt the same tactics of information warfare that have kept the world's demagogues and strongmen in power.
Literary Group Goes to Court to Stop Donald Trump From Violating the First Amendment (Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 10-16-18) The Pen America Center says Trump is using his power to unconstitutionally punish and intimidate The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, the White House press corps and others who cover his administration.
Why Bill Barr Turned on Trump (Donald Ayer, The Atlantic, 9-19-22) No one should think he’s having second thoughts about the awful things he did in office. Remember that Barr sought out the opportunity to serve as Trump’s attorney general by submitting a memorandum in June 2018, expanding upon his long-held, breathtaking vision that the Founders created an all-powerful president immune from virtually any limitation on his powers.
Almost 2,000 former Justice officials condemn department for dropping Flynn case (Rebecca Klar, The Hill, 5-11-2020) 'Nearly 2,000 former Department of Justice (DOJ) officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations condemned the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr on Monday for moving to drop charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The former officials said Barr “once again assaulted the rule of law” and accused the attorney general of using the department “as a tool to further President Trump’s personal and political interests.” ' See also ‘A constant battle of you against the leadership of your country’: Justice Dept. rattled as Flynn fallout reaches FBI (Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post, 5-8-2020) 'While the president continued to criticize the FBI’s conduct, multiple federal law enforcement officials interviewed Friday expressed varying degrees of anger, resignation and alarm over the decision by Attorney General William P. Barr to abandon the prosecution of Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States before Trump took office. “The attorney general is supposed to be above reproach and apolitical in terms of how the department operates and how he or she as an individual operates, and he’s just completely lost that,” said one veteran Justice Department lawyer who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. “He’s Trump’s attorney. He’s not the country’s attorney.” '
How Trump Supporters Came to Hate the Police (Luke Mogelson, New Yorker, 9-10-22) At the Capitol riot and elsewhere, MAGA Republicans have leaped from “backing the blue” to attacking law-enforcement officials."One way to think about January 6th is as the consummation, in real time, of a tumultuous shift between two distinct eras of conservatism. Before 2020, most conservatives celebrated law enforcement as the protectors of a system that was, on balance, reliably favorable to their interests. By the end of 2020, after the lockdowns and the election, many conservatives had come to see that system the same way that right-wing extremists did—as corrupt and tyrannical, perhaps even satanic. At the same time, so long as Trump was still in power and weaponizing law enforcement against leftists, neither conservatives nor the police were forced to confront what this meant for their alliance. That reckoning could no longer be avoided on January 6th, and it is understandable that people on both sides of the line persisted in respecting the terms of a compact that was now obsolete."

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Kelly and Pompeo: How A Journalist Masterfully Combated Gaslighting (Stephanie Sarkis, Forbes, 1-25-2020) A brief demo on how to address gaslighters talking over you, spouting misinformation, acting as if they're being bullied, lying to make you look unreasonable, etc.
Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All (Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 7-18-16) “The Art of the Deal” made America see Trump as a charmer with an unfailing knack for business. Tony Schwartz helped create that myth—and regrets it. Over the decades, Trump appeared to have convinced himself that he had written the book. Schwartz recalls thinking, “If he could lie about that on Day One—when it was so easily refuted—he is likely to lie about anything.” “He has no attention span.” “. . .it’s impossible to keep him focussed on any topic, other than his own self-aggrandizement, for more than a few minutes, and even then . . . ” Trump’s short attention span has left him with “a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.” He said, “That’s why he so prefers TV as his first news source—information comes in easily digestible sound bites.” Edward Kosner, the former editor and publisher of New York, where Schwartz worked as a writer at the time, says, “Tony created Trump. He’s Dr. Frankenstein.”
Defending Rights & Dissent Opposes Trump Executive Order Equating Support for Palestinian Rights with Anti-Semitic Discrimination (Defending Rights & Dissent, 12-11-19) Anti-Semitism is a real threat, but it is a distortion of civil rights to use federal civil rights law to suppress speech in support of Palestinian rights.
Judgment days (Stephanie McCrummen, Washington Post, 7-21-18) In a small Alabama town, an evangelical congregation reckons with God, President Trump and the meaning of morality. How can people who purport to disapprove of sinfulness of all kinds vote for a twice-divorced alleged adulterer who has boasted of sexual assault? What was important was not the character of the president but his positions, they said, and one mattered more than all the others. “Abortion,” said Linda, whose eyes teared up when she talked about it. Read that and then read this: Avoiding false judgments in journalism about Trump’s evangelical supporters (Brook Wilensky-Lanford, Nieman Storyboard, 4-11-19) A religion scholar assesses how the Washington Post's Stephanie McCrummen avoids predictable pitfalls in "Judgment Days."
ICE Has Kept Tabs on ‘Anti-Trump’ Protesters in New York City (Jimmy Tobias, The Nation, 3-6-19) Documents reveal that the immigration enforcement agency has been keenly attuned to left-leaning protests in the city. “If [the Department of Homeland Security] is specifically focusing on those who are against the current president, it gets into the realm of what fascist regimes do,” says Jody Kuh, a volunteer organizer with Rise and Resist. “If they are watching us because we are against the current president’s policies, it is more than a little disturbing.”

A Brief History of Fascist Lies by Federico Finchelstein (University of California Press, 2020) Excerpt: "The same lies that motivated the El Paso killer are at the center of Trumpism and the so-called effort to Make America Great Again. Lying about things that are part of the permanent record has become part of the American president’s daily routine. Trump continuously has used specific propaganda techniques, lying with-out consequence, replacing rational debate with paranoia and resentment, and casting reality itself into doubt. Trump’s attacks on the mainstream media and the extensive documented instances where he claims he didn’t say something that is in fact in the public record are related to the history of fascist lies analyzed in this book."

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Inside the Steele Dossier & The Fusion GPS Investigation Of Trump (listen to Terry Gross, Fresh Air, 11-26-19) During the 2016 campaign, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch hired former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele to investigate Donald Trump's involvement with Russia. Their book about this topic is Crime in Progress (the inside story of the high-stakes, four-year-long investigation into Donald Trump’s Russia ties—culminating in the Steele dossier, and sparking the Mueller report—from the founders of political opposition research company Fusion GPS) This Washington Post review of the book may help you decide whether to read further.
The Summer of Chaos and God (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate, 9-5-19) 'A preference for chaos on the far right is connected to God in ways Democrats can barely talk about, much less comprehend, whether it’s the fundamental disconnect around evangelical support for unfettered gun rights or the right’s rejection of environmental protection or immigrants’ rights. But the more morally discordant Trump’s policies and politics are, the more he is seen as fighting for religious rights. This is not a claim that all or even most religious belief is nihilist—it is just a recognition that there is a deeply nihilist strain in some religious quarters, one that dovetails perfectly with the impulse to “blow it all up.”'
Trump Can’t Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 7-9-19) "Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts — and engaging in conversations in the replies to them — because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled unanimously." "The decision may have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to officials’ accounts in the social-media era."
The Invention of the Conspiracy Theory on Biden and Ukraine (Jane Mayer, New Yorker, 10-4-19) How a conservative dark-money group that targeted Hillary Clinton in 2016 spread the discredited story that may lead to Donald Trump’s impeachment. See also the book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green, as well as the article “Stupid Watergate” Is Worse Than the Original (David Remnick, New Yorker, 10-4-19) "...his corruption is totally as we see it, out front. He doesn’t try to hide it. He doesn’t try to hide the conflicts of interest or the lying. He is not a secretive conspirator. Donald Trump’s behavior echoes Nixon’s in one sense: he and his confederates appear to have been engaged in an effort to undermine the integrity of a Presidential election."

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The Difference Between Leaking and Whistle-Blowing in the Trump White House (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 10-4-19) 'A whistle-blower often speaks out with the aim of halting some wrongdoing, but a leaker’s motives are generally self-serving....We have normalized Trumpism to such an extent that journalists and politicians didn’t know how to think about the Ukraine story until the whistle-blower framed it as an egregious abuse of power....Yet it took two and a half years for someone with significant access to the Administration to go through the process of systematically collecting information and transmitting it through the institutional channels created specifically for the purpose of saying, “This is not normal.”'
What is Trumpcare? (Larry Levitt, news@JAMA, 9-25-19)
Who Are Donald Trump's Supporters? Trump Nation (USA Today Interactives) They’re not clichés. The USA TODAY NETWORK interviewed voters in every state to find out. Read their comments.
Trump the Truth: A Timeline of Assaults on Free Expression (Pen America) The Trump the Truth timeline, maintained and updated by PEN America during the first year of the Trump Administration, was used to track important developments during the Trump Administration that posed a threat to undermine free expression and press freedoms (or, from another viewpoint, express his opinion). See also PEN America's Trump the Truth report and timeline (PDF in standard prose format).
PolitiFact's Truth-o-Meter report on Trump. See especially All statements by Trump, rated as true or false or somewhere in between. (36 pages as of 7-25-19)
•“My father never got so much as a speeding ticket in his life,” says Eric Trump, whose father paid $25 million to people he defrauded through Trump University.
Under Trump, LGBTQ Progress Is Being Reversed in Plain Sight (Kirsten Berg and Moiz Syed, ProPublica, 11-22-19) Donald Trump promised he would fight for LGBTQ people. Instead, his administration has systematically undone recent gains in their rights and protections. Since taking office, Trump’s administration has acted to dismantle federal protections and resources for LGBTQ Americans, particularly those gained under President Barack Obama. Here are 31 examples.
'Times' Journalists Puncture Myth Of Trump As Self-Made Billionaire (Terry Gross interviews investigative reporters Susanne Craig and David Barstow, who say the president received today's equivalent of $413 million from his father's real estate empire, through what appears to be tax fraud. See also Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father (Susanne Craig and David Barstow and Russ Buettner, NY Times, 10-2-18) The president has long sold himself as a self-made billionaire, but a Times investigation found that he received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through schemes to avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar gifts in the family.
Mueller report suggests the ‘fake news’ came from Trump, not the news media (Paul Farhi, WaPo, 4-18-19) Mueller's report cites multiple instances in which Trump and White House aides misled or lied to journalists or in public statements as the investigation was unfolding....In fact, according to Mueller’s report, Trump’s first reaction [to news of Mueller's appointment] was anything but calm. According to notes taken by an aide, Trump responded by saying, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my Presidency. I’m f-cked. . . . This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
Donald Trump Fact Check (Toronto Star)

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When Donald met Scott: a reporter's view of Trump and his White House wonderland (Katharine Murphy, The Guardian, 9-27-19) Australian PM Scott Morrison received a full-blown welcome from the US president. " If he doesn’t understand, the president will say: “Say it.” This means ask the question again, she says."
Why PEN America Is Suing Donald Trump (Jennifer Egan, LitHub, 10-18-18) "Trump's vitriol against reporters has made political journalism a more dangerous practice....President Trump’s frank admiration for authoritarian rulers makes his efforts to hobble a free press here in America all the more alarming. His actions conform to what some call an 'authoritarian playbook' for modern tyrants, in which the curtailing of free speech occurs subtly and gradually through a system of governmental rewards and punishments that encourage cooperation and gradually chill opposing voices."
Hundreds of Newspapers Denounce Trump's Attacks on Media in Coordinated Editorials(James Doubek, NPR, 8-16-18) NPR does not have an editorial board, and did not take part in Thursday's coordinated effort. The project was spearheaded by staff members of the editorial page at the Globe. See
---A Free Press Needs You (Editorial, NY Times, 8-15-18)
--- "Americans may not like the news they see or hear but they should not hold that against those who report it. In short, don’t shoot the messenger." --TriCorner News, LakeVille Journal, 8-15-18)
---Journalists are not the enemy (Boston Globe editorial board, 8-15-18)
---"Self-governance demands that our citizens need to be well-informed and that's what we're here to do. ... Some think we're rude to question and challenge. We know it's our obligation."--The Times of North Little Rock
---"Journalists are used to being insulted. It comes with the job ... But being called an enemy — and not of a politician or cause, but of the whole people of a nation — that's something else entirely."-- Topeka Capital-Journal
EPA Lets AP Reporter Back Into Summit After She Was Shoved Out Of Building (DAvid Bauder, Talking Points Memo, 5-22-18) AP journalist Ellen Knickmeyer and reporters from CNN and E&E News were told they could not attend an invitation-only event, a summit on a class of chemicals present in dangerous amounts in many water systems around the country. Knickmeyer "was earlier barred and shoved out of the building by a security guard." “We understand the importance of an open and free press and we hope the EPA does, too,” CNN said. Scott Pruitt apparently does not.

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Trump admin tightens media access for federal scientists: report (Ali Breland, The Hill, 6-21-18) The Trump administration is directing federal scientists in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to get approval from the Department of the Interior, its parent agency, before speaking to reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "The employees said that they believe the new policies were established to control the voices of Interior employees. They believe the move is a part of larger efforts to quell discourse about climate change, which the agency has produced research on."
"It's the law, stupid," and seven other lessons from the EPA's botched media blackout. (Indira Lakshmanan, Poynter, 5-24-18) The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that any advisory group making recommendations to the federal government “shall be open to the public.” Journalists protect their interests if they’re versed in open records and open meetings laws.
Board objects to EPA press office action (National Association of Science Writers, 3-26-18) Inpart: "With the March 20 “press release,” EPA effectively limited its discussion of a major science policy story to a handpicked, partisan outlet. It also encouraged journalists to learn details about this story from a published article, which can never be a basis of responsible news reporting.
"When reporters contact the EPA Press Office asking for information regarding the activities of a taxpayer-funded organization, those queries should be answered swiftly by knowledgeable staff. The same holds when journalists request public documents from an agency."
Judge: Trump Can’t Block Twitter Users(Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 5-13-18).S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking Twitter users who criticized him and his policies. Her ruling is an extraordinary victory for free speech on the internet and a harsh rebuke to Trump’s effort to prevent his critics from engaging with him online.
The White House's attack on scientists could manipulate public opinion (Lauren Kurtz and Romany Webb, Opinion, The Hill, 2-28-18) "The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget, unveiled last Monday, proposes cuts in essential funding for scientific research and education. Unfortunately, this attack on science is not an isolated incident. Barely a year into President Trump’s term, there have already been 111 attempts by the federal government to censor, misrepresent, or stifle science. Many appear intended to gain support for the administration’s efforts to prop up the fossil fuel industry... At the Department of the Interior (DOI), a website discussing the environmental and other risks of fossil fuel development was changed to emphasize economic benefits [and to argue against human causes of climate change]. A few months later, large swaths of land previously protected from coal mining and oil and gas drilling were opened to development. Shortly after this, DOI’s Bureau of Land Management changed the image on its homepage from a scenic park vista to a pile of coal, presumably to reinforce the message that public lands are for mining."
Words banned at multiple HHS agencies include ‘diversity’ and ‘vulnerable’ (Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin, WashPost, 12-10-17) "The Trump administration has informed multiple divisions within the Department of Health and Human Services that they should avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year’s budget. The words to avoid: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.” Participants at HHS were also told to use “Obamacare” instead of ACA, or the Affordable Care Act, and to use “exchanges” instead of “marketplaces” to describe the venues where people can purchase health insurance. At the CDC, budget analysts were told they could use an alternative phrase instead of “evidence-based” or “science-based” in budget documents. That phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes.”
The CDC analyst said it was clear to participants that they were to avoid those seven words but only in drafting budget documents.

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Homeland Security Used a Private Intelligence Firm to Monitor Family Separation Protests (Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, 4-19-19) In the last two years, law enforcement agencies executing the Trump administration’s immigration agenda have cracked down on critics of the president’s policies. Among the targeted: humanitarian volunteers providing food, water, and medical aid to migrants trekking through the desert, and immigration attorneys, journalists, and activists working with, and around, migrant caravans.“This is a chilling revelation, but follows an even scarier trend of constant government surveillance and policing of immigrant communities, and targeting of activists and journalists,” Jesse Franzblau, a senior policy analyst with the National Immigrant Justice Center.
The police threw the book at Trump Protesters in DC but sat and watched White Supremacists terrorize Charlottesville (Sandra Fulton, HuffPost, 8-29-17) "Last week, the Department of Justice altered a sweeping warrant, which sought to collect personal information on every visitor to an anti-Trump website that organized protests on Inauguration Day....The demand seems to be in line with a broader trend within the Trump Administration—a harsh crackdown against any group that disagrees with President Trump. For his part, Trump has categorized these protesters as the “Alt-Left,” a term that doesn’t seem to apply to any easily-defined entity beyond the paranoid imaginings of Trump and his allies." "The administration and law enforcement are using a range of tactics — from electronic surveillance to a growing number of anti-protest laws — to criminalize anyone that organizes in the streets to protest the president and his policies. But how are law enforcement and the administration responding to the very real threats coming from white supremacists like those who marched earlier this month on Charlottesville?'
Leaked FBI Documents Reveal Bureau’s Priorities Under Trump (Ken Klippenstein, The Young Turks, 8-8-19) Under President Trump, the FBI’s official counterterrorism priorities have included “Black Identity Extremists,” “anti-authority” extremists, and “animal rights/environmental extremists,” according to leaked Bureau documents.... When an August 2017 internal FBI report referencing the counterterrorism threat posed by “Black Identity Extremists” was published by Foreign Policy, the FBI became the subject of intense criticism for adopting what critics alleged was a racially loaded term....While the documents depict concerns about violent black extremist attacks, they do not cite a single specific attack — unlike white supremacist attacks, of which several prominent examples are provided....So grave did the Bureau consider the threat of black extremists that from 2019 to 2020, using new designations, it listed the threat at the very top of its counterterrorism priorities — above even terror groups like Al Qaeda."
Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site (Morgan Chalfant, The Hill, 8-14-17) "DreamHost claimed that the complying with the request from the Justice Department would amount to handing over roughly 1.3 million visitor IP addresses to the government, in addition to contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors to the website, which was involved in organizing protests against Trump on Inauguration Day. “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost wrote in the blog post on Monday. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”
Trump Administration Starts Returning Copies of C.I.A. Torture Report to Congress (Mark Mazzetti and Mathew Rosenberg, NY Times, 6-2-17) "The Trump administration has begun returning copies of a voluminous 2014 Senate report about the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program to Congress, complying with the demand of a top Republican senator who has criticized the report for being shoddy and excessively critical of the C.I.A....The committee, which was then run by Democrats, also sent copies of the entire classified report to at least eight federal agencies, asking that they incorporate the report into their records — a move that would have made it subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act. That law, which allows citizens, the media and other groups to request access to information held by the federal government, does not apply to congressional records...The full report is not expected to offer evidence of previously undisclosed interrogation techniques, but the interrogation sessions are said to be described in great detail. The report explains the origins of the program and identifies the officials involved, and also offers details on the role of each agency in the secret prison program."
How Can Journalists Protect Themselves During a Trump Administration? (Kaveh Waddell, The Atlantic, 11-10-16) The president-elect’s attacks on the press hint at an unfriendly atmosphere for reporters.
Trump Hates the Press? Take a Number. (Jack Shafer, Politico, 2-17-17) "No matter how grievous the sins of the press may be—and as a press critic, let me tell you, they are grievous—a president can’t forever blame everything on “dishonest reporters,” the “mess” the previous president left behind or the dug-in elites. Reckonings tend to take a while to form, as Nixon and Agnew learned. Trump’s will come."
Trump, who received hundreds of millions of dollars from his father's real estate empire, calls John Fetterman spoiled: 'He lived off his parents' money' (Isabella Zavarise, Yahoo, 9-4-22)
Journalists around the country are joining a Slack channel devoted to FOIA and Trump (Krysten Hare, Poynter, 1-25-17) A few days before President Trump's inauguration, MuckRock opened up a Slack channel to help journalists better cover him and his administration. Sign up here: www.muckrock.com.
How far will President Trump’s media blackout spread? The Sunlight Foundation is trying to find out (Kelly Hinchcliffe, Poynter, 1-25-17)
Hundreds of Newspapers Denounce Trump’s Attacks on Media in Coordinated Editorials (James Doubek, NPR, 8-16-18) Over 300 newspapers published editorials against Trump’s attack on the press. The President responded by calling the media “the opposition party,” and many believe this will only bolster his current platform. Will a united media be enough to reaffirm the First Amendment?
Trump tried to ban top aides from penning tell-all books (Nancy Cook and Andrew Restuccia, Politico, 8-13-18) After the controversy surrounding the Omarosa Manigault Newman tell-all, the President’s use of non-disclosure/disparagement agreements is facing public criticism. The idea that top government officials could be censored from speaking out against abuse of power is frightening. What happens in a world where important political stories cannot be told?

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The Memory Hole 2, run by Russ Kick, and The Internet Archive (The Wayback Machine) save pages that disappear from the Web. Kick's site has been good about saving items deleted by the Trump Administration (including Trump's error-filled Tweets).
Trump shares Twitter accounts linked to conspiracy theory QAnon (Tony Romm and Colby Itkowitz, WaPo, 7-30-19) How QAnon, the bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy theory, took hold in right-wing circles online. (And how Trump tweets its latest claim.
Unsolicited Advice for the White House Press Corps (Jack Shafer, Fourth Estate, Politico, 2-6-17) And keep up to date on Shafer's Twitter feed.
Poll: Trump More Trusted Than The Media (by Republicans) (Curt Mills, US News, 2-9-17) Views on the press and the administration break down along clear party lines. ""The partisan split on this topic is clear – 89 percent of Republicans find the Trump administration truthful, versus 77 percent of Democrats who find the administration untruthful. Conversely, 69 percent of Democrats find the news media truthful, while a whopping 91 percent of Republicans consider them untruthful. Independents consider both untruthful," according to a poll conducted by Emerson College.

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The Private Trump Angst of a Republican Icon (Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker, New Yorker, 9-27-2020) James Baker thinks Trump is “nuts,” but he voted for him once—and may soon do so again?
The Invention of Thanksgiving (Philip Deloria, The New Yorker, 11-18-19) Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday--in which white Americans have from the start tended to play a villainous role. 'Today, Wampanoag people debate whether Thanksgiving should be a day of mourning or a chance to contemplate reconciliation. It’s mighty generous of them....“American Indian” is a political identity, not a racial one, constituted by formal, still living treaties with the United States government and a long series of legal decisions. Today, the Trump Administration would like to deny this history, wrongly categorize Indians as a racial group, and disavow ongoing treaty relationships.'
Trump organizations agree to pay $750,000 to settle lawsuit with D.C. (Keith L. Alexander, WaPo, 5-3-22) The city alleged the groups misused nonprofit funds donated for inauguration to benefit Trump and his family. Lawyers for the District also accused Trump’s organization of improperly using nonprofit funds to throw a private party on Jan. 20, 2017, for Trump’s children — Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric — which cost $300,000. The city also alleged that the Trump Organization, the inaugural committee and the Trump International Hotel misused $1.1 million.
With New Trump Policy, Is the Moon for the Taking? (Ramin Skibba, Undark, 5-30-19) The Trump administration has been vague about what it hopes to accomplish on the moon, but mining may be on the agenda. "Worse yet, the 2024 target date suggests a selfish motive — an attempt by Trump to conjure a dramatic legacy before he leaves office, assuming he is reelected next year. Indeed, recent comments by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine suggest the deadline was chosen with little, if any, consideration of the scientific and engineering challenges."

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Organizations fighting for

First Amendment Rights and Four Freedoms

(and sites)


First Amendment Timeline (Middle Tennessee State University)

Notable First Amendment Cases (ALA) An invaluable summary of landmark and notable court cases, organized by category:
    Foundations of Free Expression: Historic Cases
    The Right to Read Freely
    Freedom of Expression in Schools
    Minors' First Amendment Rights
    Free Press
    The Right to Dissent
    The Right to Free Association and the Freedom of Religion
    Right to Privacy and Anonymity
When is speech unprotected:

   Obscenity and Indecency

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Organizations:
Access Now (an international human rights, public policy, and advocacy group dedicated to an open and free Internet: defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world)
American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (Academic Freedom for a Free Society)
American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), especially the ACLU's Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology and People Power, the ACLU’s effort to engage grassroots volunteers across the country, partly with Resistance Training.
American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom and The Universal Right to Free Expression (An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights) Independent journalists, authors, and content writers.
American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA)
Amnesty International, which among other things provides Tips for Writing Op-eds and Letters to the Editor
Art and Culture Censorship Timeline, hosted by the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Article 19 (UK) ARTICLE 19 envisages a world where people are free to speak their opinions, participate in decision-making, and make informed choices about their lives.

AAPI Victory Alliance a network of Asian American and Pacific Islander Americans

The Authors Guild has commissioned a series of essays by writers on what the First Amendment means to them. T.J. Stiles starts it off with Dissent Shall Set You Free.
Banned Books Week Coalition (BBWC)

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Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), a champion of global online civil liberties and human rights, driving policy outcomes that keep the Internet open, innovative, and free. Has blog and podcasts.
Center for Popular Democracy works to strengthens our collective capacity to envision and win an innovative pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial and economic justice agenda.
Center for Protest Law and Litigation We defend democracy by protecting protest and enforcing constitutional rights, in the courts and in the streets.
• Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. See Lumen.
Columbia Journalism Review: Watchdog
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). Resources include Case Files and a History of Comics Censorship (in six parts).
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
crImmigation (The Intersection of Criminal Law and Immigration Law) Published since 2009 by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández.

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Daily Alert on Free Expression (DARE, PEN America) A daily-curated roundup of the most important free expression-related threats, news, and notable goings-on -- a daily briefing on free expression hot spots (one of the best ways to stay on top of current issues/events).
Defending Rights and Dissent (organization formed when the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the Defending Dissent Foundation joined forces)
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF, Defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation)
The Ethical Journalism Initiative
EveryCRSReport.com. "We’re publishing reports by Congress’s think tank, the Congressional Research Service, which provides valuable insight and non-partisan analysis of issues of public debate. These reports are already available to the well-connected — we’re making them available to everyone for free." See, for example, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh: His Jurisprudence and Potential Impact on the Supreme Court (R45293, 8-21-18)

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FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting)
First Amendment Coalition (FAC), originally California First Amendment Coalition (and California-focused), an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose purpose is to "promote and defend the people's right to know"--that is, our freedom of information (to find out) and freedom of expression (to speak out) about matters of public interest.
First Amendment News (FAN). Weekly update of news about freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition, now hosted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and available on its website.
First Amendment Project (a nonprofit organization providing free legal services on matters relating to free speech and free press)
First Amendment Watch New York University;s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute launched First as an online resource that goes beyond the headlines to provide much-needed coverage and context to the debate over freedom of expression.
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Help FIRE protect the speech rights of students and faculty. Among interesting resources on FIRE's site are a database of disinvitation attempts, "from the left" and "from the right" and a database of leader statements (higher education leaders quoted in the media articulating their institutions’ positions on guest speakers, academic freedom, speech policies, free speech, due process, etc. (as explained here).
#FReadom Resources
The Freedom Forum Institute (education and outreach partner of the Freedom Forum and the Newseum. The Institute includes the First Amendment Center, the Religious Freedom Center, the Newseum’s education department and diversity and inclusion programs. See First Amendment FAQs
Freedom House (works globally to defend human rights and promote democratic change, with a focus on political rights and civil liberties) See especially The Global Drive to Control Big Tech "In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties." See also Policy Recommendations.
Freedom of the Press Foundation (protects and defends adversarial journalism in the 21st century; uses crowdfunding, digital security, and internet advocacy to support journalists and whistleblowers worldwide)
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA official site) enacted by Congress in 1966 to give the public access to information held by the federal government -- the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. See also Freedom of Information and Freedom of Information Act ((FOIA, links to many articles, explanations, and answers to questions)
Freedom to Read Foundation
Free Expression Network (FEN) (National Coalition Against Censorship), an alliance of organizations dedicated to defending the right of free expression and the values it represents and to opposing governmental efforts to suppress constitutionally-protected speech. FEN members provide a wide range of expertise, resources and services to policymakers, the media, scholars, and the public at large. See archives and list of member organizations (lively discussions on current issues and problems, as members from various fields meet every other month, during pandemic on Zoom) and links and resources)
Free Expression Project (Center for Democracy & Technology)
Free Press As we confront state-sanctioned violence against Black people, protesters and journalists, on top of a deadly pandemic, the fight for a free press has never been more crucial.

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Government Information Watch "Tracking Openness and Accountability in Government" Read "How we operate" section for links to letters, reports.
Index on Censorship: The voice of free expression (X Index, UK)
Indivisible, a nationwide movement of thousands of volunteer-led local groups that engage in progressive advocacy and electoral work.
Institute for Free Speech
Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University We defend the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education.
Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights
Lumen (formerly Chilling Effects) A collaborative archive created by several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to combat legal threats used to silence Internet activity. The Lumen database collects and analyzes legal complaints and requests for removal of online materials, helping Internet users to know their rights and understand the law. These data enable studying the prevalence of legal threats and let Internet users see the source of content removals. Lumen's website allows recipients of cease-and-desist notices to submit them to the site and receive information about their legal rights and responsibilities. A "project" of the Berkman Klein Center.
The Media Coalition Fights to protect the First Amendment rights of producers and distributors of books, movies, magazines, recordings, home video, and video games.
Media Law Resource Center (Model briefs and practice guides)
Media Justice (formerly Center for Media Justice) is the home of the MediaJustice Network.
Muckrock, a U.S. -based organization that assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act, then publishes the returned information on its website and encourages journalism around it. Sign up for daily news reports.
National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). See NCAC's important resources, including
---NCAC and National Teacher Organizations’ Statement on The Freedom to Teach (with the National Council of Teachers of English, National Council for the Social Studies, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teaching Association)
---NCAC's Book Censorship Toolkit
---Youth Censorship Database
---Smart Tactics: Curating Difficult Content
---Defend LGBTQ Stories  (plus other resources)
NCTE Intellectual Freedom Center (National Council of Teachers of English) offers advice, helpful documents, and other support to teachers faced with challenges to texts (e.g. literary works, films and videos, drama productions), to student writing, or to teaching methods used in their classrooms and schools. "All students have the right to materials and educational experiences that promote open inquiry, critical thinking, diversity in thought and expression, and respect for others." Blog: Literacy and NCTE.
National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), state FOI and open government issues.
National Security Archive (NSA), on whose website you can find the Text of the Freedom of Information Act, a Timeline of FOIA legislative history, How to file a FOIA request , and winners of the Rosemary Awards, for "for worst open government performance." See a particularly enlightening NSA article about the Rosemary Awards in 2015.

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OpenSecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics)
OpenTheGovernment.org (Americans for Less Secrecy, More Democracy)
Partnership for Civil Justice Fund The fight for democracy, civil rights and social justice -- in the courts and in the streets.
PEN America's Tip Sheet on Educational Gag Orders (3-28-22) Educational Gag Orders In Your Community: A Tip Sheet for Changing the Conversation. Download printable version.
PEN Campaign for Four Freedoms. Particularly valuable: Defending Free Expression: A Toolkit For Writers and Readers. You can also subscribe to the excellent DARE: Daily Alert on Rights and Expression.
People For the American Way (PFAW, working to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values under attack.)
Politiwoops (tracks deleted tweets by public officials, including people currently in office and candidates for office)
Project Censored (The News That Didn't Make the News) -- monitors the media and compiles an annual Top 25 Censored Stories.
Project on Government Secrecy (Federation of American Scientists)
ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest
RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
Regional Reporters Association (RRA) Excellent links.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP). The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. See links to all of RCFP's important guides and sign up for its excellent electronic newsletter This Week in Technology and Press Freedom.
Reporters Without Borders (for freedom of information).
Resistance Recess (excellent Move.on.org resources for activists)

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Simon & Schuster "Banned and Challenged Books."
Student Press Law Center (SPLC) "Thousands of times a year, student journalists in crisis call the SPLC’s hotline. They may have had a camera confiscated by police, or had their public-records requests denied, or be facing censorship or stonewalling...." When student journalists need defending, these lawyers swoop in. For free. (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo, 6-18-17) Often challenged on banned books and critical race theory topics.
Sunlight Foundation Advocates for open government globally, using technology to make government & politics more accountable & transparent.
Texas Library Association See Intellectual Freedom Resources and Intellectual Freedom Helpline.
The Volokh Conspiracy Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent. For example: Important Fourth Circuit Ruling on Cell Phone Border Searches (Reason, 5-9-18)
Woodhull Freedom Foundation (Affirming Sexual Freedom as a Fundamental Human Right)

Youth Free Expression Film Contest (National Coalition Against Censorship, NCAC)

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Censorship vs. Freedom of Expression

(and privacy concerns)

"Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance."
– Laurie Halse Anderson

 

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”
~ Henry Louis Gates Jr., 2 Live Crew, Decoded 

 

See also

What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books
Banned & challenged books (lists)
Censorship vs. freedom of expression
Timelines of censorship history
Censorship by the numbers
Cancel culture
Prior restraint (government censorship)

 

What Is “Soft” Censorship? When School Districts Don’t Ban Books, They Still Limit Student Access (Nadra Nittle, Them, 8-24-22) Districts are separating books about sex, gender and race in school libraries, slapping warning labels on them and requiring parental permission for student access.
A Librarian Is Being Threatened for Creating LGBTQ Book Displays (Claire Woodcock, Motherboard, Vice, 8-23-22) Cara Chance was told she could be fired after making a Pride month display featuring books about queer teen romance. Her community is pushing back. Among teen romance novels displayed that depicted LGBTQ relationships were Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill. The display led the library’s board to accuse Chance of willful insubordination, and place her job on the agenda for the next closed-session meeting.
There’s More Than One Way to Ban a Book (Pamela Paul,NY Times, 7-24-22) 'Though the publishing industry would never condone book banning, a subtler form of repression is taking place in the literary world, restricting intellectual and artistic expression from behind closed doors, and often defending these restrictions with thoughtful-sounding rationales. As many top editors and publishing executives admit off the record, a real strain of self-censorship has emerged that many otherwise liberal-minded editors, agents and authors feel compelled to take part in.  "For those on the illiberal left to conduct their own campaigns of censorship while bemoaning the book-burning impulses of the right is to violate the core tenets of liberalism (e.g. free expression)."
     ' “It’s happening on both sides,” said John Sargent, who was chief executive of Macmillan until last year. “It’s just a different mechanism. On the right, it’s going through institutions and school boards, and on the left, it’s using social media as a tool of activism. It’s aggressively protesting to increase the pain threshold, until there’s censorship going the other way.”
       'Now, many books the left might object to never make it to bookshelves because a softer form of banishment happens earlier in the publishing process: scuttling a project for ideological reasons before a deal is signed, or defusing or eliminating “sensitive” material in the course of editing." Internal links in this excellent story will take you to many other insights into the pressure to self-censor. 
Where to report censorship. If you learn that a book has been banned or challenged locally, you can report censorship to several organizations, including the American Library Association (ALA), the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
The Students’ Right to Read (NCTE). McCarthyism spurred NCTE to take a more active stance against censorship, and in 1953, NCTE’s Committee on Censorship of Teaching Materials published Censorship and Controversy, condemning McCarthy’s tactics and championing freedom of thought. In 1962 NCTE published its seminal intellectual freedom guideline The Students’ Right to Read, which has been updated multiple times since its publication. You'll find many resources for educators on this site.

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Judge Tosses Virginia Obscenity Cases, Declares State Law Unconstitutional (Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly, 8-30-22) In a resounding victory for the freedom to read, a Virginia state judge on August 30 swiftly dismissed two closely watched cases that sought to bar the public display and sale of two books alleged to be obscene under an obscure state law. The suits alleged that the graphic memoir Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe and A Court of Mist and Fury by bestselling author Sarah J. Maas—were “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” In dismissing the cases the court struck down the Virginia law upon which the cases were brought, finding it unconstitutional.

      "The court agreed that the Virginia statute in question does not allow a court to find a work "obscene for minors" and thus the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. In addition, the plaintiffs failed to prove the works in question are in fact obscene. And in an unexpected (but one welcomed by freedom to read advocates) portion of the ruling, the court struck down the Virginia statute upon which the case is based."
Dragnets: Tracking Censorship and Surveillance ProPublica investigates the threats to privacy in an era of cellphones, data mining and cyberwar, including how citizens are digitally tracked by governments and corporations. Links to articles, including
An Iranian American writer makes a case against censorship and for Rushdie (Steve Inskeep, NPR, 8-23-22) Following the attack on author Salman Rushdie, NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to Iranian American writer Azar Nafisi about attempts to silence writers. Her latest book is: Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times Inskeep asks, What advice would you give a parent who hears these debates and is concerned about what their kids are reading in school and wants to have some control over it?Nafisi responds that we should talk about what we are scared of. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye was banned because she talked about incest and rape. But the whole point is that if we cannot tolerate reading about reality in books, how can we tolerate standing up to ugly realities that are happening every day?
      Inskeep makes the point that the political right and the political left in the United States each have their own programs and approaches. "Right now the political right has been using state power to limit what is taught or read in schools. People on the political left tend more often to use cultural power to push against expressions that they don't like." Some on both sides tend to have "a mindset that is ideological, that only hears itself."
Nafisi: "...the whole idea behind fiction, the whole idea behind journalism, actually, is seeking for truth no matter where it leads you. And truth is always dangerous because once you hear it, if you remain silent, you become complicit. Look at banning books and censoring books and even burning books, taking them off the shelves in libraries. Fiction humanizes what the tyrants dehumanize. And that is why writers like [Salman] Rushdie are so dangerous."
Liberals, Radicals, and the Making of a Literary Masterpiece (Keith Gessen, New Yorker, 9-5-22) Russian author Ivan Turgenev achieved greatness with a novel [Fathers and Sons] detested by almost everyone he cared about. "These years, in the eighteen-forties, were difficult ones, Turgenev later recalled; censors would leave writers’ proofs marked up with red ink, “as if bloodied.” The start of Nicholas I’s reign, in 1825, had been met by a failed uprising of Army officers who came to be known as the Decembrists; its ending, three decades later, was accompanied by the humiliating Russian defeat in the Crimean War. The intervening years were a period of intense repression and censorship. The generation that came of age with Turgenev was aware of Russian backwardness and subjugation, but did not know what to do about it, or even, under conditions of police surveillance, how to talk about it."
The Spread of Book Banning (Claire Moses, Morning Briefing, NY Times, 7-31-22) A discussion between Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris, who cover the publishing industry.The debate on book banning has gone from a school or community issue to a polarizing political issue. Complaints on social media about inappropriate material go viral, leading to more complaints in schools and libraries. Elected officials turn book banning into another wedge issue in the culture wars. Republicans lean toward banning books, Democrats contend parents should decide what their kids read. 'It’s hard to disentangle the banning surge from other conservative efforts to use the government to limit expression, including what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. Those are all movements that have overlapped and spurred book-banning debates.' 'Book banning is part of a wider political context right now, of extreme polarization, of heightened political tensions and the amplification of certain messages by the kinds of media — social or otherwise — that people consume.' Librarians are trained to present a range of viewpoints. Some have left their jobs; some have been fired for refusing to remove books.
“Banned” books study has surprising results (Stetson Today, Stetson University, 3-6-14) Chris Ferguson, best known for his study of the effects on students of violent video games, conducted research on “banned” books because so little is known about the effects such books have on readers. “Many books targeted toward young readers are banned or challenged in school and public libraries because of ‘edgy’ violent, sexual or occult content,” reported Ferguson in Is Reading “Banned” Books Associated With Behavior Problems in Young Readers? Among the results:
---Reading of banned books did not predict GPA or violent/non-violent crime.
---GPA was predicted by increased reading for pleasure, not by required school reading.
---Reading banned books was associated with increased civic behavior (doing good for society) and low risk of antisocial behavior.
Texas students create 'Banned Book Club,' hoping more student voices will be heard (Mike Marut, KVUE, 2-15-22) Sophomores created the student-run club at the beginning of the school year after reading books banned in Leander ISD classroom libraries.
---Read-in protest held in rotunda of Texas Capitol in opposition to book-banning policies (Britny Eubank, Conner Board, kiiitv.com, 7-26-22) A few dozen people gathered in the rotunda of the Texas State Capitol to speak out against the banning of certain books in Texas schools.
--- 11 books removed from Leander ISD book club, classroom libraries; still available on campuses (Shawna M Reding, kiiitv.com, 12-7-21)
---'It breaks my heart that we're just muting those voices' | Leander ISD teachers push against banning books (Mari Salazar (KVUE), 4-6-21) Leander ISD said it removed six books from Student Book Club reading lists after complaints.
How Free Is Free Expression? (Gayle Feldman, PW, 7-24-22) "...many longtime book people have said what makes the present unprecedented is a new impetus to censor—and self-censor—coming from the left. The desire to heal historical wounds and promote social justice is conflicting with the right to speak and write freely. Call it political correctness, cancel culture, wokeness—and the fear of challenging it—this is the censorship that, as the phrase goes, dare not speak its name....

       Looking for explanations, some turn to campuses not wanting to “discomfort” students by engaging in real debate. At a time with such an impetus for group identity, it becomes more difficult to think for oneself."      

     "An added challenge is that all of this is happening against the backdrop of a recent spate of shameful book bans that comes largely from the right: The Fight to Ban Books (Amelia Nierenberg, Education Briefing, NY Times, 10-6-21) The fight over critical race theory has reached the library, as some parents try to ban books that address certain ideas about race, as well as those that address sex and L.G.B.T.Q. issues.

     A diversity committee in York County, PA, created a list of resources "to help students and teachers grapple with the racial and social turmoil. Some parents objected. They claimed the materials could be used to “indoctrinate” students or make white children feel guilty. So, in a little-noticed vote last November, the school board banned the all items on the list from classrooms."

     Students and teachers protested and the ban, never enforced, was lifted. But "in states where Republican governors have signed legislation banning critical race theory, books are disappearing from shelves."

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Censorship battles’ new frontier: Your public library (Annie Gowen, Washington Post, 4-17-22) Conservatives are teaming with politicians to remove books and gut library boards. “It came to my attention a few weeks ago that pornographic filth has been discovered at the Llano library,” wrote Bonnie Wallace, a 54-year-old local church volunteer. Wallace had attached an Excel spreadsheet of about 60 books she found objectionable, including those about transgender teens, sex education and race, including such notable works as “Between the World and Me,” by author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, an exploration of the country’s history written as a letter to his adolescent son. Wallace's list was the opening salvo in a censorship battle that is unlikely to end well for proponents of free speech in this county of 21,000 northwest of Austin. Conservative activists in several states, including Texas, Montana and Louisiana have joined forces with like-minded officials to dissolve libraries' governing bodies, rewrite or delete censorship protections, and remove books outside of official challenge procedures.
An assistant principal read the children’s book ‘I Need a New Butt!’ to second-graders. He was fired. (Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 3-11-22)
With Rising Book Bans, Librarians Have Come Under Attack (Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Tims, 7-6-22) Caustic fights over which books belong on the shelves have put librarians at the center of a bitter and widening culture war. "As highly visible and politicized book bans have exploded across the country, librarians — accustomed to being seen as dedicated public servants in their communities — have found themselves on the front lines of an acrimonious culture war, with their careers and their personal reputations at risk.
"They have been labeled pedophiles on social media, called out by local politicians and reported to law enforcement officials. Some librarians have quit after being harassed online. Others have been fired for refusing to remove books from circulation."

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Report Censorship (National Coalition Against Censorship) One of the best ways to fight censorship is to call it out as it happens.
School Book Challenge Resource Center (NCAC)
Standing Committee Against Censorship (National Council of Teachers of English)
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) . See its case files.
Changing the World, One Word at a Time! (powerful video of three teenagers on the wrong lessons we learn from society, on Queen Latifah show)
Campaign for Core Freedoms (PEN American Center)
Katherine Anne Porter Award for First Amendment Defender (new $10,000 award from PEN American Center)
PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award (projects to further their work against censorship or to writers who have been in dire financial straits as a result of political persecution, often consisting of imprisonment)
The Freedom to Read Statement (American Library Association)
Citizen Media Law Project blog
Free speech blog, blog archved as Index on Censorship. Check out its blog roll.

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The Download: A million-word novel got censored before it was even shared. Now Chinese users want answers. (Zeyi Yang, MIT Technology Review, 7-15-22) After a writer was locked out of her novel for including illegal content, Chinese web users are asking questions about just how far the state’s censorship reaches. "Imagine you are working on your novel on your home computer. It's nearly finished; you have already written approximately one million words. All of a sudden, the online word processing software tells you that you can no longer open the draft because it contains illegal information. Within an instant, all your words are lost."
6 Dr. Seuss books will stop being published because of racist imagery (Mark Pratt, Associated Press, PBS, 3-2-21) Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday. The other books affected are “McElligot’s Pool,” “On Beyond Zebra!,” “Scrambled Eggs Super!,” and “The Cat’s Quizzer.” The decision to cease publication and sales of the books was made last year after months of discussion, the company told AP.
Outcry after Tennessee school board unanimously votes to remove Maus (Heidi MacDonald, The Beat: the Blog of Comics Culture, 1-27-22) The school board was concerned about mild swearing and a single panel of a naked woman in a non sexual situation. Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus, "suspected that its members were motivated less about some mild curse words and more by the subject of the book, which tells the story of his Jewish parents’ time in Nazi concentration camps, the mass murder of other Jews by Nazis, his mother’s suicide when he was just 20 and his relationship with his father." Feb. 7, his Zoom Q&A session in response to this ban, was attended by more than 10,000 participants (I was one of them). "Resist these forces," he said. "This gesture is important. This is proof that the school board's attitude is not universal."
Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A (American Library Association)

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10 Most Censored Countries (Special report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, 9-10-19) Repressive governments use sophisticated digital censorship and surveillance alongside more traditional methods to silence independent media. This list is based on CPJ’s research into the use of tactics ranging from imprisonment and repressive laws to surveillance of journalists and restrictions on internet and social media access. The 10 most censored countries, in descending order: Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Iran, Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, Cuba. The list addresses only those countries where the government tightly controls the media.
Banned: 10 popular social networks and websites that are (or were) blocked in other countries (Saima Salim, Digital Information World, 10-29-18) Wikipedia in Turkey; Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia; WhatsApp, Skype, SnapChat, FaceTime, and Telegram – in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE; Vimeo – Indonesia; Telegram and Instagram – Iran; Archive.org and 74,000 other websites, in Russia; most Western websites in China; YouTube in China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria, Sudan, and South Sudan; etc.
Librarians are resisting censorship of children’s books by LGBTQ+ and Black authors (Nadra Nittle, Education reporter. 19th News, 11-16-21) “Gender Queer.” “Sex Is a Funny Word.” “The Hate U Give.” Those are a few of the hundreds of books targeted for banning amid a revived movement to limit students’ access to literature about race, sex and gender and to challenge curricula that broach these topics. Librarians (our heroes) are resisting attempts to censor books on race, sex and gender.
Censorship of Children’s Books (Banned Books Week Coalition, YouTube video, 57 minutes) Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, the authors of “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice,” and Laurin Mayeno and Robert Trujillo, the author and artist of “One of a Kind, Like Me,”discuss the circumstances behind the censorship challenges to the books, how the attacks on diverse literature harm students, and what we can do to defend children’s books.
Aren’t There Some Kinds Of Expression That Really Should Be Censored? (American Library Association, Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A) "The United States Supreme Court has ruled that there are certain narrow categories of speech that are not protected by the First Amendment: obscenity, child pornography, defamation, and “fighting words,” or speech that incites immediate and imminent lawless action. The government is also allowed to enforce secrecy of some information when it is considered essential to national security, like troop movements in time of war, classified information about defense, etc."
Censored Books and Art poster (American Library Association online store)
Far-Right Group Wants to Ban Kids From Reading Books on Male Seahorses, Galileo, and MLK (Kelly Weill, Dangerous Minds, The Daily Beast, 9-24-21) Moms for Liberty is raising hell in a Tennessee school district over books that teach about race in American history—and also books that teach about wild animals and science. “We are seeing what appear to be coordinated efforts to challenge books, not purely based on the content of the individual book, but based on the fact that they teach history from a particular viewpoint,” Pelizzari said. “There’s a politicized approach to challenging books. We’re also seeing entire lists of books being challenged, as opposed to individual titles.”
A group of teachers in the Philippines has launched an internet archive of “subversive” books. (Walker Caplan, The Hub, 11-3-21) In the Philippines, educators and researchers are responding to a military crackdown on “subversive” books and documents by launching an internet archive of endangered books and materials frowned upon by the government. Clement Camposano, chancellor of University of the Philippines Visayas, who refused to remove subversive materials from his university’s library, said to the Inquirer: “When we are afraid of books, then we have a problem.”

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Authors Guild Statement on W.W. Norton’s Removing Blake Bailey’s Books from Circulation (4-29-21) "Freedom of expression and the freedom to publish are the bedrock principles upon which literary culture and civil society are built. Removing a published book from circulation because of the authors’ conduct and resulting adverse public opinion against the author or the subject, no matter how strong and justified, contradicts important principles of free speech and open discourse. The book may, for example, serve as a historical document of Roth’s treatment of women and his own misbehavior, and of conduct that some have even found acceptable in the past. It provides food for discussion about these important topics as well as other aspects of Roth’s life. We cannot rewrite history."

        From The Biographer's Craft: "W. W. Norton announced in late April that it was halting shipments of Blake Bailey’s Philip Roth: The Life after allegations emerged that Bailey had sexually assaulted two women and acted inappropriately toward several of his female students while teaching English in a New Orleans middle school during the 1990s.

        "The publisher, calling the charges 'serious,' also said it was suspending a planned second print run of the book and ending all marketing efforts for it. Then, Norton went further, pulling the biography out of print completely, halting sales of Bailey’s 2014 memoir, and announcing it would make a donation in the amount of the advance it paid Bailey to organizations that fight sexual assault or harassment and help survivors. The publisher’s moves came after Bailey’s literary agency, the Story Factory, announced that it was no longer representing the writer....

        "Vintage, the book’s publisher in the United Kingdom, said it will continue selling the book, and the book is scheduled to be released in Australia in June."
You Can Read Yuval Noah Harari’s Book in Russian, Except for the Parts About Russia (Ivan Nechepurenko and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 7-30-19) The New York Times found that the Russian version of the book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” was heavily censored, with mentions of the fighting in Ukraine and Crimea removed and criticism of the Russian government toned down or cut, among other changes. The Russian version didn’t mention any of the changes.
"Big Brother" issues.  Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon apologized for remotely deleting digital editions of George Orwell's 1984 from customers' Kindle reading devices after a copyright dispute, writes Brad Stone in Amazon Faces a Fight Over Its E-Books (NY Times 7-26-09) Stone quotes some critics on the advantages of such "tethered systems"--for example, for restoring content customers inadvertently lose, or for helping companies enforce copyright laws. "But critics say that any device capable of interfering with how its owner uses media is potentially dangerous. 'I worry that systems like these tethered appliances are gifts to regulators,' said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of the book, The Future of the Internet — and How to Stop It. Mr. Zittrain predicts that governments in some parts of the world will want to use it 'like a line item veto for content,' removing objectionable sentences or chapters in some books."

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Librarians Could Face Charges for ‘Age-Inappropriate’ Material Under Proposal (Johnny Diaz, NY Times, 3-2-2020) A bill introduced in Missouri is aimed at events like “Drag Queen Story Hours,” the measure’s sponsor said. "Parental oversight boards" for libraries in Missouri and Tennessee focus on keeping certain types of materials out of the hands of minors. See also A Missouri bill would cut off aid to libraries that allow kids to access 'age-inappropriate sexual materials' (Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 1-16-2020) Librarians who don't comply with the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act could face up to a $500 fine or one year in jail.
NCAC Statement on Missouri Library Bill (National Coalition Against Censorship, January 2020) "The bill requires each library to create a committee of untrained local adults with no qualifications to make decisions regarding what books local children can and cannot read. The committee is given power to decide, among other things, whether a particular book, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. It is dangerous and constitutionally impermissible to allow a group of otherwise unqualified individuals to determine whether a book has serious value. To make matters worse, library and school employees, who are trained to help children learn from books and other material, are banned from being members of the committee." Elsewhere NCAC explained: "Public libraries already have procedures in place that assist parents in selecting materials that fit their family’s information needs, while not censoring materials or infringing upon the rights of other families or patrons to choose the books they want and need."
The Coddling of the American Mind (Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, Sept. 2015) In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health. The article, expanded, became a book: The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure. (Not sure this belongs here, but...)

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Book Censorship Toolkit (National Coalition Against Censorship)
Responding to Censorship (Student Press Law Center) SPLC also has excellent Quizzes (about the First Amendment, student press law, access law, copyright, cyberlaw, invasion of privacy, libel, press freedom, and reporter's privilege) and Legal Guides (about the American court system; press freedom and censorship; access to records, meetings, & places; cyberlaw (internet and online media); libel & privacy; protecting sources & information; copyright; broadcasting; yearbooks; advertising & distribution; and advisers.
Blacklisted in Cyberspace: Spam Filters Threaten Free Speech on the Internet (James McGrath Morris on spam-checking software as the new censors), Washington Post, 11-29-08
Ex-National Security Officials Sue to Limit Censorship of Their Books (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 4-2-19) Anuradha Bhagwati, a former United States Marine, is one of five people suing the government over a prepublication review system they call “dysfunctional.” The system is plagued by a patchwork of ambiguous policies and vague standards that puts too much discretionary power in the hands of reviewing officials, who can delay or discriminate against lower-ranking people who criticize government actions, while speedily clearing favorable memoirs and other writings by retired senior officials, the lawsuit said. “This far-reaching censorship system simply can’t be squared with the Constitution,” said Jameel Jaffer, executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which is jointly representing the plaintiffs with the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The Government Had to Approve This Op-Ed (Mark Fallon, Opinion, NY Times, 4-2-19) Prepublication review of the writings of current and former federal employees violates their First Amendment rights. "At its best, then, this review should confirm that employees are not inadvertently disclosing information that would actually harm national security. My own experience shows, however, that this is not always the way the system works."
The Silencing of Prison Legal News (Victoria Mckenzie, The Crime Report, 6-12-18) Florida is the only state to ban Prison Legal News (PLN), and does so on the grounds that it carries ads for services prohibited in Florida correctional facilities (e.g., three-way calling, pen pal services, and selling postage stamps for cash). "The decision contained many pages of anecdotes about fraud schemes perpetrated by inmates, but did not cite testimony or evidence suggesting that viewing advertisements incites criminal activity. While Florida is currently the only state to ban the monthly publication, the decision highlights similar disputes over prison censorship now in play across the country. In practice, the burden of accommodating prisoners’ rights to access legal and other reading material across the United States—as well as the First Amendment rights of a publisher to access its audience—has largely fallen on the shoulders of one man...

      Paul Wright, founder and director of the Human Rights Defense Center (HDRC),who has devoted the past 28 years to getting legal news and resources to inmates....Wright started the magazine from inside a maximum security prison in Washington state with another inmate and just $300....Since then, it’s grown into a 72-page authoritative and unmatchable resource for inmates seeking legal advice for their complaints, ranging from medical neglect, beatings and excessive use of force, to abuse of solitary confinement and sexual assault behind bars." "Tom Julin, a First Amendment attorney based in Miami, tried to submit an amicus brief in 2016 on behalf of the Florida Press Association and several other media organizations. But the state vehemently opposed the brief and, in a rare move, barred the press from weighing in on a case about the First Amendment rights of a news publication."
An 87-year-old’s obituary said Trump ‘hastened’ her death. A local paper wouldn’t run it. (Meagan Flynn, WaPo, 1-16-19) The Courier-Journal declined to publish: The Trump quip would need to be removed, the family was told, or the $1,684 obituary wouldn’t run at all. Now, more than two weeks after Williams’s memorial services, the paper and its owner, Gannett, are apologizing following a backlash on social media.

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The U.K. Is About to Regulate Online Porn, and Free Speech Advocates Are Terrified (Billy Perrigo, Time, 8-20-18) 'By the end of 2018, all commercial porn sites [in the UK} will have to find a way to “effectively verify” that their users in the U.K. are over 18 years old, and block access to everyone else. That doesn’t mean just ticking a box – it means advanced verification systems where online porn users must prove their identity. “This is the first example in a western country of an official state Internet censor being introduced,” Jerry Barnett, a campaigner for free speech and sexual freedom, tells TIME....Once the U.K.’s block is in place, other types of legal content could be put behind barriers or even removed from the Internet, according to the non-profit Open Rights Group, which campaigns for digital civil liberties. It warns that websites containing content on suicide, anorexia or unpalatable political views could be next. That, it says, “poses a major threat to the free speech of U.K. citizens.... some of the most ardent critics of the block who TIME spoke to still agreed that young children should, somehow, be protected from accessing pornography. The core of the dispute is over how to do it, and what the side-effects will be.”
Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents (National Coalition Against Censorship). A participatory wiki of censorship incidents from the Iron Age to the 21st Century. The archive builds on The File Room, an internationally renowned 1994 art project by Muntadas, which contains over 1000 censorship incidents from around the world.
CMS threatens to bar Modern Healthcare from press calls after reporter refuses to alter story (Felice J. Freyer, Covering Health, AHCJ, 2-5-18) The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services threatened to ban reporter Virgil Dickson from participating in the federal agency’s telephone news conferences after he refused to delete three sentences from a published story that apparently had rankled CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
Caravaggio killed a man. Should we therefore censor his art? (Svetlana Mintcheva, The Guardian, 2-3-18) To remove art because it is tainted by the sins of its maker sets an impossible standard for art institutions. Yet that is what is happening. "In these politically polarized times, we need to value art institutions as places where we can think about complexity – including about how artists of such creative gifts can be such awful human beings - rather than treat them as churches obligated to issue judgments about who merits salvation and who doesn’t."
The First Amendment in Schools: A Resource Guide (National Coalition Against Censorship)

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Judge: Racism behind Arizona ban on TUSD's Mexican-American studies (Astrid Galvan, AP, Tucson.com, 8-23-17) Racism was behind an Arizona ban on ethnic studies that shuttered a popular Mexican-American Studies program at Tucson Unified School District, said U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima. The state enacted the ban with discriminatory intent, he said. TUSD dismantled its program to avoid losing state funding. The district hasn't responded to questions from The Associated Press about whether it would revive the program if the law is thrown out.
The Last Book Seller (Mei Fong, PEN Hong Kong, 1-10-17) Chinese censorship has surrounded Chinese publication of Mei Fong's book One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment with drama. Publication by a Chinese publisher meant leaving key parts of the book out. "Authorities cracked down on advocacy of issues as innocuous as calls for clean air and calls to reduce sexual harassment. They have not only jailed these movement’s advocates, but in some cases their lawyers as well." And those controls extend now to Hong Kong. Many publishers have folded. The author has decided to make the self-published digital edition of a Chinese translation available for free in China. Another author who had difficulty getting a Chinese translation published is Tan Hecheng, a Chinese journalist, who this month published the English edition of his book, The Killing Wind, the riveting and deeply researched account of the mass killings that took place in a southern China county during the Cultural Revolution.... Tan spent decades researching the story, which documented the widespread and systematic killing of hundreds of people deemed class enemies— landowners, for example– under Mao’s diktats....A Chinese language edition was published in Hong Kong in 2011. It’s likely it would not be published there today."
The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham
Still more City Paper content censored (Fern Shen, Baltimore Brew, 3-1-14). An advertiser pressures withdrawal of a fairly withering review, eliciting outrage and probably wider readership of the story than there might have been without censorship. Here's the review.
Project Censored (The News That Didn't Make the News)
The banned 400-year-old Shakespearean speech being used for refugee rights today (Anne Quito, Quartz, 9-21-16)

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French Censorship: Copyright Laws, "Private Life," and Biography (Hazel Rowley, The American Scholar, Winter 2009). Fascinating.
Spam Filters Threaten Free Speech on the Internet (James McGrath Morris, WaPo, 11-28-08) In most cases, both the intended e-mail sender and recipients remain unaware of the censorship that spam filters impose. Only rarely is the sender informed when e-mail is quarantined or diverted. Such behind-the-scenes machinations make fighting back almost impossible. Go to Spamhaus for threat intelligence and a lookup tool for IP addresses. See Spamhaus FAQs.
Internet black holes: where storytelling waits (13 countries where Internet access is restricted through censorship), map from Reporters Sans Frontieres, as posted on "Write now is good"
Global Campaign Against Impunity. The countries with the highest rates of murder of journalists (censorship by murder): Russia and the Philippines (Committee to Protect Journalists)
Censorship in China A long Wikipedia entry, part of a series: Censorship by country
Diario de Juarez editorial, in translation (LA Times, 9-24-10, a front-page editorial published by the main newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, publicly offers to the Juarez drug gangs what news organizations across Mexico practice widely for their survival: self-censorship in exchange for no more assassinations of journalists.
Internet Filtering: Beware the Cybercensors (Barbara Miner, Rethinking Schools, compares blocking software to the banning of books from libraries). Partial article for nonmembers.
Freedom of the press

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Timelines of censorship history


The National Coalition Against Censorship hosts several timelines that chart the history of efforts to suppress speech on a variety of topics:
A Selective Timeline of the Internet and Censorship (National Coalition Against Censorship)
A Timeline of Legislation Aiming to Protect Youth Online
A Timeline of Video Game Controversies
The 19th-Century Troll Who Hated Dirty Postcards and Sex Toys (Annalee Newitz, Opinion, New York Times, 9-20-19) Before Gamergate, Anthony Comstock was the original anti-feminist crusader. "In the 1870s, New York City was a haven for artists and radicals. But it was also the nursery for a new kind of moral activism. Led by Anthony Comstock, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice became a media sensation by targeting feminists in a culture war over obscenity and birth control. He then used his fame to lobby Congress for laws that arguably halted the progress of reproductive rights for almost a century."
Art and Culture Censorship Timeline (unavailable 2-15-17)
Music Censorship In America: An Interactive Timeline (unavailable 2-15-17)
Timeline of Abstinence-Only Education in U.S. Classrooms (how over $1.5 billion in federal funds have been spent on 26 years of censorship in schools)
A Brief History of Film Censorship, includes a selected list of censored and challenged films.

Other organizations have also posted censorship timelines:
Manuscripts Don’t Burn: a Timeline of Literary Censorship, Destruction, and Liberation (PEN America)
History of Censorship Timeline (Preceden, a world timeline going back to Socrates' execution)
Bannings and Burnings in History (Freedom to Read)
Censorship in the United States: An Illustrated History and Timeline
Freedom of the Press in the United States: A Short History
Indecency and the FCC (About News, on Civil Liberties)
"The basic story in the American past, the only story ultimately worth the telling, is the story of the struggle between the creative and the frustrating elements in the democratic adventure."~ Max Lerner (1939)

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What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books
Banned & challenged books (lists)
Censorship vs. freedom of expression
Censorship by the numbers
Cancel culture
Prior restraint (government censorship)



What you can do to fight book bans and challenges

Action Plans: Things to do to help combat censorship
UABB Action Toolkit (Unite Against Book Bans), also available as PDF. How to talk about book bans; how and where to talk to elected officials and media; how to create, circulate, and successfully deliver a petition; connect with others and spread the word; join the campaign www.UniteAgainstBookBans.org and tell others to do the same; share social media graphics posted on this page/PDF.
So, Your Book Has Been Challenged: A Tip Sheet for Authors (PEN America)
When Your Book Is Banned: The Author's Perspective (YouTube video, Authors Guild panel, 9-19-22) Authors Sherman Alexie, Jonathan Evison, and Ellen Hopkins, authors of books that have been banned, talk about their experience. What is the impact on authors when their books are banned from schools, libraries, and elsewhere? What challenges do they face? Does it affect sales or marketing? Does it change what or how they write going forward, or impact their ability to sell their next book? Much public discourse focuses on the politics at play and the content of the books, but relatively little on how book bans affect the authors.
Authors Guild Banned Books Club (scroll down and sign in to Fable) Read a new banned or challenged book every month and have the rare opportunity to engage with the author!

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Chicago establishes ‘Book Sanctuaries’: ‘Encouraging and alarming’ (Laura Rodríguez Presa, Chicago Tribune, 9-26-22) "Instead of taking the books off the shelves, visitors at the library were invited — in celebration of Banned Book Week 2022 — to learn about each one of them and encourage discussions about the topics for which they were banned. City Lit Theater Company joined the efforts by presenting a theatrical display of iconic banned and challenged books, allowing people to make their own decision on whether to read them."
Kids' Right to Read Action Kit for Students and Parents (National Coalition Against Censorship)
Get Involved (American Library Association, aka ALA) Suggested activities for Banned Books Week.

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Unite Against Book Bans (#UniteAgainstBookBans, American Library Association) A national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. We are not alone. On both sides of the aisle, large majorities of voters and parents oppose book bans. 71% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from public libraries. 67% of voters oppose efforts to remove books from school libraries. And yet, attempts to ban books from libraries are rising at an unprecedented level across the country. The ALA reported more than 729 attempted bans of 1,597 individual books in 2021 alone.
How Students Fought a Book Ban and Won, for Now (Isabella Grullón Paz and Maria Cramer, NY Times, 10-2-21) Hundreds of students, parents and residents in York County, Pennsylvania, protested limits on books told from the perspective of gay, Black and Latino children.
Sign up for Intellectual Freedom News (ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom)
ALA's Freedom to Read Statement (American Library Association)
Banned Books Bingo. Found a page of Banned Books Bingo at my local (Davis) library, part of Montgomery County (MD)'s Banned Books education campaign. Not as saucy as Drag Bingo kicks off Banned Books Week (LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County) @FriendsoftheHenriettaHankinBranchLibrary and the Friends of the Chester County Library held a very successful Drag Bingo to kick off Banned Books Week and stand up for Inclusivity.

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Book Ban Busters: The Network of Suburban Moms Working to Stop Book Bans (Book Riot, 2-4-22) Red Wine and Blue ("Channeling the Power of Suburban Women") is a 504(c)(4) corporation working to drive women in the suburbs into action for good. With 250,000 members strong, they’re mobilizing and empowering women who haven’t been or considered themselves activists to get to work in their own communities. They’ve streamlined and simplified ways to connect, to share information, and to contact politicians, stating their support of accurate, inclusive education. The latest focus? Book bans. See their interactive map of book bans , watch for their "Troublemaker Training." Red Wine and Blue is an antidote to the actions of groups like those actively working to dismantle public education and intellectual freedom.

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You can ban a book, but can you stop teens from finding it online? (Heather Kelly, Washington Post, 9-22-22) Online resources are at the center of the national battle between limiting and expanding book access for teenagers. More than 1,651 titles were banned from schools between January and August alone, according to PEN America, including “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag” by Rob Sanders and “Sulwe,” a children’s book by Lupita Nyong’o. Demand for many of those same titles is only growing online, as educators and librarians try to fill the void with internet-based resources. Some libraries have removed physical copies of controversial books but still offer them as digital checkouts through apps like Libby. A book about sexuality or racism might not be allowed in your school, your local library or even your own home. But online, it can be found as an e-book in another library, less legally on torrenting sites or for purchase from any online bookstore.
Books Unbanned (Brooklyn Public Library) Brooklyn Public Library is adding our voice to those fighting for the rights of teens nationwide to read what they like, discover themselves, and form their own opinions. National Teen BPL eCard. For a limited time, individuals ages 13-21 can apply for a free BPL eCard, providing access to our full eBook collection as well as our learning databases. To apply, email booksunbanned@bklynlibrary.org. BPL’s eCard is always free to teenagers in New York State. Apply here.
Display ideas for Banned Books Week (ALA) "The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think." ~Harper Lee
More display ideas for Banned Books week (ALA) For example, collect banned books and display them in a locked cage.
5 Things You Can Do to Support the Right to Read (Banned Books Week)
Shop Banned Books products (ALA)
Quotes to post for Banned Books week (Pinterest)
Report challenged material Use this ALA tool to report material challenged in your neighborhood.
Reporting Challenges (ALA) Since 1990, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has maintained a database on challenged materials. ALA collects information from two sources: media reports and reports submitted by individuals. Reports of challenges culled from media across the country are compiled in the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy; (subscriptions to JIFP include access to the archives of the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom) those reports are then compiled in the resource guide, Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read.

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Democrats must hit back hard at GOP book bans. Here’s a start. (Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent, Wash Post, 4-4-22) Republicans are good at using congressional hearings to draw attention to the issues they want Americans (and especially their base) to think and talk about. Which is why Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) is planning to hold a hearing on book banning in the House oversight subcommittee he chairs. Democrats plan to make a robust public case that such a congressional airing is necessary to protect the First Amendment.

      “The Supreme Court in Board of Education v. Pico held that it violates the First Amendment for government to remove books from school libraries because certain pressure groups disagree with the viewpoint,” Raskin stated, adding that his hearing will spotlight the "escalating threat to academic and intellectual freedom in America.” The flood of efforts at the state and local level to banish certain books from schools and libraries are said to be driven by "the Republican belief that political hay can be made from allegedly dangerous ideas on race and sexuality that might be infecting the minds of children."

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Buying Books, Amplifying Voices (Amnesty International) Libraries and bookstores are encouraged to buy and make available these books by or about authors and publishers who have been imprisoned, murdered, or harassed in light of their writing or publications. The act of purchasing and making available the words of such authors is a counterweight to the censorship of authoritarian regimes. Inclusion of such texts in a college or university library is likely to broaden the discussion of relevant global issues and help students and faculty understand the nature and effects of censorship.
The Free Expression Educators Handbook (National Coalition Against Censorship) NCAC in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), created this book for teachers, librarians, and school administrators -- to offer guidance for developing inclusive and viewpoint-neutral instructional material policies, including sample review policies.It also offers advice for educators navigating book challenges.
Using Graphic Novels in Education: Teaching the Holocaust with Comics (Meryl Jaffe, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund,5-25-16)
Adding Fun Home to Your Library or Classroom Collection (Maren Williams CBLDF, 6-23-15)
Using Graphic Novels In Education: Hey, Kiddo (Karen Evans, CBLDF, 2-27-20)
This is What Democracy Looks Like (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) A 32-page comic book created by The Center for Cartoon Studies. And download the free teacher's guide (from the Center for Cartoon Studies), designed to help teachers prepare students to be empowered, informed, and civic-minded.

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What You Can Do about Banned and Challenged Books (Pat McNees, American Society of Journalists and Authors, 3-1-22)
Join the Authors Guild's Banned Books Club This is a free virtual book club held on the social reading app Fable. Each month, the Banned Books Club presents a different work of fiction or nonfiction recently barred in one or more U.S. school districts or states. Past selections:Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan; Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson; Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Coming up September 2022: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (discussion led by Sungjoo Yoon); October: Crank by Ellen Hopkins. You can access previous discussions in the Fable app.
The Banned Books Club
Teens fight for the right to read with ‘banned-book clubs’ and lawsuits (Hannah Natanson. Washington Post, 5-3-22) Ella looked at her notes for the club’s 14th meeting, convened to review I.W. Gregorio’s None of the Above.The book tells the story of Kristin, a high school student who discovers she is intersex, a condition in which people are born with atypical combinations of chromosomes, hormones, gonads or genitals.

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      In December, the Leander Independent School District had banned the novel from classroom libraries and from use in high school student book clubs — along with 10 other books — because it features “sensitive topics” and “concepts of sex and anatomy.” The teens in Texas — who would spend the next hour sharing how they never knew people could be intersex, and wondering what other aspects of the world will remain hidden if grown-ups keep banning books — are part of a swelling movement of students who are gathering all across the country to fight, in ways large and small, for the right to read."
The Dangerous Lesson of Book Bans in Public School Libraries (David French, Reason, 7-9-22) An obscure Supreme Court case (Island Trees School District v. Pico) provides a roadmap through the curricular culture war. A small group of parents acquire a list of books that are a clear and present danger to children. They learn that 11 of the titles are found in school district libraries or curricula school board members and direct the superintendent to remove the books and to put out a press statement declaring the tomes "anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Sem[i]tic, and just plain filthy." A collection of students sues the Island Trees school district, arguing that the board's book removal order violated the students' First Amendment rights to receive information. In the fight between parents and teachers, the students should have a constitutional say too. 'When school boards and principals hear challenges to books or consider restrictions on curriculum, they need to understand the very purpose of their educational project. It is not, as the Island Trees district declared back in 1976, to protect children from "moral danger." It is to prepare citizens for pluralism. Our nation's schools must not suppress "expressions of feeling with which they do not wish to contend."

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Banned books & challenged books

See also
Lists of banned and challenged books

What you can do to fight book bans and challenges

Academic freedom, teacher tenure, student rights, campus free speech, and educational gag orders
If you're afraid that reading a book might change someone's thinking,
Then you're not afraid of books. You're afraid of thinking.
~Occupy Democrats


Banned Books Week Resources for the annual week in September when schools and libraries celebrate the Freedom to Read. Theme for 2022:  "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us."

What's the difference between a challenged book and a banned book? (ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom) "A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection."

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Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools Jonathan Friedman and Nadine Farid Johnson, PEN America, 9-19-22) PEN America estimates that at least 40 percent of bans listed in the Index (1,109 bans) are connected to either proposed or enacted legislation, or to political pressure exerted by state officials or elected lawmakers to restrict the teaching or presence of certain books or concepts.
PEN America has identified at least 50 groups involved in pushing for book bans across the country operating at the national, state or local levels. Of those 50 groups, eight have local or regional chapters that, between them, number at least 300 in total; some of these operate predominantly through social media. Most of these groups (including chapters) appear to have formed since 2021 (73 percent, or 262).
Nearly half of the unique titles banned were young adult books, but bans also affected many books for younger readers, including 317 picture books and 168 chapter books.
Of the 2,532 bans listed in the Index, 96 percent were enacted without following the best practice guidelines for book challenges outlined by the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).
Virginia Legal Action Threatens the Freedom to Read (National Coalition Against Censorship, 8-30-22) Attempts by a former Virginia Congressional candidate to declare Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer and Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Mist and Fury obscene and to ban the sale of the books to youth under Virginia’s 18.2-384. Proceeding against book alleged to be obscene has failed. Virginia Beach Circuit Court Judge Pamela S. Baskervill ruled that the law is unconstitutional because it violates due process by authorizing judgment without notice to the affected parties. Judge Baskervill also stated that the law doesn’t allow a different standard for minors, and the petition failed to allege that the works are obscene for adults. No book has been banned for obscenity in the United States in more than 50 years. Prohibiting the sale of books is a form of censorship that cannot be tolerated under the First Amendment. See Authors Guild statement on case.

How the new banned books panic fits into America’s history of school censorship (Constance Grady, Vox, 2-17-22) What’s at stake? Who gets to control the story of America. Conservative-driven school book bannings are heating up across the country. And experts say there’s a special virulence to this particular wave. In Tennessee, a school board yanked Art Spiegelman’s graphic Holocaust memoir Maus from the eighth grade curriculum. Last fall, a Texas legislator launched an investigation into 850 books he argued “might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex,” including The Legal Atlas of the United States and Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.” In December, a Pennsylvania school district removed the LGBTQ classic Heather Has Two Mommies from school libraries.

     This year, says Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America,she finds herself hearing from more and different authors about their books being banned. And the bans, too, are much more forceful than they’ve been before. “Some are an individual school board deciding to pull something from a curriculum or take it out of the library,” she says. “But there are also much more sweeping pieces of legislation that are being introduced that purport to ban whole categories of books. And that’s definitely something new.”

       There is a backlash against “a specific kind of content, seen as teaching children, especially white children, that there’s something wrong with America.” And yet, compare book bannings of the 1930s with the bannings of the 2020s and you can see how history repeats itself.
New Report Links Rise in Book Bans to Anti-LGBTQ Groups (Claire Woodcock, Motherboard, Vice, 9-20-22) The report found evidence of at least 38 state, regional, or community groups unaffiliated with national organizations and at least eight national organizations with a combined count of at least 300 local or regional chapters. Aside from Moms for Liberty, the PEN America report lists US Parents Involved in Education, No Left Turn in Education, MassResistance, Parents’ Rights in Education, and Mary in the Library as national organizations pushing challenges against books across the US.
Smithtown Library Board bans LGBTQ+ displays from children’s sections (Nicholas Grasso, Greater Smithtown, 6-22-22) The Smithtown Library Board of Trustees has issued a resolution demanding the removal of all LGBTQ+ Pride displays from the children’s departments across all four of the library district’s buildings. NY Gov. Kathy Hochul and the New York Library Association condemned the board’s action. Hochul tweeted, ”For many LGBTQ+ kids, libraries are one of the few spaces where they can be welcomed and affirmed for who they are. “Our public spaces should be accepting our young people — not rejecting them,” Hochul continued. ”To LGBTQ+ New Yorkers: We stand with you, we support you, & you are welcome here.”
The Group Banning LGBT Books Wants to Replace Them With Anti-Gay Propaganda (Claire Woodcock, Motherboard, 6-2-22) Moms for Liberty has allied with Republicans across the U.S. to change what public school libraries are allowed to offer. “I just think it’s ironic that they’re now trying to get propaganda into our school libraries by way of donating them and circumventing the processes in place that are meant to protect our children from propaganda,” Katie Paris, founder of Red, Wine & Blue, a nonprofit made up of suburban women advocating for progressive political causes told Motherboard.

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How conservative Facebook groups are changing what books children read in school (Tanya Basu, Technology Review, 9-9-22) Parents and conservative Facebook groups are gathering online to review children's books and lobby schools to restrict certain books in school libraries or remove them altogether, often on the basis of sexual content.  Check out this lengthy spreadsheet of books one Texas state senator created of books "affected by the state’s House Bill 3979, which bans the teaching of materials that would lead to 'an individual [feeling] discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress on account of the individual’s race or sex.' "
Censorship Attempts Will Have a Long-lasting Impact on School Library Collections, SLJ Survey Shows (Kara Yorio, School Library Journal, 9-8-22) In the last year, school librarians have faced a bigger, broader, more coordinated, and hate-filled censorship campaign as politics and the country's divisive culture wars have moved into school libraries. "A new school librarian is advised to omit eight books that deal with "nonwhite perspectives on American society and history" from the library inventory of a suburban high school in the Northeast, or the school board will likely decide the newly created librarian position is no longer necessary.

Books with LGBTQIA+ characters or story lines disappear from the shelves, taken by administrators or parents and held out of circulation indefinitely."

     In 2021, most of the challenges came from parents (80 percent), with teachers and administrators next at 14 percent and 11 percent. Many of "the efforts are more often attention-getting, high-visibility acts, e.g., yelling at a school board meeting and pushing for unilateral book removal rather than filing official challenges or following the formal process of reconsideration."

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Do we really still need Banned Books Week? (Ron Charles, Book World, WaPo, 9-26-18) '“There are so many places like in rural communities where you say, ‘Well, the book isn’t banned. It’s still been published. It’s still available on Amazon. It’s still in a bookstore.’ But let’s say you’re a young gay kid, and you go to your library, and David Levithan’s ‘Two Boys Kissing’ has been removed, and so you don’t know that it’s there. You don’t have a credit card to get it from Amazon. You can’t hop in a car if you’re 14 years old and drive to a bookstore. So the ban is not a trivial thing. It’s a deliberate suppression of a viewpoint that has real consequences for people.”'

        And: '“If I say, ‘I don’t want my child to read this,’ you have the right to do that,” acknowledges James LaRue (ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom). “But when you try to remove it from the library, you’re saying that other people’s children don’t have the right to read it.” That, he suggests, is the hallmark of an intolerant society.'
Banned in the USA: Rising School Book Bans Threaten Free Expression and Students’ First Amendment Rights (Report from PEN America)
Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted. (Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 4-4-22) Most of the targeted books are about Black and L.G.B.T.Q. people, according to the American Library Association. The country’s polarized politics has fueled the rise.

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The Banned Books Club (Melissa Giannini, Elle, 9-19-22) Writers tackling complex issues are under fire now more than ever. Here, six targeted authors and experts speak out. About kids actually reading books banned in schools: "If you can get any of them to actually read the book, then they’re like, Oh…oh."
These are books school systems don’t want you to read, and why (Laura Meckler and Perry Stein, WaPo, 4-28-22) "The recent challenges fall into several categories. Some of the challenges involve books dealing with race, sexuality or gender and come from conservatives. But not conservatives alone. Liberals also have challenged classics such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Huckleberry Finn,” saying they use racist language and character stereotypes. Recently, a Tennessee school district removed a book about the Holocaust."

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Banning Books Silences Stories (Millie Davis, National Council of Teachers of English) People who ban books "fear the reality—even in fiction—of the people in the books who are different from themselves, who speak and behave differently, who have different ways of thinking. Four of the top ten books [on ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Book List for 2017] were challenged for LGBT themes while others were challenged for profanity, for sex, for topics such as teen suicide or drug use... What is it about people who fear others’ stories? I don’t know. But I do know that stories—all stories—are how we make sense of the world."

Banned and Challenged Books (ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom) Many online resources.

America’s First Banned Book Really Ticked Off the Plymouth Puritans (Matthew Taub, Atlas Obscura, 11-1-19) The author, known as the “Lord of Misrule,” had the audacity to erect a maypole in Massachusetts.
The History (and Present) of Banning Books in America (Amy Brady, LitHub, 9-22-16) In 2016, the list of books challenged each year by American public libraries and schools included Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and Emily M. Danworth’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post. Most of the titles are by LGBTQ authors and authors of color who write about life beyond white, straight, middle-class America." “There were over 300 book challenges in 2015,” said Chris Finan in an interview. “And themes of race, ethnicity, and sexual preference have been a large part of why those books got challenged.” Then Brady takes us back into banned books history.
How to Fight Book Bans: Student Strategies Feb. 28, 2022, Meet authors, free expression experts, and student activists from York, PA and San Antonio, TX to share strategies for fighting censorship in schools. The event will be recorded, so search for it later if you miss it.

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'Critical Race Theory Is Simply the Latest Bogeyman.' Inside the Fight Over What Kids Learn About America's History (Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 7-16-21) "At a moment when Eastern European historians of the Holocaust are under threat from nationalist governments and countries with colonial pasts are pulling down statues and renaming streets, the debate over how to teach the history of race in America is entangling local school boards and engulfing national politics. It’s a conversation that predates the tumult of 2020: the New York Times’ 1619 Project, released to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Virginia, aimed to reframe America’s origin story around the legacy of slavery; the project helped push scholarly conversations about the impact of racism on U.S. history into the mainstream." See also Critical race theory: What is it and why is everyone arguing about it?
Far-Right Group Wants to Ban Kids From Reading Books on Male Seahorses, Galileo, and MLK (Kelly Weill, Long Read, Daily Beast, 9-24-21) Moms for Liberty is raising hell in a Tennessee school district over books that teach about race in American history—and also books that teach about wild animals and science. School books about Martin Luther King Jr., Ruby Bridges (the first Black child to integrate an all-white public elementary school), protests during the Civil Rights Movement, Native Americans, and school segregation are too “divisive.”

 • ‘We’re Preparing For a Long Battle.’ Librarians Grapple With Conservatives’ Latest Efforts to Ban Books (Olivia B. Waxman, Time, 11-16-21) Two members of a Virginia school board, concerned about “sexually explicit” books, called for a book burning. School libraries in at least seven states have removed books challenged by community members. Most of the challenged books so far, across fiction and non-fiction, are about race and LGBTQ identities. Among the books most frequently targeted are Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto (2020), Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir (2019), Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy (2018), and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006).

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Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted. (Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 4-4-22) Most of the targeted books are about Black and L.G.B.T.Q. people, according to the American Library Association. The country’s polarized politics has fueled the rise. “What we’re seeing right now is an unprecedented campaign to remove books from school libraries but also public libraries that deal with the lives and experience of people from marginalized communities,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the director of the American Library Association’s office for intellectual freedom. “We’re seeing organized groups go to school boards and library boards and demand actual censorship of these books in order to conform to their moral or political views.”
Board of Education v. Pico (Anuj C. Desai, The First Amendment Encyclopedia, Middle Tennessee State University) In Board of Education, Island Trees Union Free School District v. Pico (1982) 457 U.S. 853 (1982), the Supreme Court addressed a constitutional challenge to a local school board’s decision to remove several books from the district’s school libraries; in a splintered decision with seven of the nine Justices writing opinions, the Court held that factual disputes about the school board’s motivation for the removal precluded the school board from prevailing in the lower court without a full trial. What happened: Students sued school board after books removed from library. Lower courts disagreed on whether a trial should be held. Supreme Court said school boards must work within First Amendment. Justices said school boards could not remove books to suppress ideas. Court said a trial should have been held rather than giving summary judgment to school board. Dissenters did not think removing the books implicated First Amendment rights.
Banning Books Is on the Rise. . . (Pat McNees, My Little Bird, 4-7-22) Start a book group, using suggestions from the Banned Book list!   The surest way to get a kid to read a book is to ban it!
Cases related to book banning and libraries (First Amendment Encyclopedia MTSU, John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies) The cases on this list of significant court cases related to book banning and libraries cover disputes such as the breadth of the authority of local school boards to remove certain books from school libraries, and the authority of the state to seize and destroy obscene books. Supreme Court said school boards must work within First Amendment.

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US conservatives linked to rich donors wage campaign to ban books from schools(Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 1-24-22) The director of the American Library Association says the number of attempts to ban books in schools soared in 2021 and appears to be an organized effort by a number of conservative advocacy groups. These groups across the US, often linked to deep-pocketed rightwing donors, are carrying out a campaign to ban books from school libraries, often focused on works that address race, LGBTQ issues or marginalized communities.
Book Ban Efforts Spread Across the U.S. (Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 1-30-22) Challenges to books about sexual and racial identity are nothing new in American schools, but the tactics and politicization are. In Tennessee, the McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus from an eighth-grade module on the Holocaust ostensibly because of nudity and curse words. Among the most frequent targets are books about race, gender and sexuality are George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”
      The advocacy group No Left Turn in Education maintains lists of books it says are “used to spread radical and racist ideologies to students,” including Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Perhaps no book has been targeted more vigorously than The 1619 Project, a best seller about slavery in America that has drawn wide support among many historians and Black leaders and which arose from the 2019 special issue of a best seller about slavery in America that has drawn wide support among many historians and Black leaders and which arose from the 2019 special issue of The New York Times Magazine. It has been named explicitly in proposed legislation.

Holocaust book Maus hits bestseller list after Tennessee school board ban (Maya Yang, The Guardian, 1-31-22) Author Art Spiegelman says decision to ban Pulitzer-winning novel that depicts Jewish people as mice is ‘demented’ Art Spiegelman sees the new ban of his book ‘Maus’ as a ‘red alert’ (Michael Cavna, WaPo, 1-28-22)

Longtime ‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton urges kids to read banned books: ‘That’s where the good stuff is’ (Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 2-17-22)

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How a Debut Graphic Memoir Became the Most Banned Book in the Country (Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 5-1-22) Maia Kobabe’s book “Gender Queer,” about coming out as nonbinary, landed the author at the center of a battle over which books belong in schools, and who gets to make that decision. “‘Gender Queer’ ends up at the center of this because it is a graphic novel, and because it is dealing with sexuality at the time when that’s become taboo,” said Jonathan Friedman, the director of free expression and education at PEN America. “There’s definitely an element of anti L.G.B.T.Q.+ backlash.”
Backlash to school books centering on race, sex and LGBTQ people turns into conservative rallying cry (Hannah Knowles and Hannah Natanson, Washington Post, 11-12-21) “When we start allowing parents or general citizens to walk into a school’s library and pull books off the shelf, declare them pornographic or for whatever other reason,” said Rebecca Murray, a retired former school librarian in Spotsylvania County, “then we no longer have intellectual freedom in our school library.
Poll Shows Majority Oppose Banning Books About History, Race (School Library Journal, 2-24-22) According to a recent CBS News/YouGov poll, a large majority of Americans don't think books that discuss race, criticize America's history of slavery, or share different political views should be banned from school libraries or classrooms. More than 80 percent of those asked said those books should be taught.

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Discussion Guides for Graphic Novels (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) Comics are easy targets for would-be censors. These discussion guides can be used to lead conversations about challenged graphic novels and to help allay misconceptions about comics.
History of Comics Censorship (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) An online history in six parts.
CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) This free resource gives you the scoop on what comics are banned, how to report and fight censorship, and how to make a celebration of Banned Books Week in your community.
Banned Books Week 2021: Comics & Graphic Novel Edition (Franco V., Toledo Library)
Reasons for Banned Books (Libraries and Center for Academic Technology, Butler University) Among them: racial issues, encouragement of "damaging" lifestyles, blasphemous dialog, sexual situations or dialog, violence or negativity, presence of witchcraft, religious affiliations (unpopular religions), political bias, age inappropriate.

 

• “Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.” --Judy Blume, in a speech for Virtual Read Out, 2011

 

NCAC Opposes Removal of To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn from Minnesota Classrooms (National Coalition Against Censorship, 2-7-18) Based on a history of complaints about the use of racial slurs, both To Kill a Mockingbird and Huck Finn are being removed from all schools in the Duluth, MN school district. They'll remain in libraries, but will not be taught in classrooms. (And they are SO teachable when you teach them in historical context.)
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Returns to Mississippi School’s Reading List After Outcry (Christine Hauser, NY Times, 10-27-17) "The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee has been taught in countless classrooms and influenced generations of readers. Set during the Depression in a small Alabama town where a black man is accused of raping a white woman, its exploration of racism, injustice and discrimination has placed it among the most banned or challenged works of literature in the United States, according to the American Library Association."

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•  Anderson's 'Speak' Under Attack Again. Banned or "warned about" books: Rocco Staino, in School Library Journal (9-23-10), interviews Laurie Halse Anderson about strong reaction to Wesley Scroggins' op ed piece in Missouri's News Leader, cautioning parents against the "soft porn" of Anderson's "filthy" novel, Speak, about a teenager who chooses not to speak rather than give voice to what really happened: rape. Other books Scroggins warns parents about: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Anderson says that thousands of readers have written to say that Speak "made them feel less alone and gave them the strength to speak up about being sexually assaulted and other painful secrets."
Artist Creates Replica of Parthenon from 100,000 Banned Books (Jessica Stewart, My Modern Met, 7-6-17) Created from 100,000 banned books, this architectural replica of the Parthenon in Athens is a work in progress, with the public being asked to continue bringing volumes with them when visiting the exhibition, which is in in Kassel, Germany.

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Banned Books Week. Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), this annual event, held the last week of September, celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.
A familiar Russian playbook (Fred Hiatt, Washington Pot, 6-29-14)." In fall 1958, when Russian author Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the Soviet regime unleashed a campaign of vilification against their native son so brutal that it drove the author, then 68, to contemplate suicide. Pasternak’s crime was to have written a novel, “Dr. Zhivago,” that did not glorify the Bolshevik Revolution — and to allow the book to be published abroad when Communist authorities banned it at home." See what both sides in the Cold War did in The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book . See Alan Furst's review: "Finn and Couvée have taken a complex and difficult history with many moving parts and turned it into a kind of intellectual thriller."

US conservatives linked to rich donors wage campaign to ban books from schools (Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 1-24-22) The director of the American Library Association says the number of attempts to ban books in schools soared in 2021 and appears to be an organized effort by a number of conservative advocacy groups. These groups across the US, often linked to deep-pocketed rightwing donors, are carrying out a campaign to ban books from school libraries, often focused on works that address race, LGBTQ issues or marginalized communities.

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Book Ban Efforts Spread Across the U.S. (Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter, NY Times, 1-30-22) Challenges to books about sexual and racial identity are nothing new in American schools, but the tactics and politicization are. In Tennessee, the McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel “Maus” from an eighth-grade module on the Holocaust ostensibly because of nudity and curse words. Among the most frequent targets are books about race, gender and sexuality, including George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”

       The advocacy group No Left Turn in Education maintains lists of books it says are “used to spread radical and racist ideologies to students,” including Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Perhaps no book has been targeted more vigorously than “The 1619 Project,” a best seller about slavery in America that has drawn wide support among many historians and Black leaders and which arose from the 2019 special issue of The New York Times Magazine. It has been named explicitly in proposed legislation.

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16 Quotes from Great Authors for Banned Books Week (Tom Blunt, Signature, 9-18-17) Judy Blume,  Ray Bradbury, Allen Ginsberg, John Irving, Harper Lee, Toni Morrison, Philip Pullman, Justin Richardson, MD ("And Tango Makes Three"), Philip Roth, J.K. Rowling, Salman Rushdie, Morris Sendak, Mildred D. Taylor ("The Land"), Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut,
Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret (presented by the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund)performed in sixteen U.S. cities during Banned Books Week Sept. 24-30, 2017.
Banned Books Week Resists Censorship and Celebrates the Freedom to Read (Peter Montgomery, People For the American Way Foundation, 9-25-17)
Books on the Chopping Block (check out the list) is City Lit's annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts from these 10 banned books, in cooperation with the American Library Association, in special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago.
Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom throughout Your Library (Kristin Pekoll, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association)


What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books (lists)
Censorship vs. freedom of expression
Timelines of censorship history
Censorship by the numbers
Cancel culture
Prior restraint (government censorship)

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Banned and Challenged Books (lists of)


A tote bag with a message: "Warning: Contains banned books."
Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books (Publishers Weekly)
Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists (by year, 2001 to the present) Reasons are given for why each book was challenged.
10 Books Politicians Don’t Want You to Read (ACLU) Read book descriptions on ACLU website:
    The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman
    All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson
    Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Melissa by Alex Gino (formerly published as George)
    Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates


100 most frequently challenged books by decade (ALA)The American Library Association's list.
All the Graphic Novels Challenged in 2020 (Jordan Smith, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, 8-4-21)

---Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman & David Polonsky;

---Bass Reeves: Tales of the Talented Tenth by Joel Christian Gill;

---The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey;

---Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu; Drama by Raina Telgemeier;

---Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel;

---Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe;

---Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka;

---Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy by Rey Terciero & Bre Indigo;

---Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto;

---Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran.


Authors Guild Banned Books Club Each book’s author will lead the discussion─or if the author is deceased, a well-known writer who has a special affinity with the work─to help readers understand the story and find their own meaning in it.
---Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
---Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
---Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
---The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
---All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
---Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
---Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
---Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson


Read banned books...because you can (Powell's Books)
Top 10 Banned Books of All Time (Shortlist)
Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists
Banned & Challenged Classics (American Library Association. or ALA)
Frequently challenged young adult books (ALA)
Top ten frequently challenged books lists of the 21st century (by year -- ALA)
Katherine Paterson: The Risks of Great Literature . The celebrated and banned children’s book author speaks with us about the fears of censors, the deaths of children, and what we need to risk for literature. (Guernica)
My Book Was Censored in China. Now It’s Blacklisted — in Texas. (Andrew Solomon, NY Times, 11-23-21) On Oct. 25, the Texas state representative Matt Krause sent notice to the Texas Education Agency that he was initiating an inquiry into “school district content.” He appended a list

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Banned Books That Shaped America (Library of Congress list of books banned/challenged, as posted by Northeast High)
Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century (ALA)
Links to ALA's yearly lists of banned or challenged books
Frequently challenged children's books (ALA)
Frequently Challenged Books with Diverse Content
Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009
Top ten frequently challenged books lists of the 21st century (for 2000 through 2015)
15 Books Banned For The Most Absurd Reasons Ever (BuzzFeed). Can you guess which book was banned for depicting women in strong leadership roles? Hint: it’s a children’s book.

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The top 10 books Americans tried to ban last year (Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz, 9-29-15). No. 3 is And Tango Makes Three, based on the true story of two male penguins who raised a baby penguin together--a picture book aimed at 2- to 5-year-olds.
Top 10 Banned Books and Their Reason for Being Banned (About.com)
50 Most Frequently Banned Books (Jason Chervokas and Tom Watson, Cybertimes, 8-22-97)
I Read My 5-Year-Old Banned Books & You Should, Too (Lisa Catherine Harper, HuffPost 9-29-11
 

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Censorship by the Numbers

Censorship By the Numbers (Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, 2018)

     Challenge: Attempt to remove or restrict materials or services based on content

     Ban: Removal of materials or cancellation of services based on content

     531: Total number of materials affected in censorship attempts in 2018 (including books,  magazines, films, databases)

 

Who initiates challenges (ALA, 2021)

50% Parents
20% Librarian patrons
11% Board/administration
9%   Political/religious groups
5%   Librarians/teachers
4%   Elected officials
1%   Students

(Statistics based on 147 responses)

 

Five types of book censorship in 2018

62% Books

15% Programs, meeting rooms

10% Databases,magazines,films, games

6%   Displays, artwork

7%   Other (includes access,social media,hate crimes)

 

The top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom are:

---the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
---the material contained "offensive language"
---the materials was "unsuited to any age group"


• ****How book bans are affecting schools and libraries, (Theara Coleman, Briefing, The Week, 9-11-22) Librarians feel under siege as they battle the latest book ban wave. PEN America "attributes the new wave of book bans to the increasing number of "educational gag orders" being passed across the country. According to PEN, 36 states have introduced 137 educational gag order bills. Though only seven states have passed such laws, the number of proposed bills is 250 percent higher than in 2021. Many of these gag orders address the inclusion of critical race theory and LGBTQ themes in school. They are being used to facilitate the censorship of books in classrooms and school libraries.
         "The number of books being challenged has reached an unprecedented high, per The American Library Association. Compared to the usual 300-500 annual book challenges they receive, the number of challenges clocked in at 729 complaints levied against 1,527 different books in 2021.
       "One reason for the increasing political pressure around the issue is that parents are creating a national network to give each other tips on influencing the accessibility of books they deem harmful. Florida-based parental rights group Moms of Liberty has expanded to over 200 chapters nationwide."
        "Most censorship laws specifically target K-12 classrooms and higher education, but some states are contemplating expanding the bans to public libraries. While school libraries are directly addressed in most new regulations, the public library has primarily been protected because it is a public space protected by First Amendment rights."

 

Texas Banned Over 800 Books Last School Year (Caitlin Cruz, Jezebel, 8-19-22) "Florida pulled 566 books out of classrooms, while Pennsylvania banned 457—mostly in conservative York County. Tennessee only banned 349 bans across six districts, so it failed to even medal in the Dumb State Olympics.
     "According to the study, 1,648 individual titles were banned across the country, affecting 4 million students. Forty-one percent of the banned titles are about LGBTQ themes or have lead or prominent LGBTQ characters, and 40 percent have main or prominent characters of color.
     "The report identified at least 50 activist groups behind the spread of book bans, bent on changing public school systems.
     "It’s important to have queer stories accessible to make sure more people understand queer humanity. It’s important to tell stories of racism and sexism so students can learn about others’ experiences or feel less alone in their own lives. The people banning books appear to be intent on make the world smaller and smaller for American kids until empathy and intellectual curiosity are things of the past."

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What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books
Banned & challenged books (lists)
Censorship vs. freedom of expression
Timelines of censorship history
Censorship by the numbers
Cancel culture
Prior restraint (government censorship)

Cancel culture

Cancel culture or call-out culture is a contemporary phrase used to refer to a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been "cancelled". ~Wikipedia


Scholars Under Fire: 2021 Year In Review (FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)
* Over the past seven years, 537 incidents targeting a scholar for some form of professional sanction over constitutionally protected speech have occurred. Almost two-thirds of these targeting incidents have resulted in a sanction, and just over one-fifth have resulted in a scholar’s termination.
* Scholars were most often targeted for expressing a personal view or opinion on a controversial social issue (65 incidents; 59%).
*Over one-third of targeting incidents occurred because of a scholar’s scientific inquiry (20 incidents; 18%) or teaching practices (27 incidents; 24%).
*Almost half of scholars were targeted for expression regarding race or racial issues (54 incidents; 49%). And so on.
What It Means to Get 'Canceled' (Merriam-Webster)
The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture (Ligaya Mishan, NY Times, 12-3-20) The public shaming of those deemed moral transgressors has been around for ages. As practiced today, though, is the custom a radical form of citizen justice or merely a handmaiden to capitalism? This thoughtful piece gives examples from the right and the left.

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Katy ISD pulls books, cancels author’s visit after parents petition claiming subject matter teaches ‘critical race theory’ (Syan Rhodes, Click2Houston News, 10-4-21) Katy Independent School District said they have “temporarily” removed books by an award-winning children’s author from their library shelves after an outcry from parents claiming the subject matter promotes critical race theory. Jerry Craft is the writer and illustrator of “New Kid” and its sequel “Class Act”. He is the winner of the 2020 Newberry Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. Craft’s website describes the books, which feature young Black boys, as an “honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real” and as a laugh-out-loud funny, powerful and important story about being one of the few kids of color in a prestigious private school.”
         Scholars said critics have critical race theory all wrong. “Critical race theory is definitely not about teaching white kids that they are inherently racist. It’s really more about understanding how institutional racism is instituted in society, organizations and government,” said Darius Benton, an assistant professor at the University of Houston Downtown who contributed to a book about critical race theory in 2021.

Don’t Stop Using the Term ‘Cancel Culture’ (Komi T. German and Greg Lukianoff, Words Have Meanings, The Daily Beast, 3-25-22) The phrase has been overused and abused, but it describes an undeniably real problem that’s getting worse. "We work on college campuses, where cancel culture hit first and hardest, so we know that cancel culture is more than just a “feeling” people have. Since 2015, we documented 563 attempts (345 from the left, 202 from the right, 16 from neither) to get scholars canceled. Two thirds (362 incidents; 64 percent) of these cancellation attempts were successful, resulting in some form of professional sanction leveled at the scholar, including over one-fifth (117 incidents; 21 percent) resulting in termination.... in 2001, the idea of one tenured professor being fired for protected speech seemed impossible, yet since 2015 there have been 30.
       "The problem has only gotten worse, particularly over the past few years. Just since the start of 2020, there have been 283 cancellation attempts. Scholars are canceled most often for expressing a personal opinion (338 incidents; 60 percent), encouraging discussion of sensitive material (145 incidents; 26 percent), or presenting a scientific argument (136 incidents; 24 percent).
       "Since 2015, there have been 163 investigations, 117 terminations, 109 suspensions, 48 resignations, 45 censorship incidents, 33 demotions, 18 retractions, and 13 mandatory trainings—all for ideological reasons."

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A Guide to Disinvitation: My Conversation with Williams College President Adam Falk (Peter Wood, National Association of Scholars, March 2016) A thoughtful essay on "disinvitations on college campuses, as well as other snubs, actions prompting invited speakers to cancel their own appearances, and speakers showing up only to be drowned out by protester." This is a 'long and careful laying out of distinctions between academic, intellectual, and First Amendment freedoms, and how all three relate to the broader purposes of higher education. It was NAS’s attempt to stand back from the current melee over Black Lives Matter, microaggressions, safe spaces, and the like, to see if we could find some answers to today’s discontents. President Falk’s email seemed to provide an opening. He discerned “a line” that had been crossed. The first step would be to see if he would say what that line is.'
Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ (Jeffrey Goldberg,The Atlantic, 9-3-20) The president has repeatedly disparaged the intelligence of service members, and asked that wounded veterans be kept out of military parades, multiple sources tell The Atlantic. President Donald Trump canceled a visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018, saying “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.”

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How To Tell If You're Being Canceled (Nick Gillespie, Reason, 11-1-2020)Kindly Inquisitors author Jonathan Rauch on the never-ending battle to defend free speech. Rauch's book: Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought.
A Shameful Season for American Journalism (Christopher M. Finan, Opinion, Wall Street Journal, 9-24-18) The Nation, the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books all run scared from criticism. "Ian Buruma was forced out last week as editor of the New York Review of Books after publishing an essay by a man who admitted that he has abused women. Mr. Buruma’s sudden departure caps a shameful season of American journalism. In July, the Nation apologized for a poem for the first time in its 153-year history. In August, the New Yorker canceled a conversation at its annual festival between editor David Remnick and former White House aide Steve Bannon....The journalist’s job is to ask difficult questions, prompting what can be uncomfortable conversations. This can be complicated. Presenting objectionable views could suggest one is condoning them. Yet learning something about the experience and views of those we dislike or with whom we disagree is crucial to understanding the deepening—and dangerous—divisions in our society." As some observers put it, When does poor editorial or educational judgment cross over into censorship? And: "Engagement is not endorsement."

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What is cancel culture? Everything to know about the toxic online trend (Brooke Kato, NY Post, 8-31-21) A gossipy rundown on some of the most prominent cancellations.
Why we can’t stop fighting about cancel culture ( Aja Romano, Explainer, Vox, 12-30-20) Is cancel culture a mob mentality, or a long overdue way of speaking truth to power? See also The second wave of “cancel culture” ( Aja Romano, Vox, 5-5-21) How the concept has evolved to mean different things to different people. In the rhetorical furor, a new phenomenon has emerged: the weaponization of cancel culture by the right. Across the US, conservative politicians have launched legislation seeking to do the very thing they seem to be afraid of: Cancel supposedly left-wing businesses, organizations, and institutions; see, for example, national GOP figures threatening to punish Major League Baseball for standing against a Georgia voting restrictions law by removing MLB’s federal antitrust exemption.

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What you can do to fight book bans and challenges
Banned & challenged books
Banned & challenged books (lists)
Censorship vs. freedom of expression
Timelines of censorship history
Censorship by the numbers
Prior restraint (government censorship)

Freedom of Information and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA official site) enacted by Congress in 1966 to give the public access to information held by the federal government -- the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government.

     To get documents from a municipal, county, or state government organization, make the request according to the state's public records laws.  "An attorney could help you with this, but you could probably find the proper procedures by doing an Internet search using the terms '[name of state] public records request.' Some states even have an ombudsman or similar person in the state's attorney general office that may be able to assist." (H/T Bert Krages)

     You may also request information through police departments and other local departments. Try googling "FOIA [city or municipal] [state] police department), which will often take you to their online request form. ] Send a copy of your request to their legal counsel as well; that name will usually appear on their website.

     Responses to these requests typically move at a snail's pace.(H/T authors Bryanne Salazar, Anne Dalton). Some of the most useful links here are not at or toward the top, so skim the whole batch and look for what's best for your purposes.

New FOIA tip sheet can help you get the government information you need (Barbara Mantel, Covering Health, AHCJ, 9-8-21)
AHCJ's Right to Know Committee (Association of Health Care Journalists) When you're hitting roadblocks in your reporting, a good way to reach the committee is by going to its "trouble getting information" link: https://healthjournalism.org/trouble-getting-information/

You can also find that link on AHCJ's homepage https://healthjournalism.org/ and in AHCJ's email newsletter. Entering information in this portal: https://healthjournalism.org/trouble-getting-information/ allows AHCJ's right-to-know committee to track the issues and allows you to provide as much or as little information as you wish (though of course more is always better).
FOIA your way around the world (Samantha Sunne, Tools for Reporters, 5-4-22)
---The RTI Rating analyses the quality of the world’s access to information laws (Centre for Law and Democracy) RTI is missing some countries entirely, like Cuba and North Korea.
---Global Freedom of Information Laws (Global Investigative Journalism Network) This Global Right to Information Rating Map lists international FOI laws. More than 100 countries have laws that require officials to turn over public records; many other countries have no laws specifying whether those records should or should not be made available.
---Open Government Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) A compendium of information on every US state’s open records and open meetings laws
---FOIA Wiki A free and collaborative resource on the United States federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
FOIA for pros: A step-by-step guide (Society of Professional Journalists, SPJ)
FOIA fact sheet (Globe1234, lots of links, general focus Medicare) Worth checking.
Finding state FOIA information (National Freedom of Information Coalition) States have distinct rules for how you get information from state and local government, including schools, etc. (NFOIC, RCFP)
State FOI Resources (National Freedom of Information Coalition)
FOIA fact sheet (Paul Burke's excellent links, geared slightly to Medicare)
Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists (Government Accountability Project)
FOIA Mapper aims to make it easier for journalists to know where to look for public documents (Joseph Lichterman, Nieman Lab, 3-20-16) Independent data journalist Max Galka launched FOIA Mapper, a Knight Foundation-backed site, to streamline the FOIA process by helping users figure out the best ways to request the documents they need.
FOIA Mapper.
FOIA Machine This tool to automate and streamline FOIA requests (funded by a successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign and the Center for Investigative Reporting) contains the contact information for federal, state, and city agencies and can help you draft the letter, get related fees waived, and send your request. Create an account for free. (H/T AHCJ)
MuckRock A tool to help you file, track, and share public records requests.
MuckRock's Freedom of Information database
Muckrock archives Full of useful resources, including
---FOIA with friends: A MuckRocker’s guide to requesting public records (4-27-22)
---How you can use eviction data and public records to report on housing during the pandemic (3-3-22)
---How you can find more details about COVID-19 breakthrough cases in your hometown (Dillon Bergin)
---Requester’s Voice: Kris Newby, author of Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons
History Lab's Freedom of Information Archive
FOIA 101: Tips and Tricks to Make You a Transparency Master (Muckrock's compilation of links to many practical fact sheets and tips about FOIA. For example, FOIA FAQ: How to get media requester status (What you should know about FOIA fee categories - and how to make sure you end up in the correct one) and How open is your government? Find out. An interactive database drawn from MuckRock's database and from work by journalist Miranda Spivack, who developed data on open government in collaboration with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, students at Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication and Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.
The Freedom of Information Act (2016 stories about FOIA, Electronic Privacy Information Center, epic.org)
Sample FOIA Request Letters (National Freedom of Information Coalition)
Combating Government Secrecy Through Freedom of Information: A Best Practices Guide to FOIA Collaboration (PDF, Open the Government)
How journalists can navigate privacy laws Annie Waldman, NASW, 6-14-18)
Technology + Press Freedom (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) The Technology and Press Freedom Project uses integrated advocacy — combining legal efforts, policy analysis and public education — to defend and promote press rights on issues at the intersection of technology and press freedom, such as reporter-source confidentiality protections, electronic surveillance law and policy, and content regulation online and in other media.
FOIA exemptions (explained literally and by implication, by FOIAdvocates) "The FOIA maintains nine exemptions to the general presumption of mandatory disclosure. 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1)-(9). Generally, Congress intended the exemptions to protect against disclosure of information which would substantially harm national defense or foreign policy, individual privacy interests, business proprietary interests, and the efficient operation of governmental functions." As the 9th Circuit wrote in one court decision: "The Freedom of Information Act embodies a strong policy of disclosure and places a duty to disclose on federal agencies. As the district court recognized, 'disclosure, not secrecy, is the dominant objective of the Act.'" See also FOIA Exemptions (Dept. of Homeland Security)
What is a Vaughn Index in a Government FOIA Request? (John Davis, ClearanceJobs, 10-29-18) "A plaintiff’s challenge of the government’s use of an exemption in a FOIA case triggers the need for the government to produce a Vaughn. The Vaughn Index can take many forms such as a straight affidavit, a narrative document, an affidavit with a chart or index detailing the withholdings attached, or a hybrid of any of these examples. All Vaughns serve the same purpose; give a meaningful justification for any withheld materials, explaining under what authority of the nine exemptions of the FOIA it was withheld."
Coping with rejection: a guide to federal FOIA exemptions

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In the hunt for sustainability, DocumentCloud and MuckRock are joining together as one organization (Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, 6-11-18) MuckRock and DocumentCloud are joining into one organization on the quest for sustainability as a hub for some of journalism’s most widely-used tools for transparency. MuckRock has a payment system for users and organizations, which DocumentCloud is eager to introduce. DocumentCloud has brand recognition and is good at showing it’s important to the journalism community and getting foundational support. MuckRock users have also asked for annotation and others features that DocumentCloud already has.
Muckrock, a U.S. -based organization that assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through the Freedom of Information Act, then publishes the returned information on its website and encourages journalism around it. Fascinating and essential. See MuckRock makes FOIA requests easy, but will reporters use it? (Justin Ellis, Nieman Lab, 10-21-10).
On the health beat, public records can be a lifeline (Michael Morisy, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-1-18) AHCJ invited organizations devoted to government transparency to write about how their work can help health care reporters.
Public Records (AHCJ, Right to Know portal) Invaluable. Reporters can encounter obstacles in obtaining documents that reveal what the government is doing, or failing to do – on the local, state and federal levels. Some public record laws are weak, and they may also be poorly enforced. Here are resources and stories to guide you in accessing public records.
From veteran State House reporters to brand new bots, everyone loves FOIA (Michael Morisy, MuckRock, 3-30-18) Tips from a reporter who has used FOIA for over 20 years.
How one AP veteran exposes corruption in Illinois (Jackie Spinner, CJR, 3-27-18) Over 20 years, Associated Press’ John O’Connor has exposed corruption at nearly every level of Illinois government. His reporting on lies and government waste across five administrations have been one of few constants in a statehouse press corps that, like most others, is a shell of what it was a decade ago....O’Connor had presumed the Department of Veterans Affairs would deny his FOIA request under a section that exempts documents considered to be “preliminary,” and in which opinions are expressed. However, that exemption is overridden if the head of the public body describes the document in public, which the director of the VA had done before a legislative committee. O’Connor got the report, he says, “because I know the law.”
In FOIA decision, Supreme Court rules that food stamp data is confidential (Pia Christensen, Covering Health, AHCJ, 6-25-19) Much info on the case linked to here, including what's wrong about the decision, in AHCJ's view. "This decision is a serious blow to government transparency," said Felice J. Freyer, AHCJ's vice president and chair of its Right to Know Committee. "I hope Congress will revise the Freedom of Information Act to clarify its original intent. I'm pretty sure that most Americans want to know how their tax dollars are being spent, and believe they have a right to such information. 

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US sets new record for censoring, withholding gov’t files (Ted Bridis, Associated Press, 3-12-18) The federal government censored, withheld, or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists, and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an analysis of new data. The surge of people who sought records but ended up empty-handed was driven by the government saying more than ever it could not find a single page of requested files and asserting in other cases that it would be illegal under U.S. laws to release the information.
OTG Releases New Report Highlighting Challenges to Transparency in Washington, a Growing Surveillance State, and Attacks on Press Freedoms (Open the Government, 3-9-18)
FOI FYI (a Society of Professional Journalists blog)
iFOIA Resources (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, iFOIA.org). Dig deep for more resources, including iFOIA Letter Generator (produce a customized request letter in just a few easy steps--registration required to make next letter easier, I assume)
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Freedom of Information: Prison Access Policies (Jessica Pupovac, SPJ) Restrictive prison policies continue to be an issue — and a problem — for journalists. SPJ is working to keep prisons accessible and has developed this online resource of state access policies relating to the media.
**** Freedom of Information resources (Investigative Reporters & Editors, IRE) . Check out its tipsheets, story packs, videos, audio, listservs, and so on.
Right to Know: A Historical Guide to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (Ammo.com)
iFOIA.org (a free online system for creating, sending, and tracking federal and state freedom of information requests) and iFOIA tutorials (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) Generate requests, appeals, complaints and Vaughn motions.
Effective FOIA Requesting for Everyone: A National Security Archive Guide
Free Expression Network (FEN) (an alliance of organizations dedicated to protecting the First Amendment right of free expression and the values it represents, and to opposing governmental efforts to suppress constitutionally-protected speech)
Freedom of Information resources for journalists (NewsLab)
Transparency Watch (an IRE blog tracking the fight for open records)

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Center sues in an effort to make Medicare Advantage files public (Fred Schulte, Center for Public Integrity, 5-27-14) Freedom of Information Act suit targets government oversight of health care program and HHS's failure to respond to requests for information.
HHS releases guidelines for handling media requests (AHCJ, updated 6-8-12)

HHS Takes Steps to Improve Transparency with New FOIA Regulations (HHS.gov, 10-28-16)
---The new HHS rules on FOIAs (10-28-16). 90 days to appeal (not 30) and they stop processing a FOIA appeal when a requester files a lawsuit, among other changes.
---The previous HHS FOIA regulations
---CMS has its own rules on FOIA requests: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). See alsoCMS policies and procedures on processing FOIA requests.
Who Uses FOIA? – An Analysis of 229,000 Requests to 85 Government Agencies (Max Galka, FOIA Mapper, 3-13-17) Excellent graphics. Covered in Who files the most FOIA requests? It’s not who you think. (Cory Schouten, CJR, 3-17-17)
It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform (Jason Leopold, Vice News, 3-9-16)

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The Strange Politics of ‘Classified’ Information (Beverly Gage, NY Times Magazine, 8-22-17) "The new system also weighted the political scales in favor of officials adept at hiding unflattering facts and publicizing useful ones. At the F.B.I., the former director J. Edgar Hoover insisted that investigative files be kept secret, waging repeated battles to keep them away from the courts and Congress. But he also became a master of the leak, parceling out choice tidbits to reporters at strategic moments. The competing factions in today’s White House appear to understand this technique..."
Where the Sun Don't Shine (Paul D. Thacker, Slate, 3-2013) President Obama promised transparency and open government. He failed miserably. So why do Washington watchdog groups look the other way?
Why it's OK for taxpayers to 'snoop' on scientists (Charles Seife and Paul Thacker, L.A. Times, 8-21-15) If the public pays your salary, citizens have the right -- the duty, within limits -- to see and try to understand what you're doing. Scientists should be subject to the same rules as every other civil servant.
NYT’s Sarah Cohen will make you realize how much better your public records game could be (Ryan White, Center for Health Journalism, 12-15-15) "Statistics are a starting point, not an end....think of statistics as a signpost: They can point you to the “micro data” underlying them. Once you’ve obtained such data through a records request, you can perform your own analysis, without worrying over how the data were massaged into shape....According to Cohen, the real problem for most reporters is that they know more than the public information officers (PIOs). As a result, reporters should do everything they can to help PIOs find what they’re looking for — help them help you."

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PIO Censorship in the Era of Trump (Kathryn Foxhall, SPJ's FOI committee, Sunshine Week, 3-13-17) "President Trump has already labeled major press outlets the “fake news media” and the “enemy of the people.” His administration has blocked major news outlets from a briefing because it didn’t like what they published."
Excellence in Journalism conference Sept. 27-29, 2018 The SPJ - RTDNA conference in Baltimore, will include a session on Censorship by PIO. "Policies forbidding employees from unapproved communications with journalists are being enforced with
increasing aggressiveness, but they are almost certainly unconstitutional in
the government workplace and they may well violate federal labor laws in the
private sector."
Open Records, Shuttered Labs: Ending Political Harassment of Public University Researchers (Claudia Polsky, SSRN, 3-14-18) Every U.S. state has an open records law — a statute that permits any person, for any reason, to access the records of public agencies. This article focuses on the "political harassment of public university professors by activists on the right and left, through the mechanism of open records requests." Polsky "argues that professors should never have been subject to public records laws in the first instance, both because they are not engaged in public governance, and because open records laws are fundamentally incompatible with academic freedom. It further argues that the best way to stanch the present records request intrusion into scholars’ work is to create a broad scholar-records exemption from existing state laws."
Tips on prying loose records using FOIA requests, lawsuit (Fred Schulte, Association of Health Care Journalists Tip Sheet)

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Muckrock Projects include The Private Prison Project, Subjects Matter: FBI Files, FOIA the Trump Administration, Counting the Uncounted: The Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Project.
Muckrock News
FOIA legislative history
FOIA (Wikipedia entry, a good overview, but always double-check Wikipedia entries, as anyone can change the content)
Stanford Libraries FOIA archive (Preserved collection of sites that deal with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and documents. This includes government sites that receive and distribute FOIA documents (aka "FOIA reading rooms") as well as non-profit organizations and government watchdogs that request large numbers of FOIA documents on specific topics like national security and civil rights.)
Your Right to Federal Records (Electronic Privacy Information Center) Questions and Answers on the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act, 1992.

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National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) (a nonpartisan coalition, protecting your right to open government--news and analysis about "Open government is not a natural phenomenon. It's the law."
Freedom of Information Act and Government Transparency (Public Citizen)
Thanks to FOIA, you can (kinda) play the CIA’s collectible card game (JPat Brown, Muckrock, 12-6-17) Agency’s “Collection Deck” game is ready for you to print out and play - it’s just that some of the cards are a matter of national security
FOIA Clinics (Better Government Association, BGA, promotes reform in Illinois through investigative journalism, civic engagement and advocacy. We're a watchdog, shining a light on government and holding public officials accountable.
FOIA offices for various federal agencies

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Freedom of the Press

vs. escalating press office censorship in federal government, unjustly detained or imprisoned journalists, erosion of judicial respect, among other things

"If the press didn't tell you, who would?" (an old SPJ slogan)


Freedom of the Press (report) (Wikipedia) Features a wonderful map showing stages freedom of the press (or not) around the world.
Last Vestiges of Russia’s Free Press Fall Under Kremlin Pressure (Anton Troianovski and Valeriya Safronova, NY Times, 3-3-22) “Everything that’s not propaganda is being eliminated,” a Nobel Prize winning editor said as Russian authorities moved to control the narrative in the Ukraine war... Precipitating the outlets’ demise were plans by the Russian Parliament to take up legislation on Friday that would make news considered “fakes” about Russia’s war in Ukraine punishable by yearslong prison terms. The Russian authorities have already made it clear that the very act of calling it a “war” — the Kremlin prefers the term “special military operation” — is considered disinformation
Press freedom and government transparency during COVID-19 (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press). A white paper that looks at the implications of public health interventions for press freedom.
The Cigarette Smoking Man (Aymann Ismail, Slate, 8-12-21) I filmed inside the Capitol riot. When I heard from the FBI, I faced a vexing dilemma. “It’s a little tense, right? Because you guys have your job and we have ours,” he said.
RCFP's Leak Chart: Federal cases involving unauthorized disclosures to the news media, 1778 to the present (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) A comprehensive and comparable list of federal cases involving the leakage of classified information to the news media.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Free press topics: Content Restrictions, Court Access, Freedom of Information, Libel and Privacy, Newsgathering,Prior Restraint, Reporter’s Privilege. Resources: Press freedom and government transparency during COVID-19; Election Legal Guide; Reporters’ Recording Guide; Open Government Guide; Open Courts Compendium; Reporter’s Privilege Compendium; A Reporter’s Guide to Pre-Publication Review; FOIA and Federal Open Government; Anti-SLAPP Legal Guide.
Press Freedom 2020: Eleven questions for presidential candidates to answer (National Press Club Journalism Institute, in partnership with the National Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists and other organizations)
PEN's Writers at Risk Database. About its launch in 2019: During 2019, according to data collected for the inaugural edition of PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, "at least 238 writers, academics, and public intellectuals were in prison or held in detention unjustly in connection with their writing, their work, or related activism. Writers and intellectuals are often among the canaries in the coal mine who, alongside journalists and human rights activists, are first targeted when a country takes a more authoritarian turn. The unjust detention and imprisonment of writers and intellectuals impacts both the individuals themselves and the broader public, who are deprived of innovative and influential voices of dissent, criticism, creativity, and conscience. For this reason, the targeting of writers and public intellectuals for exercising their freedom of expression should be a source of grave concern to all."
Freedom to Write Index 2019 (PEN) "During 2019, at least 238 writers and public intellectuals were in prison or held in detention unjustly in connection with their writing....Just three countries—China, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—held 141 of the 238 cases in the 2019 Index....A fifth of the writers and public intellectuals in the 2019 Index are scholars held in detention or imprisoned by governments for their work."
Media’s legal defeats trouble First Amendment advocates (Josh Gerstein, Politico, 9-23-19) 'A string of recent court setbacks for news organizations is prompting jitters among First Amendment advocates who fear that it could signal an erosion of the deference press outlets have enjoyed for decades in cases challenging their reporting. Some legal experts view the rulings as signs that the courts’ view of the media is beginning to change, with more judges embracing the notion that major news outlets are partisan combatants rather than engaged in a dispassionate search for the truth....The recent rulings involved well-known, national media outlets: National Public Radio, The New York Times and Fox News. All the decisions evinced serious doubts about the media’s actions.'
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press Updates Subscribe to monthly updates, This Week In Technology + Press Freedom, updates about its reports or special analyses. See also these special guides:
---First Amendment Handbook (download PDF, free) A basic primer on the laws affecting reporters’ rights to gather and disseminate news.
---Police, Protesters and the Press This guide helps journalists understand their rights at protests and how to avoid arrest when reporting on these events.
---Election Legal Guide (in English or in Spanish)
---Open Government Guide A compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws.
---Open Courts Compendium A general guide to court access issues, with specific additional information for each state and federal circuit. Providing updated chapters as authors deliver them.
---Anti-SLAPP Legal Guide A general introduction to each state’s anti-SLAPP law, to the extent one exists. Read Overview of Anti-SLAPP Laws Anti-SLAPP laws give defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits—known as “SLAPPs” or “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation”—filed against them for exercising their First Amendment rights. These laws aim to discourage the filing of SLAPP suits and prevent them from imposing significant litigation costs and chilling protected speech.
---Additional legal resources: Map showing current state legislation status and police department policies regarding public access to police worn body camera footage; a comprehensive and comparable list of federal cases involving the leakage of classified information to the news media; press freedom on tribal lands; a reporter's guide to pre-publication review; Electronic Communications Surveillance: What Journalists and Media Organizations Need to Know, etc.
Nothing to declare: Why U.S. border agency's vast stop and search powers undermine press freedom (Report Summary, Committee to Protect Journalists, 10-22-18) The ability of a government agent to scour a phone or laptop without any legal process is a chilling prospect, particularly for journalists working with whistleblowers. But that is exactly the prospect journalists crossing a U.S. border face thanks to the wide powers granted to Customs and Border Protection agents, who can search electronic devices without warrant, and question reporters about past and current work. To measure the impact these warrantless searches have on the media, CPJ and its partners at Reporters Without Borders sent an open call to journalists who have been stopped at a U.S. border. They identified 37 journalists who said they found the secondary screenings invasive. Of these cases, 20 said that border agents conducted warrantless searches of their electronic devices. You can download the full report.
U.S. Press Freedom Tracker (Freedom of the Press Foundation, Committee to Protect Journalists, and a coalition of media partners) A database of press freedom incidents in the United States — everything from arrests of journalists and the seizure of their equipment to assaults and interrogations at the U.S. border. The Press Freedom Tracker documents incidents across the country, involving national, state and local authorities,  especially by governmental bodies and elected officials....The report pins part of the blame for the U.S. slide on President Trump and his regular attacks on the media. The president often uses the term "fake news" in describing the American media.
What Does Julian Assange's Indictment Under the Espionage Act Mean for Journalism? (Ofer Raban, Pacific Standard, 5-28-19) Originally published in The Conversation (5-25-19) as Assange’s new indictment: Espionage and the First Amendment What goes for Assange may also go for any person who obtains or discloses classified information—even journalists.
The Constitutional Rubicon of an Assange Prosecution (Elizabeth Goitein, Just Security, 5-9-17) 'In general, an employee who signs a non-disclosure agreement in order to gain access to classified government information may be prosecuted for leaking that information. Drawing the line between those who leak classified information and those who publish it thus makes constitutional sense in a way that drawing the line between “good” publishers and “bad” publishers does not....Allowing the FBI to determine who is allowed to publish leaked information based on the bureau’s assessment of their patriotism would cross a constitutional Rubicon. If that giant step were to become a precedent, it could very well spell the end of independent, objective national security reporting.'
Inchoate Liability and the Espionage Act: The Statutory Framework and the Freedom of the Press (Stephen Vladeck, Harvard Law and Policy Review, 2007, via Digital Commons) Parsing of the statutory text, and why it raises a First Amendment issue in cases like Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Revealed: The Justice Dept's secret rules for targeting journalists with FISA court orders (Trevor Timm, Exec. Director, Freedom of the Press Foundation, 9-19-18). Read Targeting Journalists Under FISA: New Documents Reveal DOJ’s Secret Rules (Ramya Krishnan, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, 9-17-18) "For years, press advocates suspected that the government was relying on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the communications of journalists and news organizations. New documents appear to confirm that suspicion." See also Secret Rules Make It Pretty Easy for the FBI to Spy on Journalists (Cora Currier, The Intercept, 6-30-18)

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Even the FBI Agrees: When Undercover Agents Pose as Journalists, It Hurts Real Journalists’ Work (Trevor Aaronson, The Intercept, 8-7-18) ... The government acknowledged in a court filing that FBI agents who pretend to be journalists create a chilling effect, making it harder for real journalists to gain trust and cooperation from sources. The astonishing admission came as the FBI attempted to fend off litigation from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which has filed requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act....
US falls to 45th on press freedom index, Trump labeled 'media-bashing enthusiast' (Joe Concha, The Hill, 4-25-18) Reporters Without Borders has dropped the United States to No. 45 in its annual ranking of press freedom for 180 countries around the world.
Reporters Without Borders press freedom index 2018 Norway and North Korea were first and last again in 2018. "Hatred of journalism threatens democracies."
Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ)
First Amendment Handbook (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press). for anyone disseminating news online, from an independent blogger to a reporter for a major media outlet, as well as media lawyers.
Student Press Law Center (SPLC, an important advocate for student press rights). One of its most important efforts, the New Voices campaign, is a student-powered grassroots movement to give young people the legally protected right to gather information and share ideas about issues of public concern. See how your state is doing on this New Voices State Tracker.
FAQs About Covering Student Walk-Outs and Protests (SPLC)

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Press Freedoms in the United States 2017 (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, A Review of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, March 2018) There were 45 physical attacks on journalists in the U.S. last year, and 34 arrests. There were at least
15 cases where law enforcement seized and in some cases even searched a journalist’s equipment, such as cellphones and cameras. At about p. 8, see How to Protect Yourself When Covering a Protest.
One dangerous year: Journalists under threat in 2017 (Christie Chisholm, Denise Southwood, and Alexandra Ellerbeck, CJR, Winter 2018) Seventy-six percent of the journalists arrested in the US in 2017 were apprehended during just three events: protests in St. Louis, Missouri, following the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley; in Washington, DC, during Donald Trump’s inauguration; and at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, in response to the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Source: The US Press Freedom Tracker)
Independent journalists account for 75 cases, or 29 percent of all members of the press who were imprisoned in 2017. Fifty-one percent of journalists jailed for their work are detained in Turkey, China, or Egypt. Thirty-three percent of the journalists killed (worldwide, and mostly outside of the US) in 2017 were independent journalists. This is one article in The Fear Issue: Threats of CJR.
When it comes to press freedom, America is no longer a ‘beacon’ for the world (Jon Allsop, CJR, 2-13-18) “We depend on the US to stand up for press freedom at the United Nations....It’s very hard when you have a president with this rhetoric and lack of normative power.” “The US has also been exporting press threats unrelated to Trump. Facebook and other social networks, for example, are US-based and often have a US-centric view of how their services should operate. Ingram touched on Facebook’s experiments in countries like Cambodia, where it recently removed news articles from users’ main feeds. While Facebook saw this as a kind of product-centric A/B test, it had serious consequences for citizens: In Cambodia, most people get their news from Facebook, and the country’s autocratic prime minister, Hun Sen, has made the site a key plank of his communications strategy. 'Facebook is a massive double-edged sword,' Ingram said. 'In fact, if there’s a sword that has more than two edges, Facebook is that sword.'”

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The absurdity of World Press Freedom Day: A brief history (Joel Simon, CJR, 5-2-18) "At the moment when information is being weaponized, the historic defenders of press freedom, the US and Europe, are failing to step up... the president of the United States is engaged in permanent war with the media and declares journalists to be enemies of the American people. Donald Trump shows no interest in defending the international system that has supported press freedom for the past two decades. Without global leadership, there is little consequence for countries that violate press freedom norms–whether it’s the Turkish government jailing journalists in record numbers or Israeli snipers shooting reporters as they cover the ongoing protests in Gaza, or a suicide bomb in Kabul targeted at journalists."
Censorship Creep Is Setting In as Social Media Companies Try to Stay Ahead of European Lawmakers (Tim Cushing, TechDirt, 3-15-18) "...much of the content being taken down by Google and others isn't even illegal under more extreme speech laws passed in European nations. The laws written in response to tragedies have managed to turn social media platforms into tools of government oppression....Companies headquartered in the nation with the most free speech protections are turning their back on protecting free speech. Overblown fears of radicalization have resulted in the removal of content with inherent journalistic value (not to mention possible investigative value) and efforts to clamp down on something no one can seem to define ("fake news") is turning American companies against American values....More speech is always better than less speech. But the snowballs rolling downhill from Google, Facebook, and Twitter are gathering speed. And those who feel the only speech worth protecting is speech they like are winning, in some cases without even having to lift a legislative finger."
A Libel Suit Threatens Catastrophe for the Climate of Public Debate (Michael A. Carvin and Anthony Dick, WSJ, 2-5-17) Michael Mann sues to silence critics, and errant courts ignore the First Amendment to help him. He reports on climate change (which he believes in) but critics question his numbers. So he sues them for defamation.
BookExpo 2017: At PEN America First Amendment Panel, Different Takes On Protecting Speech (John Maher, Publishers Weekly, 6-2-17) "BookExpo and PEN America's joint panel on Thursday afternoon, "The First Amendment Resistance," found activists and speech advocates from various industries debating the ethical and civil responsibilities writers and publishers have in an era of partisan enmity and so-called alternative facts."

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Access denied: Reporters say federal officials, data increasingly off limits (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 3-30-15) Reporters often encounter closed doors when seeking data and interviews from the administration.
The Memory Hole 2, run by Russ Kick, saves important documents from oblivion, so when an important government web page disappears (e.g., EPA and FAA regulations that were withdrawn/deleted when the Trump Administration took office), you may find it here. Likewise, the deleted Trump tweets. You may also find many things on The Internet Archive (The Wayback Machine).
Open the Government.org . Its focus issues: Improving access, opening government, preserving records, reducing secrecy, surveillance transparency.
The Press Should Skip the White House Briefings (John A. Farrell, Op-ed, NY (1-24-17) "Get out of the press room, and look for access elsewhere."
Holding Government Accountable (Open the Government.org's links to partners in Holding Government Accountable; Ensuring and Improving Access to Information; Reforming National Security Secrecy; Protecting Civil Liberties; Opening State and Local Government)
That R. Kelly ‘cult’ story almost never ran. Thank Hulk Hogan for that. (Margaret Sullivan, WaPo, 7-30-17) After Jim DeRogatis, the veteran Chicago rock critic, reported for months on a stunning story about R&B singer R. Kelly and the young women said to be under his psychological and sexual control, it came time to get it published. Many venues turned it down, for fear of lawsuits like Hulk Hogan's invasion-of-privacy suit "bankrolled by billionaire Peter Thiel, a confidant of President Trump."

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2017 World Press Freedom Index -- tipping point (Reporters Without Borders). The U.S. again ranks 47th in press freedom. "The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms – especially in democracies. " "Donald Trump’s rise to power in the United States and the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom were marked by high-profile media bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation, and fake news."
Talk to the Hand (Jenni Bergal, Nieman Reports, Spring 2014). Public health reporters say federal agencies are restricting access and information, limiting their ability to cover crucial health issues. Transparency crucial for reporting on health stories.
When Censorship Becomes a Cultural Norm (Kathryn Foxhall, Editor & Publisher, 5-16-14)
Judge Says Reporter for New York Times Must Testify at ‘Baby Hope’ Trial (James C. McKinley, NY Times, 8-4-16) When journalists witness or report on criminal activities, can they be forced to testify in court?
2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring (Reporters Without Borders) 2013 World Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders launches media freedom “indicator”

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Freedom of the press worldwide 2013 (map- -how is your government doing?)
Freedom of the press worldwide, 2013, full report from Reporters Without Borders
Freedom House, among other things, publishes results of annual surveys ranking countries in terms of freedom and freedom of the press. Many excellent resources, including country rankings and maps.
Running into a brick wall with your FOIA request? Take it public (Kelly Hinchcliffe, Poynter, 5-4-16). A story about this story: Foiled by FOIL: How One City Agency Has Dragged Out a Request for Public Records for Nearly a Year ( Joaquin Sapien, Pro Publica, 4-21-16)
Charlie Hebdo shooting (Wikipedia) On 7 January 2015 at about 11:30 local time, two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others. Perpetrator: Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Stand up for press freedom by wearing a 'Je suis Charlie' T-shirt (The Guardian, 1-8-15) PR calls on people to show their support for the Charlie Hebdo victims
a FOIA primer ("Your right to data") by investigative journalist Djordje Padejski, from The Data Journalism Handbook (free, online)
Requesting data from public agencies: A primer (Kristen Hare, Poynter, 3-18-15)
• Freedom of information in UK: Open Secrets (Martin Rosenbaum's blog for BBC News)
National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC), protecting your right to open government.

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Resources on obstruction of reporting by public affairs offices (Kathryn Foxhall, 7-7-14)
Examples of interference with reporting (Kathryn Foxhall, 7-7-14)
Mediated Access: Public Information Officers’ Perceptions of Media Control (PDF, Carolyn S. Carson and Roberta Jackson, NAGC 3-11-13)
Mediated Access: Education Writers’ Perceptions of Public Information Officers’ Media Control Efforts (Carolyn S. Carlson & Megan Roy, SPJ report, 2014)
Mediated Access: Local Reporters’ Perceptions of Public Information Officers’ Media Control Efforts (PDF, Carolyn S. Carlson & Megan Roy, SPJ report, 2014)
VA Honesty Project (House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, highlighting the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lack of transparency with the press and the public about its operations and activities)
Sunshine Week website (Open government is good government) Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
Government Public Affairs Offices: More Hindrance Than Help? (C-Span records panel of journalists and former govt affairs officers talking about transparency and the role of government public affairs officers, 8-12-13)
Stonewalling by government PIOs is one problem reporters face; some are responding to it by writing about it.
Sunshine Week (SPJ)

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Tape recording laws at a glance (U.S., state by state)
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Wikipedia's useful entry)

See also
Censorship, banned books, and freedom of expression

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Sunshine laws, government transparency, open government, shield laws, and Sunshine Week


Sunshine Laws (U.S. open meeting laws, often referred to as “sunshine laws,” requiring agency officials to hold certain meetings in public) "These laws do not necessarily ensure that members of the public will be allowed to address the agency, but they do guarantee that the public and the media can attend the meetings."
State Secrets: Open government laws across the nation (Journal Sentinel) How open is your state government? Select a state to see its report card. With state and local government secrecy on the rise in many U.S. jurisdictions, this database offers a view of state open records and open meetings laws, and provides information about how to get what you are looking for, as well as ensure that government is operating in the sunlight.
Open Government Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) A compendium of information on every state’s open records and open meetings laws, detailing the rights of reporters and other citizens to see information and attend meetings of state and local governments. Each state’s section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare laws in various states.
The Foilies 2021: Recognizing the Year’s Worst in Government Transparency (MuckRock, recognizing the year’s worst in government transparency, together with the Electronic Frontier Foundation). A roundup of some of the most outrageous redactions, absurd reasoning, and other obstacles to openness agencies around the United States put up — as well as a number of times persistent requesters overcome the odds to get their documents.
The Santa Clara Principles On Transparency and Accountability in Content Moderation These principles are meant to serve as a starting point, outlining minimum levels of transparency and accountability that we hope can serve as the basis for a more in-depth dialogue in the future. Three principles were proposed: initial steps that companies engaged in content moderation should take to provide meaningful due process to impacted speakers and better ensure that the enforcement of their content guidelines is fair, unbiased, proportional, and respectful of users’ rights.

1) Numbers: three principles as initial steps that companies engaged in content moderation should take to provide meaningful due process to impacted speakers and better ensure that the enforcement of their content guidelines is fair, unbiased, proportional, and respectful of users’ rights.

2) Notice: Companies should provide notice to each user whose content is taken down or account is suspended about the reason for the removal or suspension.

3) Appeal: Companies should provide a meaningful opportunity for timely appeal of any content removal or account suspension.
•  As First Federal Execution in 16 Years Nears, Will the Government Follow the Law? (John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation, Bloomberg Law, 11-26-19) "The federal government recently signaled its intention to resume executions following a 16-year hiatus by simultaneously announcing its new lethal injection procedure and scheduling five execution dates, with the first to take place in early December.Unfortunately, the federal government unveiled its new execution procedures without going through the required rulemaking process that allows for public scrutiny and accountability. It is essential that the government’s new procedure follow the rulemaking process of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) before any execution may proceed....Lethal injection is a complex undertaking, and getting it right requires due diligence. Over the last decade, we have seen too many botched executions across the country. Execution drugs have failed to work as intended, leaving condemned prisoners alive and struggling for as long as two hours. Executioners have failed to set functioning IVs, injecting drugs into the prisoner’s flesh and potentially inflicting grievous pain. Some attempted executions, including one in Alabama in 2018, have been so mishandled and gone so wrong that the execution team had to abandon the effort altogether."
Local governments hide public records, face few consequences (Miranda S. Spivack, The Center for Investigative Reporting, Journal Sentinel, 11-16-16)
•   Rosemary Awards, "for worst open government performance." See NSA article about the Rosemary Awards in 2015. The National Security Archive established the "not-so-coveted" Rosemary Award in 2005, named for Rose Mary Woods, President Nixon's secretary, who claimed in testimony that she accidentally erased 18-and-a-half minutes of a crucial Watergate tape. "Bestowed annually to highlight the lowlights of government secrecy, the Rosemary Award has recognized a rogue's gallery of open government scofflaws, including the CIA, the Treasury Department, the Air Force, the FBI, the Justice Department, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper." Among tidbits: "The unfortunate silver lining of Hillary Clinton inappropriately appropriating public records as her own is that she likely preserved her records much more comprehensively than her State Department colleagues, most of whose e-mails have probably been lost under [State Department CIO Steven] Taylor's IT leadership."
Watchdog group charts open government winners and losers
Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech (download free PDF, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). Three workbooks: Understand Context and Conflict. Select and Guide Audiences. Design Medium, Speakers, and Message Content. Author: Rachel Brown.  [I realize this doesn't quite belong here, but I couldnt' figure out where else to put it!--PMc]

Open Government Plans Audit (OpenTheGovernment.org, "Americans for Less Secrecy, More Democracy", 2010 )
Public contracts shrouded in secrecy (Miranda S. Spivack, The Center for Investigative Reporting and Journal Sentinel, 11-16-16)
Sunshine Week. NPC, SPJ and the Education Writers Association presented two surveys on press office interference, which show that the problem is pervasive. Most reporters said they felt the public is not getting the information it needs because of the barriers.
State Sunshine Laws Promise More Transparency (Carol Cruzan Morton, The Lund Report, 9-6-17) Less than a month after Anthony Montwheeler was released from state psychiatric custody, he was charged with kidnapping and stabbing to death his ex-wife and killing a Vale, Oregon, man in a car crash while eluding police. At the December 2016 public hearing that led to his discharge, Montwheeler testified he had faked mental illness 20 years earlier to avoid prison for kidnapping and other crimes. "The case points to a gap in the legal system," writes Malheur Enterprise. "There is no provision – no consequences — for what to do with someone who fakes a mental illness after criminal conduct." Morton: "The next question was: How could a person feign mental illness for 20 years and then be released back into the community, despite being considered a threat? To help answer that, Zaitz had asked for the exhibits, including the mental health assessments, considered at the discharge hearing held by the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB). He also directed a request to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), the agency with oversight for the State Hospital. Both agencies disagreed with the AG’s assessment that public interest outweighed health privacy....This disclosure tussle may have been the most extreme case in recent years of clashes and complaints about public records and meetings in Oregon related to healthcare. Interestingly, it occurred against a backdrop of broad new reforms in the public records laws that promise greater government transparency."
Sunshine Week (SPJ)
New tools aim to help journalists track removal of information from federal websites (Rachel Bergman, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-15-18)
Web Integrity Project (WIP) "Government websites are changing the information they supply related to topics such as sexual orientation and women’s health, and the Web Integrity Project (WIP) at The Sunlight Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., has been on a mission to track those changes."
How federal agencies are quietly removing government Web resources, and why it matters (Toly Rinberg and Andrew Bergman, Sunlight Foundation, 11-15-17)
Sunshine Week website (Open government is good government) Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.
U.S. government secrecy making historical research difficult (James McGrath Morris, Aljazeera America, 10-23-13). By redacting all documents, no matter how benign, the government is throwing its past down the memory hole....It will not be long before the government will include all of its historical past among its secrecy prerogatives."
Mediated Access: Local Reporters’ Perceptions of Public
Information Officers’ Media Control Efforts
(PDF, Carolyn S. Carlson & Megan Roy, SPJ report, 2014)
Transparency Watch (an IRE blog tracking the fight for open records)

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Prior restraint

(government censorship)


Opinion: A judge is restraining the New York Times from reporting on Project Veritas. That sets a dangerous precedent. (Stephen J. Adler and Bruce D. Brown, Washington Post 12-15-21) A court in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court stayed a Dec. 24 judicial order requiring the New York Times return or destroy copies of material Project Veritas claims is protected by attorney-client privilege, and will hear arguments next week on provisions of the order preventing further dissemination. The Reporters Committee, along with 50 news media organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court letter in support of the Times at the trial court, and RCFP Chairman Stephen Adler and Executive Director Bruce Brown penned an op-ed noting that the prior restraint in this case had been in place for far longer than the Pentagon Papers.
The Skokie Case: How I Came to Represent the Free Speech Rights of Nazis (David Goldberger, ACLU, 3-2-2020) A first-person account of an event that happened in Illinois in 1977, with interesting repercussions. See also the American Nazi Leader's Application for assembly in Skokie, IL, June 22, 1977
CDC Should End Censorship on Journalists, Says D.C. Chapter of SPJ (Release from the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, PR Office Censorship, 2-26-21) The gist: restrictions on staff speaking to reporters without notifying authorities amount to a human rights abuse, withholding critical perspective from the public and from health professionals.
A reporter went public when denied an interview. Here’s what happened next … (Felice J. Freyer, Covering Health, AHCJ, 5-20-19) "The Boston Globe’s environmental writer was used to being denied interviews with state scientists and officials. But this latest refusal from the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker was just too absurd. Abel had been forbidden to speak with the state ornithologist"...about birds!...So he went public in a big way and, in so doing, provided an example for health care reporters, who often face similar frustrations at the state and federal levels."
How to deal with obstructive public information officers? Challenge them. (Cinnamon Janzer, CJR, 5-20-19) "The Public Information Officer is a frequently obstructive mechanism thinly veiled by a helpful sounding title. PIO-approved comments shape the narratives of their news coverage across the country on matters that range from the mundane to the extremely consequential....'LoMonte’s advice to journalists facing uncooperative agencies and their PIOs is to get a written copy of the agency’s media policy. See what it actually says and whose signature is on it, he says; public information officers often have little or no authority themselves to enforce the policies they write. “There’s a real legal question as to how enforceable a memo like that is,” he says. In the meantime, Carlson says journalists should be writing about obstruction by PIOs directly. “When the government is obstructing your ability to get those answers, the public needs to know exactly what they’re doing,” she says. “You have to make it clear early in the story… It’s not that they’re too busy or whatever BS answer they gave you. You have to call it what it is and tell the public what happened.”'
Seven attempts by PIOs to stymie journalism (Kathryn Foxhall, SPJ FOI Committee)
Prior restraint (useful section on Wikipedia) Prior restraint (also referred to as prior censorship or pre-publication censorship) is censorship imposed, usually by a government, on expression that prohibits particular instances of expression.
Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company (Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongobay, 6-21-18) Muhammad Yusuf, a journalist in Indonesia, reportedly died of a heart attack earlier this month while being held on charges of hate speech -- defaming a palm oil company owned by a powerful tycoon. Activists and fellow journalists question the circumstances surrounding Yusuf’s arrest and death, and suspect the company used the defamation charges to silence Yusuf. (Clearly I need a new section for these threats to human rights.)
Government Censorship (Prior restraints) (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, from The First Amendment Handbook)
Nevada court ruling on Vegas victim’s autopsy raises prior restraint concerns (Pete Vernon, CJR, 2-16-18)
Near v. Minnesota (1931) (Bill of Rights Institute) This Landmark Supreme Court Cases and the Constitution eLesson focuses on the 1931 Supreme Court case Near v. Minnesota. In this landmark freedom of the press case, the Court struck down a state law allowing prior restraint (government censorship in advance) as unconstitutional. In so ruling, the Court applied the First Amendment’s protection of press freedom to the actions of state governments through the doctrine of incorporation.
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
The Doctrine of Prior Restraint (FindLaw, Annotation 9--First Amendment)
Prior restraint vocabulary quizlets (oddly helpful)
Sedition, Incitement and Prior Restraint Chp.3 (vocabulary flashcards)

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What's up with shield laws

(journalists' right to protect confidential sources)


"The truth is that although the Supreme Court has not closed the door on a First Amendment-based right of journalists to protect their confidential sources’ identities, it has yet to embrace such a right in so many words. And in the absence of a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court, some lower courts have rejected the notion of [such a] right in a number of contexts. “The result has been that, in at least some cases, reporters have either gone to jail or been ordered to pay significant, escalating fines. The federal shield law that then-Congressman Pence championed during the Bush and Obama administrations would have been a comparatively good deal for working journalists. The next time there is an opportunity to get it passed (and there will be one), journalists would be well served to line up enthusiastically behind that legislation.” -- from What some reporters get wrong about the First Amendment (Jonathan Peters, CJR, 2-5-18)
The Press Just Got a Big Win. Let’s Make It Permanent. (Stephen J. Adler and Bruce D. Brown, NY Times, 7-20-210) In May and June 2021, "the Justice Department notified CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post that the Trump administration had authorized the secret seizure of eight reporters’ phone and email logs as part of sweeping national security leaks investigations....while most states have laws protecting media sources in state courts, Congress has never passed a federal shield statute....

     "After decades in which federal prosecutors took steps to try to unmask confidential sources who speak to reporters, Attorney General Merrick Garland on Monday largely removed that threat and enhanced the free flow of information to the public....When sources fear that their confidences may be compromised by law enforcement — even if actual seizures of records are relatively rare — they may decline to come forward, leaving the public in the dark about vital issues. That’s why the new rule, which replaced a policy that was more favorable to the purposes of law enforcement, is so important to the press and the public....

     "The new Justice Department rule marks the latest chapter in a 50-year struggle between the press and the federal government over protection for journalists’ sources. If Congress acts promptly, the Justice Department policy, rather than just a temporary fix, can become a durable part of our nation’s core press freedoms."
Reporter’s Privilege Compendium (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) A compendium (and map) of information on the reporter’s privilegethe right not to be compelled to testify or disclose sources and information in court — in each state and federal circuit. Each section is arranged according to a standard outline, making it easy to compare the law in various states. The map shows which states have no shield law; have no shield law, but recognize a privilege for sources that is qualified or contains exceptions; have a shield law, but privilege for sources is qualified or contains exceptions; have a shield law and absolute protection for sources, except in certain circumstances.
Shield Law 101: Frequently Asked Questions (Society of Professional Journalists) What is a shield law?
The Reporter's Privilege (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) A compendium of information on the reporter's privilege -- the right not to be compelled to testify or disclose sources and information in court -- in each state and federal circuit.
Shield laws and protection of sources by state (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)prote
The limits of promising confidentiality (very practical overview and advice from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
Shield laws and protection of sources by state (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
On shame and shield law (Sonny Albarado, SPJ, on fight for a federal shield law to protect journalists and their sources from unwarranted snooping by government prosecutors and other lawyers, 5-20-13)
Shield laws and journalist’s privilege: The basics every reporter should know (Jonathan Peters, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-22-16) "What is a shield law, exactly? When can a government official require a reporter to disclose sources or information? Who counts as a journalist under a shield law? What types of sources or information are protected? Is there a big difference between a subpoena and a search warrant? Why a reporter’s privilege exists (sometimes). Excellent primer for journalists (and those who count on their maintaining confidentiality).
State Shield Laws (Digital Media Law)
Shield Laws in the United States (Wikipedia)
Federal shield law supporters examine whether law would protect James Risen (Jeff Zalesin | Reporter's Privilege, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 7-22-13)
Number of states with shield law climbs to 40 (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 2011, sidebar)
Journalist Shield Law. (C-Span) Kurt Wimmer, counsel for the Newspaper Association of America, talked about the the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, being sponsored by bipartisan members of Congress, and answered questions.
Reporter Shield Laws, Jun 14, 2007 Witnesses testified about the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007. The act included procedures through which disclosure of confidential information from a journalist or a communication service provider may be compelled. They talked about proposals for federal shield laws, source confidentiality, recent investigations into reports activities and actions by government personnel, free speech concerns, and possible exceptions for national security cases.
Clymer on Media Shield Law Steven Clymer, a former D.A. and U.S. attorney, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the proposed media shield law. Clip from 2005.
Proposed Media Shield Law Leads To Debate Over Who Is A “Journalist” (Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway, 9-13-13) He asks, Is the First Amendment irrelevant to a discussion of media shield laws? " The "Senate is debating a bill that would extend a testimonial privilege to a certain class of people and, in order to do so, they have to come up with some definition that can guide the Courts. Given the fact that testimonial privileges are generally frowned upon in the law, and that there is a price to be paid if someone with relevant information in a criminal case is able to withhold that information, it makes sense that the definition should not be overly broad."
Support grows for journalist shield law after Justice Dept. snoops on The Associated Press (Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 5-16-13)
Federal media shield law makes prosecuting journalists even easier (Al Stefanelli, Syndicated News Services, 5-18-13). Obama wants exception on national security issues.

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Codes of Ethics, Standards and Guidelines, Statements of Principle, and Best Practices (for media and writer organizations and publications)

If you get a "page could not be found" message, search for the name or the organization plus "code of ethics." Updated websites often produce error messages.


AAA Principles of Professional Responsibility (American Anthropological Association, AAA Ethics Blog
American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) Code of Ethics
American Society of News Editors (ASNE) Statement of Principles and ASNE's excellent links to ethics codes of various U.S. newspapers and news organizations
Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America Code of Ethics and Standards
AP News Values & Principles (Associated Press)
ASEAN Journalists Code of Ethics (Accountable Journalism)
Association of Health Care Journalists Statement of Principles (AHCJ also endorses the SPJ code of ethics
Association of Personal Historians Code of Ethics
Association of Professional Communication Consultants Code of Ethics
B2B Journalist Ethics: An ASBPE Guide to Best Practices (American Society of Business Publication Editors)
Blogger Code of Ethics (From the Left)
BuzzFeed News Standards And Ethics Guide
Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines. Particularly well-outlined and -detailed. Revised in 2002, in wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandals.
CBC Radio Code of Journalistic Practices (Canada)
Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries (Center for Media & Social Impact, formerly Center for Social Media)
Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry (Center for Social Media)
A Code of Ethics for IT (Tam Harbert, for Computerworld). See also Ethical issues for IT security professionals (Deb Shinder, Computerworld, 8-2-05)
Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines for Journal Editors (COPE, Committee on Publication Ethics)
Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) Guidelines. There are several of these, as PDFs, including
~Code of Conduct and Best Practices Guidelines for Journal Editors
~Guidelines for Retracting Articles
~A Short Guide to Ethical Editing for New Editors
~Code of Conduct for Journal Publishers
~How to handle authorship disputes: a guide for new researchers (Tim Albert and Elizabeth Wager)
Code of Ethics for Science Writers (National Association of Science Writers). See also NASW's Online Code of Conduct
Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Code of Ethics and Business Conduct for Employees of the (PDF). See also
Independence and Integrity II:The Updated Ethics Guide for Public Radio Journalism (PDF, 2004, 55KB); and the earlier version: Independence and Integrity: A Guidebook for Public Radio Journalism (1995)
Council of Science Editors Code of Conduct
Documenting Tragedy: The Ethics Of Photojournalism (NPR, Talk of the Nation, 12-6-12). Audio and transcript. When the New York Post published a freelancer's photograph of a man trapped in the path of an oncoming subway train, many photojournalists, editors and consumers decried the decision as unethical. Others argue that the photo was essential to the story.
Dramatists Guild of America Bill of Rights (in process and production, in compensation, and in ownership)
Editorial Integrity for Public Public Media: Principles, Policies, & Practices
Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA) Code of Fair Practice
Editors Canada Professional Editorial Standards
Ensuring editorial excellence:The SfEP code of practice (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, UK)
Ethical guidelines for editing audio (The Canadian Journalism Project). See also: Truth in audio: Have you crossed an ethical line? (Mindy McAdams, Teaching Online Journalism, 6-8-07)
Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research (American Chemical Society)
Ethics in Science Journalism (Reported features, The Open Notebook) How to Report International Stories Ethically, What to Do When a Source Asks to See Your Unpublished Copy, and other articles.
Ethics resources (World Association of Medical Editors, WAME) Excellent sets of links to guidelines for editors of medical journals. The list is divided generally into Research Ethics and Publication Ethics, although the two topics are closely related.
Food Blog Code of Ethics. See also The Food Ethics Blog
Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines
Guidance for BBC Global News on Marketing Events (This guidance applies to commercial services operated by BBC Global News including BBC World News and bbc.com/news.) Interesting A to Z Guidance
A Historian's Code by Richard Stewart (Writers and Editors)
HON Code of Conduct for medical and health Web sites (HONcode) (Health on the Net Foundation, or HON)
Internet Society Code of Conduct (for Individual Members...Engagement, Community Rules, & Etiquette)
International Society for Medical Publication Professionals, Inc. (ISMPP) Code of Ethics (PDF file)
Journalism ethics and standards (Wikipedia -- a good summary)
Los Angeles Times Ethics Guidelines (1-1-11) and Social Media Guidelines
MPR News Ethics Guidelines (Minnesota Public Radio). See also Minnesota Public Radio: Ten Tenets from MPR News (8-14-01)
National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics (NPPA, The voice of visual journalists)
National Association of Science Writers Code of Ethics (NASW)
National Press Photographers Association, Inc. Code of Ethics ("The voice of visual journalists")
National Public Radio ethics code
New York Times, The: Ethical Journalism: A Handbook of Values and Practices for the News and Editorial Departments (helpfully organized by topic). The New Yorker ran an interesting story about the Times stiff ethical guidelines: The Code (Nick Paumgarten, 1-27-03)
The New York Times Company Standards and Ethics
NPR ethics handbook This is NPR. And these are the standards of our journalism.
---An Introduction To NPR's Ethics Handbook (Edward Schumacher-Matos, NPR Ombudsman, 3-16-12). One document presents NPR's Guiding Principles. It is a table of contents to the other document, a handbook to help guide journalists through various ethical decisions with specific case studies. "More than a series of rules, the guideline is based on principles, which realistically reflects how journalism works and how so many day-to-day decisions come down to judgment calls by editors and reporters. The principles will help guide them in making decisions, without telling them what to do in each case. Sprinkled throughout the handbook are case studies that discuss the right decisions in other real-life circumstances....Among the central principles is that the new guidelines focus on standards of fairness and impartiality, as opposed to balance and objectivity. "
---NPR Tries to Get its Pressthink Right (Jay Rosen, PressThink 2-26-12). Rosen writes: NPR "now commits itself to avoiding the worst excesses of 'he said, she said' journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report. It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being 'fair to the truth.'
NYU Journalism Handbook for Students: Ethics, Law and Good Practice by Prof. Adam L. Penenberg (Carter Journalism Institute, 2020) Read free online.
Online News Association Mission, Vision, Values
Oral History Association's Principles and Best Practices (replacing Oral History Evaluation Guidelines. In a Reflection on the OHA’s New Code of Ethics, John A. Neuenschwander urges that OHA add another principle: "Interviewers may also hold a copyright interest in the interviews that they conduct and should always be so informed by the program or archive for which they work or volunteer of their potential rights."
PBS Editorial Standards and Policies (Public Broadcasting Service)
Pew Research Center code of ethics. See also Do pollsters have a code of ethics? If so, what is in the code.. Links to CASRO Code of Standards and Ethics (Council of American Survey Research Organizations)
ProPublica Code of Ethics This Code is designed to supplement ProPublica’s Conflicts of Interest Policy (required by the Internal Revenue Service), and set out our expectations and aspirations for the conduct of our newsroom.
Public Media Code of Integrity A joint initiative of the Affinity Group Coalition and the Station Resource Group, with support from the National Educational Telecommunications Association. These guidelines (summarized here in bullet points ), for the public broadcasting system, were a product of the Editorial Integrity for Public Media project.
Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA Guiding Principles)
RTDNA Code of Ethics (Radio Television Digital News Association). See also RTDNAS's valuable Coverage guidelines for use on a range of ethical issues (such as covering breaking news, live coverage, bomb threats, mass shootings, use of confidential sources)
Reporting and Portrayal of Tribal Peoples (BBC, Guidance in Full, Obtaining Consent, Accuracy, Safety, Further advice)
SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics (Society of American Archivists). See also Society of American Archivists Code of Conduct for Archivists
Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) code of ethics and code of conduct (the latter available only to members)
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethics. See Code Words (blog about third revision, in process August 2013)
Standards and Guidelines: Professional Practices for Artists (College Art Association, 1977)
A Statement of Principles for Health Care Journalists by Gary Schwitzer 2004. A story about principles of Association of Health Care Journalists, for The American Journal of Bioethics 4(4):W9. (I am currently unable to find a working link for this statement.)
TAA Code of Ethics (Textbook & Academic Authors Association)
25 Commandments for Journalists (former Guardian editor Tim Radford's manifesto for the simple scribe, Guardian, 1-19-11--some are about ethics, and some about style and substance)
Journalism ethics and standards (Wikipedia's synthesis)
An Update on Journalism Ethics in Asia: Values and Practices as Context for Meaning in Japan, China and Korea (Tom Brislin, University of Hawaii)
Washington Post Standards and Ethics (ASNE)
Washington Post Guidelines for Using Social Media
Poynter, Newsrooms Develop Social Networking Policies for Journalists on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter (Kelly McBride, Poynter, 1-13-09)
NPR introduces new Ethics Handbook, appoints standards and practices editor (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 2-24-12)

More resources about ethics

Why nonfiction writers should take a vow of chastity (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 7-25-12). Clark translates a public manifesto Danish screenwriters Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg propose for film writers into a parallel vow of artistic integrity for nonfiction writers.
To report or to rescue (Jillian Bell, Ryerson Review of Journalism, Summer 2012). When is it okay to cross the line from journalist to humanitarian?
Ethics stories, Poynter. For example, ABC’s Payment to Casey Anthony Raises Questions about Ethics, Checkbook Journalism (Al Tompkins, 3-18-10) and Are Kevin Deutsch’s stories too good to be true? A reminder to check sources and keep notes (Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, 3-15-17).
‘Disconnected': Crucial book for closing the ‘ethics gap’ online A review of Disconnected: Youth, New Media, and the Ethics Gap by Carrie James. James urges a full ethical framework, distinguishing between "consequence thinking" ("where “the sense of responsibility is narrowly focused on the self” --e.g., 'will I get into trouble if I share my party photos on Instagram, and are the rewards worth the risks?')," Moral thinking ("considering the impact on 'known others,”'such as a close friend or family member -- how would she feel if I posted a photo of her on Twitter?"), and Ethical thinking ("considering the impact on 'distant, unknown individuals' and one’s community").
Ethics? Copyright? Moral rights?

Random House told it should pay to quote Joseph Goebbels in biography (Dalya Alberge, The Guardian, 4-17-15) "We are convinced that no money should go to a war criminal."

 

See also Codes of Conduct
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Transparency reporting

(Getting Internet and telecom companies to do the right thing)


Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Letter to Sweden's Supreme Court Google had complied with orders to delist certain articles from its search results when searches are conducted by name. The Reporters Committee argued that 'the right to erasure (“right to be forgotten”) in Article 17 of the GDPR is strong medicine. By its nature, it operates to constrain the store of information available to the public—and has the potential to do so on a vast scale....in cases involving, for instance, news about official corruption, crime, public health, corporate misconduct, and public safety, where the reporting subject may have a vested interest in limiting the public’s access to that information, and the public need for that information is strong....In practice, news publishers are going to be more likely than search engine providers to properly apply the Article 17.3(a) balancing to a particular news story for which a data subject requests delisting....balancing privacy interests with the rights of freedom of expression and information is inherently difficult and subjective, must be applied case-by-case, and is an exercise where search engines may not have sufficient information to make the right decision. This complexity is compounded by the sheer volume of delisting requests.'
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. In Part Two of this memoir, Snowden begins explaining the workings of the NSA, CIA, and all of the subcontractors for the intelligence agencies, and how the whole system of mass surveillance (Big Brother, although he doesn't call it that) works. An eye-opener, which I found hard to put down.
What Is Transparency Reporting? Case Study #3: Transparency Reporting (New America, "Honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change"). An excellent timeline of developments in transparency reporting. "Transparency reporting by internet companies first emerged in 2010 when Google published its first report, focused on government requests for data and for content takedowns both in the US and internationally. China played a key role in that decision, just as it played a key role in Google’s first-mover offerings of transit encryption by default and two-factor authentication; so too did Google’s desire, shared with a range of companies and privacy advocates, to reform the U.S. law governing when the police could demand data from online service providers."Over the next three years, a slow trickle of major companies like LinkedIn and Microsoft followed Google’s example—including Twitter, where former Google employees sought to build on their original employer’s work. However, the practice didn’t truly become a standard until Edward Snowden’s revelations in the summer of 2013 about NSA surveillance prompted a crisis in consumer confidence around U.S. companies' handling of private data. To address that crisis, within a year of the Snowden leaks, almost all of the major online service providers—and, for the first time, phone and cable companies—were publishing detailed reports about government demands for data." See also Case Study #1: Using Transit Encryption by Default and Case Study #2: Offering Two-Factor Authentication.
Google slams U.S. government in latest transparency report (Brad Chacos, PC World, 11-14-13) "Edward Snowden. Widespread NSA surveillance. Mass metadata collection. Direct taps into private Google and Yahoo server connections—and the backbone of the Internet itself. Broken illusions and broken encryption and secret court orders abound. Yes, the last six months have brought many troubling revelations about the U.S.' Internet surveillance activities to light—and now, Google's taking the government to task in a blistering blog post penned to introduce the company's latest transparency report."
Google Transparency Report Government requests to remove content, by country, region; how many and reasons cited for removal (in numbers): National security, defamation, regulated goods & services, copyright, privacy & security, and other. YouTube, Web Search, and Blogger are the products with the most frequent government requests to remove content, but dozens of other products are also affected. Follow the conversation online using #TransparencyReport and following @OTI.
Spotlight on Transparency: Best Practices and Lessons Learned (New America's Open Technology Institute presentation) "Transparency reporting is now a best practice for reporting on a range of topics including government requests for user data, content moderation, pay transparency, customer safety, and sustainability efforts. Through their reports, these companies and organizations provide statistical and qualitative information regarding how they treat their customers and stakeholders, how they handle their customers’ information, and how the companies’ operations affect their communities. While transparency reports differ across industries and subject areas, these reports—from their development to the content—offer valuable lessons for companies across various sectors that looking to get started or improve their transparency reports."
Journalists can change the way they build stories to create organic news fluency (Tom Rosenstiel and Jane Elizabeth, White Paper for American Press Institute, 5-9-18) Is teaching news literacy a journalist's job? Yes. Here's a way to build stories that can show people the difference between good and bad journalism and outright fakery. The first step is thinking about — and asking — what questions audiences may have about a story and then providing those answers explicitly. That step guides the journalist into a new and important mindset of putting themselves in the audience’s shoes.

      This white paper presents templates for building news fluency for 9 story types — guides for constructing stories that proactively resolve doubts and questions audiences may have. Journalists should consider it their job to build stories in a way that shows people the difference between good reporting, bad reporting and outright fakery, thinking about — and asking — questions audiences may have about a story and then providing those answers explicitly (in the mindset of putting yourself in the audience's shoes). Key questions: 
     What is new here?
     What evidence is there?
     What sources did you talk to and why them?
     What facts don’t we know yet?
     What, if anything, is still in dispute?
The authors present templates for building news fluency for 9 story types, providing questions for nine news categories: Standard news stories, non-investigative projects, investigations, fact-checks, explainers, breaking news (live/unplanned), live events (planned), features, opinion.

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Defamation, libel, and slander

See also Defamation, Libel, and #MeToo

Lawsuits are expensive even if you win. As one nonfiction writer puts it, "When you write about real people, you are open to their disapproval being expressed through the court system." 


Defamation Privileges and Defenses (Digital Media Law) "The most important defense is 'truth.' If the statement at issue is substantially true, a defamation claim cannot succeed because you have a right to publish truthful information even if it injures another's reputation. But truth is not the only defense that may be available."
What Are Defamation, Libel and Slander? (Aaron Larson, ExpertLaw, August 2003) "Generally speaking, defamation is the issuance of a false statement about another person, which causes that person to suffer harm.

Slander involves the making of defamatory statements by a transitory (non-fixed) representation, usually an oral (spoken) representation.

Libel involves the making of defamatory statements in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine or newspaper." And what you need to know about how to avoid trouble in those areas.
Libel Law for Copyeditors (Arati Bechtel, presentation slides) Bechtel explains six elements of libel (for analysis): defamatory content, identification, publication, false statement of fact, injury, and fault (actual malice, knowledge of falsity, reckless disregard, etc.), and explores cases, issues (including why newspapers use middle initials along with first and last names). "The bearer of tales is as guilty as the teller of tales," which is why newspapers can be held liable for defamatory letters to the editor, etc.
Defamation Suit About Election Falsehoods Puts Fox on Its Heels (Jeremy W. Peters, NY Times, 8-13-22) In the weeks after President Donald J. Trump lost the 2020 election, the Fox Business host Lou Dobbs claimed to have “tremendous evidence” that voter fraud was to blame. A lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems could be one of the most consequential First Amendment cases in a generation.

Alex Jones' $49.3M verdict and the future of misinformation (Michael R. Sisak, Associated Press, 8-8-22, via Free Speech Center, MTSU) "Libel law deals with a very particular kind of fake news," said Eugene Volokh, a First Amendment professor at the UCLA School of Law.

     "U.S. courts have long held that defamatory statements — falsehoods damaging the reputation of a person or a business — aren't protected as free speech, but lies about other subjects, like science, history or the government, are. For example, saying COVID-19 isn't real is not defamatory, but spreading lies about a doctor treating coronavirus patients is.
    "That distinction is why Jones, who attacked the parents of Sandy Hook victims and claimed the 2012 shooting was staged with actors to increase gun control, is being forced to pay up while Holocaust deniers, flat-earthers and vaccine skeptics are free to post their theories without much fear of a multimillion-dollar court judgment. 'Alex Jones was attacking individuals'...

   "These kinds of damages and verdicts do have a chilling effect," Volokh said. "They're intended to have a chilling effect on lies that damage people's reputations."
What to Know About the Alex Jones Defamation Case (Daniel Victor, NY Times, 8-6-22. This page links to several related stories.) The Infowars host has already been found liable in lawsuits filed by the families of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims. A trial this week will determine how much he owes them. "Mr. Jones said on his show and in interviews that the attack in 2012, in which 20 first graders and six educators were killed, was a hoax and that the victims’ families were actors. Just a few hours after the shooting, he began calling it a “false flag,” a secretive plot planned by the government as a pretext for taking away Americans’ guns." See also the next entry.
The Alex Jones Verdict and the Fight Against Disinformation (Sabrina Tavernise interviews Elizabeth Williamson, The Daily, NY Times, 8-8-22) Listen and/or read but it's a fascinating listen. What is the significance of the defamation case against America's most prominent conspiracy theorist? His theories took a particularly dark turn in 2012 when he said that the Sandy Hook shooting was a conspiracy, a plot by the government as a pretext to confiscate American’s firearms. The parents of a six-year-old who was killed in the attack took Jones to court. A horrible story of the damage a fabricated story can cause, ending with some justice at last. Mr. Jones learns that defamation is not protected by the First Amendment.
The Legal Risks Of Writing Memoirs (Matt Knight, Sidebar Saturdays, 3-31-18) The four areas of legal risk (and the risk is mostly of being sued) are defamation, invasion of privacy, the right of publicity, and fraud.

 

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State Time Limits to File a Defamation Lawsuit (All Law) Understand the statutory time limits for filing a defamation lawsuit in your state.       

       "Each state has laws called "statutes of limitations," and in these laws you'll find a time limit for the filing of different kinds of cases. Anyone who wants to bring a lawsuit in their state's civil court system needs to understand and abide by the statute of limitations.

     "In the context of injuries from defamation -- including harm to your reputation, financial losses, and other damages -- if the time 'window' closes before you get your libel or slander lawsuit filed, the court will almost always throw the case out as time-barred under the statute. That means you'll lose your right to a civil remedy over the matter. So it's easy to understand why it's crucial to pay attention to these laws."
---Time Limits to File a Defamation Lawsuit under state laws. (AllLaw) Learn how long you have to make a claim for defamation (libel or slander) in your state before the statute of limitation expires.
---Is There a Federal Defamation Statute of Limitations? (Mullen Law) There is no specific federal defamation statute of limitations, other federal or state law areas may determine your defamation claim time limit.
What is the Statute of Limitations for My Defamation Claim? (MINC Law) The statute of limitations for filing your defamation claim will depend on several key factors:
    The jurisdiction where you file your defamation lawsuit;
    Whether any legal exceptions apply to your defamation matter, such as John Doe claims, exigent circumstances, when you discovered the defamation, or if the victim is a minor; and
    Whether you have other potential legal claims (like business disparagement, harassment, or revenge porn).
Libel in fiction (David L. Hudson Jr. and Andrew Gargano, First Amendment Center, Freedom Forum Institute, 11-29-17). "Sometimes, creators of fictional works are sued by persons who claim that certain characters in the stories refer to them and defame them. For example, the publisher of the best-selling novel Primary Colors, the producer of the motion picture “Hardball” and the producers of the movie “Sandlot” have all been sued for defamation. “If you have to go through very expensive discovery and the case cannot be dealt with by a motion to dismiss, then you’re talking about a lot of money and expense,” said Chicago attorney Debbie Berman. Excellent piece, worth reading if libel for fiction is a potential issue.
When Art Imitates Life: Suing for Defamation in Fiction (Jane Kleiner, Digital Media Law Project, 11-4-10) While a disclaimer can help a publisher or author demonstrate lack of malicious intent and demonstrate to readers that the work is fiction (and thus assist in defending against a libel suit), a disclaimer will not prevent readers from interpreting a fictional work as containing defamatory falsehoods if the information is specific enough and reasonably identifies the plaintiff.

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How to Use Real People in Your Writing Without Ending Up in Court(Helen Sedwick) Must reading. "First, a simple rule. If what you write about a person is positive or even neutral, then you don’t have defamation or privacy issues....Even if you publish the truth, you may still be sued for invasion of privacy if you disclose private information that is embarrassing or unpleasant about an identifiable, living person and that is offensive to ordinary sensibilities and not of overriding public interest....Another flavor of invasion of privacy is called false light. An important post.
The Legal Consequences of Using Real People in Fiction (Lloyd J. Jassin, Ask a Lawyer series, Copylaw) "If you conflate fact with fiction, give some thought to the words you stuff into your character's mouth. If you don't, it's not hard to imagine your character's real life double doing something dreadful. While the First Amendment may be the patron saint of thinly veiled fiction, it can't stop a punch in the nose."
A Writer’s Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy (Amy Cook, Writer's Digest, 1-22-16) An excellent overview of what to avoid doing when writing a novel or memoir, with particularly good attention to invasion of privacy, about which writers may show less concern. This is a pretty long article with lots of ads interspersed, so read past the ads to make sure you're getting it all. Among the takeaways: "Don’t mention private or embarrassing facts about others unless you can honestly say they are of legitimate public concern and essential to telling your story. Ditto with bringing up a long-passed crime."
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press)
Roman Abramovich settles libel claim over Putin biography (Luke Harding, The Guardian, 12-22-21) Russian oligarch ends his case against journalist Catherine Belton over her book Putin’s People.
One legal case could open a can of worms for defamation suits against writers (Meg Dalton, CJR, 4-23-18) Four not-so-simple words words—“deemed to have received”—might determine the future of defamation suits against journalists in the United States. Journalist Ryan Goldberg’s case is a continuation of Gawker-related suits since disgruntled billionaire Peter Thiel sued the legendary gossip site into oblivion.

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Libel and Slander Cases (46 cases, summarized, The First Amendment Encyclopedia, online)
Top 10 Libel Lawsuits from 2017 (Sidney Smith, iMediaEthics, 12-30-17) iMediaEthics logo: Media Ethics News & Investigative Reports)
Top 10 Defamation Cases of 2018: a selection (Suneet Sharma, Inforrm, 1-4-19) English-language cases, only one of which is US.
Landmark Libel Cases (described briefly):

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)  

Harte-Hanks Communications v. Connaughton (1989)-- This case refined the actual malice standard. (See below.)

Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974)

Milkovich v. Lorain Journal Co. (1990)

Kaelin v. Globe Communications Corp. (1998)

Zeran v. America Online (1997)

Grace v. eBay Inc. (2004)

'In the Harte-Hanks Communications v. Connaughton case, it's worth going over what the Supreme Court determined was "actual malice." According to the Court:
1. The paper relied on a questionable source.
2. It did not seek out other, more reliable sources.
3. It ignored taped evidence to the contrary.
4. It ignored Connaughton's statements to the contrary
5. It ignored the probability of questionable facts.
6. It published an editorial that seemed to indicate prejudice, as it contained opinions that were harbingers of conclusions reached in the news article.
7. The newspaper's management and its reporters gave differing accounts of assignments concerning the story.'
Lawyers call libel suit against journal and critic “lawless” but “well written” (Retraction Watch, 11-13-17). "In addition to asking for monetary damages and attorney’s fees, Jacobson has asked the court to order NAS to retract the article....He told us the legal concept of 'prior restraint' should prevent that from happening: A court can award a money judgment against you for defamation but, in general, can’t order you not to say things or to take statements down."

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Canadian defamation law (Wikipedia's good overview)
A Writer’s Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy (attorney Amy Cook, on The Writer's Dig, Brian Klems's website, 1-22-16) An excellent overview of issues a writer must be familiar with.
Defamation of Character: Libel and Slander in a Writers World (Emily K. Bivens, The Dabbling Mum)
Russian parliament votes to recriminalize defamation.(Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 7-11-12) (Adam Liptak, Sidebar, Politics, NYTimes, 4-2-18) When Donald J. Trump was running for president, he promised to “open up our libel laws.” Las month, Trump was on the losing side of a court decision that will help victims of sexual misconduct sue when they are called liars. 'Before the #MeToo movement, libel lawsuits from people accused of lying were in decline. Indeed, a 2016 law review article chronicled what it called “the slow, quiet and troubled demise of liar libel.” These days, a remarkable number of libel suits, including ones against Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Roy S. Moore and Mr. Trump, have been filed by women who say they were defamed by men who denied their accusations of sexual misconduct.'
‘A Bit of Divine Justice’: Trump Vowed to Change Libel Law. But Not Like This. (New York times, 4-2-2018)
Judge Tosses Drug Company's Libel Lawsuit Against Medical Society (Kristina Fiore, Director of Enterprise & Investigative Reporting, MedPage Today, 2-8-22) U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo ruled that statements made in articles in the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) journal Anesthesiology about Pacira's pain drug Exparel (bupivacaine) were scientific opinions that by their nature can't constitute defamation. "The peer-review process -- not a courtroom -- thus provides the best mechanism for resolving scientific uncertainties," Arleo wrote in her opinion.
Clarence Thomas Calls for Reconsidering Libel Standards As Supreme Court Rejects Cosby Case (Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 2-19-19) Thomas signals he'd reject the "actual malice" standard established in a landmark 1964 opinion. But it won't be in a case that presented the issue of whether an individual becomes a public figure by simply making an accusation of being victimized.
In Ecuador, defamation case could set dangerous precedent (Sara Rafsky, Committee to Protect Journalists, 1-17-12). A defamation decision against a newspaper in Ecuador contradicts a mounting body of international legal opinion that affirms that public officials should not enjoy protection from scrutiny. (Several more such reports on the CPJ site.)
Jury finds reporter, Rolling Stone responsible for defaming U-Va. dean with gang rape story ( T. Rees Shapiro, Washington Post, 11-4-16)

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Mother Jones stood up to a billionaire political donor who sued us—and we won (Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones, 10-8-15). Quoting from the story: This was not a dispute over a few words. It was a push, by a superrich businessman and donor, to wipe out news coverage that he disapproved of. Throughout this lawsuit, VanderSloot appeared to be engaged in rewriting his own history of opposing the expansion of civil rights to LGBT people....This kind of legal onslaught is enormously taxing. Last year, Lowell Bergman, the legendary 60 Minutes producer (whose story of exposing Big Tobacco was chronicled in the Oscar-nominated film The Insider), talked about a "chill in the air" as investigative reporters confront billionaires who can hurt a news organization profoundly whether or not they win in court: "There are individuals and institutions with very deep pockets and unaccountable private power who don't like the way we report. One example is a case involving Mother Jones…A superrich plaintiff is spending millions of dollars while he bleeds the magazine and ties up its staff." Litigation like this, Bergman said, is "being used to tame the press, to cause publishers and broadcasters to decide whether to stand up or stand down, to self-censor."
She called the man who sexually assaulted her a rapist. Then he sued her for defamation. (Lindsey Bever, WaPo, 10-4-16) "Laura Dunn, executive director of SurvJustice, a nonprofit organization that advocates for victims of sexual violence, told the AP that victims should avoid naming their attackers outside the courtroom. But Emily Austin, from the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, added that the issue is when the threat of defamation lawsuits keeps victims quiet."
Supreme Court Denies Review of Olivia de Havilland’s ‘Feud’ Lawsuit (Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 1-7-19) The U.S. Supreme Court rejected her petition to review the dismissal of her lawsuit brought against the makers of FX's 'Feud: Bette and Joan.' She objected to "how Catherine Zeta-Jones’ portrayal of her made her seem like a vulgar hypocrite and gossip. De Havilland claimed the series put false words in her mouth."
Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for novelists are very real. (Ron Charles, WaPo, 8-6-2020) 'Since that time, we’ve continued to relish the portrayal — laudatory and malicious — of famous people in works of art, and courts have extended special protection to such amalgamations. Just two years ago, an appellate court in California ruled against Olivia de Havilland when she sued FX Networks over the miniseries “Feud: Bette and Joan.” The legendary actress claimed that the TV show violated her privacy, misappropriated her identity and harmed her reputation. But the court shot down those complaints, writing that “viewers are generally familiar with dramatized, fact-based movies and miniseries in which scenes, conversations, and even characters are fictionalized and imagined.” The judges referred to an earlier decision from 2001, which concluded that “the right of publicity cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, be a right to control the celebrity’s image by censoring disagreeable portrayals.”'

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When a doctor threatened to sue this California reporter, he did what journalists do best (Ron Shinkman, AHCJ, 2-22-16) If someone cheerfully calls to say you’re about to be sued, check it out. You might be pleased with the results. Here's his piece (PDF): The Many Stories Of One Highly Litigious Physician (Payers & Providers White Paper, 5-31-12).

Defamation
Frequently asked questions (and answers) about defamation (Chilling Effects). The Chilling Effects clearinghouse is a collaborative archive created by several law school clinics and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to combat legal threats used to silence Internet activity.
What are the elements of a defamation claim? (Chilling Effects)
How to Address Defamatory Online Content (Meridith Levinson, ComputerWorld, 4-6-09)
Blogger jailed in Anna Nicole Smith defamation suit (Kate Murphy, AFP--noting that in court a blogger is a publisher, not a writer)
A Selective Review of Defamation Cases in 2009 Involving Professional Reputation (need not be libelous). Oxford University Press blog, 2010
A Writer's Guide to Defamation and Invasion of Privacy (Amy Cook, Writer's Digest, 9-15-10)
How to Avoid Libel and Defamation as an Author (Orna Ross, Self-Publishing Advice, Alliance of Independent Authors, 2-22-21)
Faith and Free Speech: Defamation of Religions and Freedom of Expression. International PEN, warning against regulations prohibiting criticism of any religion or any set of ideas, organized a side-session panel discussion at a U.N. meeting in Geneva, with statements made by Wole Soyinka, Ariel Dorfman, Azar Nafisi, and Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Libel and libel suits
Is truth an absolute defense against libel? Yes, but if someone sues you for libel, you shoulder the burden of proving what is true. Read these stories.
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964),[1] was "a landmark United States Supreme Court case that established the actual malice standard that must be met for press reports about public officials to be considered libel. A plaintiff public official or public figure alleging defamation must prove that the publisher of the statement in question knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of its truth or falsity. Because of the extremely high burden of proof on the plaintiff, and the difficulty of proving the defendant's knowledge and intentions, such claims by public figures rarely prevail." But that applies only to public figures.
Twitter and libel law: A little bird told me (The Economist, 11-24-12). "When everyone is a publisher, everyone can be sued."
Twitter users face libel claims for spreading false accusation (Jeff Sonderman, Poynter, 11-26-12)

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Could I Be Liable for Libel in Fiction? (Mark Fowler, Rights of Writers blog, 12-18-10)
Oops, Maybe I Shouldn't Have Written That: A Modest Guide to Libel and Biography (James McGrath Morris, Biographer's Craft)
Libel Insurance Providers (Student Press Law Center, a list of companies that have offered libel insurance to student media in recent years)
Are Insurance Companies Redlining Journalists? (Carol Napolitano, American Journalism Review, Jan/Feb 1995)
'Libel Tourism': When Freedom of Speech Takes a Holiday (Adam Cohen, Editorial Observer, NY Times Opinion page, 9-14-08)
Britain to Seek Curbs to 'Libel Tourism' (Eric Pfanner, NY Times, 5-9-12)

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Libel and Slander U.S. Legal's webpage
Libel and Privacy Invasion (Tips from Student Press Law Center)
Libel in fiction (David L. Hudson, First Amendment Center 1-19-05)
The Case Against Lillian Hellman: A Literary/
Legal Defense
(Daniel J. Kornstein, Fordham Law Review Vol. 57, issue5, article 1, 1-1-89, PDF)
From a Campus Romance to a $160 Million Libel Suit (David Margolick, Ny Times, 11-23-83) "More specifically, the court must decide when, if ever, the portrayal of a fictitional character is defamatory." See links to many other New York Times stories about libel and slander.
Think you know libel law? Think Again (Robert J. Abrogi, Media Law, on Noonan vs. Staples); and 1st Circuit Denies Review of Libel Ruling (Media Law 3-18-09).
Judge dismisses libel suit against Washington Post brought by Covington Catholic High School student (Richard Leiby, Washington Post, 7-26-19) 'U.S. District Judge William O. Bertelsman ruled that seven Post articles and three of its tweets bearing on Nicholas Sandmann — who was part of a group of Catholic students from Kentucky who came to Washington to march against abortion — were protected by the First Amendment. In analyzing the 33 statements over which Sandmann sued, the judge found none of them defamatory; instead, the vast majority constituted opinion, he said. “Few principles of law are as well-established as the rule that statements of opinion are not actionable in libel actions,” Bertelsman wrote, adding that the rule is based on First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech.'
Dead Villains Don’t Sue (Jessi Rita Hoffman, Why Only Old Folks Should Publish Their Memoirs) You may have to wait till it's safe to publish that memoir.
Libel Ruling Protects Anonymous Comments (Media Law, Maryland case, 3-1-09)
Since when were memoirs non-fiction?. Subtitled "Lawsuits contesting the factual accuracy of autobiographies threaten a compelling pleasure for readers." The British (Guardian) take on the Turcottes' lawsuit about Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors.

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Defamation and Libel (Wikipedia)
Rules, Britannia! The Growing, Chilling Reach of Commonwealth Libel Laws (transcript of important Authors Guild panel discussion on the long arm of British libel law 9-25-06).
Keep libel courts out of science: British Chiropractic Association v Simon Singh
The British Chiropractic Association brought a libel case against science writer Simon Singh at the Royal Courts of Justice in London for his criticism of chiropractic procedures in the book Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine and in a Guardian article, "Beware the Spinal Trap" (now removed from the Guardian site, but available through a link in this article on Lay Scientist: Simon Singh vs. British Chiropractic Association . Legal blogger Jack of Kent is following the case, providing expert analysis, and posting updates through his Twitter feed @JackOfKent. Click here to read and/or sign the Sense About Science petition stating: "The law has no place in scientific disputes: We the undersigned believe that it is inappropriate to use the English libel laws to silence critical discussion of medical practice and scientific evidence."
Libel Law Has No Place in Scientific Disputes (Jack of Kent 6-4-09 on the libel case brought against Simon Singh by the British Chiropractic Association). Sense About Science filed a petition to keep Britain's ultrastrict libel law from limiting free speech in scientific disputes about evidence. Simon Singh wins libel battle against chiropractors (Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, 4-15-10) The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) 'dropped its case against Singh, effectively conceding defeat. The outcome will have implications for freedom of speech in the UK, which has notoriously strict libel laws. It will free journalists and scientists to criticise medical claims as “bogus” or unscientific without the risk of having to prove in court that their criticisms are factually correct.''

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Defamation, Libel, and #MeToo

"To prevail in a defamation case, the plaintiff must show that the speech against them was factual and not opinion." ~ First Amendment Coalition


#MeToo Cases’ New Legal Battleground: Defamation Lawsuits (Julia Jacobs, NY Times, 1-12-2020) The Weinstein trial is rare because most sexual misconduct allegations are too old to litigate. But women, and men, are finding an alternative way to get to court. Ashley Judd could not successfully sue Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment, but like other women with claims against powerful men, she turned to a defamation lawsuit.
She Said, He Sued (Madison Pauly, Mother Jones, Feb. 2020) Defamation lawsuits are being used “more and more to try to silence people from coming forward,” says Sharyn Tejani, director of Time’s Up. “It was not something that we expected would take as much of our time and money as it has.”
Men are suing women who accused them of harassment. Will it stop others from speaking out? (Kara Fox and Antoine Crouin, CNN, 6-12-19) "Defamation law varies from country to country. In countries like Australia, France and the UK, the burden of proof lies entirely upon the defendant, whereas in the United States, when the plaintiff is a public figure, they must prove that the defendant's statements are untrue and made with intentional malice. And while defamation suits are often taken to civil court, where accusers can face fines, in countries with criminal-defamation statues, defendants can also face jail time."
#MeToo journalist Michael Balter sued for $18 Million by Danielle Kurin (Leonid Schneider, For Better Science, 6-23-2020) Michael Balter, a veteran science journalist who uncovered many cases of sexual harassment and bullying in academia worldwide, is now being sued for $18 million, accused of libel by Kurin. Because publishers hesitate to publish such stories, Balter post some stories on his blog, A #STEMToo Rogue's Gallery of sexual harassers, predators, and bullies in the sciences See I now publish #MeToo stories on my blog, for free. Here’s why. (Michael Balter, Columbia Journalism Review, 9-4-19)
The sexual misconduct case that has rocked anthropology (Michael Balter, Science, 2-9-16)
#MeToo investigation of famed paleoanthropologist David Lordkipanidze sees light of day at long last (Balter's Blog, 9-7-18)

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Timelines of censorship history


The National Coalition Against Censorship hosts several timelines that chart the history of efforts to suppress speech on a variety of topics:
A Selective Timeline of the Internet and Censorship (National Coalition Against Censorship)
A Timeline of Legislation Aiming to Protect Youth Online
A Timeline of Video Game Controversies
The 19th-Century Troll Who Hated Dirty Postcards and Sex Toys (Annalee Newitz, Opinion, New York Times, 9-20-19) Before Gamergate, Anthony Comstock was the original anti-feminist crusader. "In the 1870s, New York City was a haven for artists and radicals. But it was also the nursery for a new kind of moral activism. Led by Anthony Comstock, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice became a media sensation by targeting feminists in a culture war over obscenity and birth control. He then used his fame to lobby Congress for laws that arguably halted the progress of reproductive rights for almost a century."
Art and Culture Censorship Timeline (unavailable 2-15-17)
Music Censorship In America: An Interactive Timeline (unavailable 2-15-17)

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Timeline of Abstinence-Only Education in U.S. Classrooms (how over $1.5 billion in federal funds have been spent on 26 years of censorship in schools)
A Brief History of Film Censorship, includes a selected list of censored and challenged films.

Other organizations have also posted censorship timelines:
Manuscripts Don’t Burn: a Timeline of Literary Censorship, Destruction, and Liberation (PEN America)
History of Censorship Timeline (Preceden, a world timeline going back to Socrates' execution)
Bannings and Burnings in History (Freedom to Read)
Censorship in the United States: An Illustrated History and Timeline
Freedom of the Press in the United States: A Short History
Indecency and the FCC (About News, on Civil Liberties)
"The basic story in the American past, the only story ultimately worth the telling, is the story of the struggle between the creative and the frustrating elements in the democratic adventure."~ Max Lerner (1939)

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Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) and anti-SLAPP law

(anti-SLAPP laws allow for the quick dismissal of lawsuits that chill free speech--provide protection from meritless lawsuits to punish speech,)

Authors Guild Signs Letter in Support of Anti-SLAPP Statute (AG, 7-17-2020) “SLAPP lawsuits are an intolerable form of private censorship. It is more critical than ever that New York, the media capitol of the world, provide robust protection against meritless claims designed to chill speech.”So stated a letter from authors, publishers, and other media organizations to Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature urging them to pass a bill designed to update and strengthen New York State’s current anti-SLAPP statute.
Anti-SLAPP Statutes: A Report Card (50 State Survey, Institute for Free Speech, February 2022). See also article explaining the report card (Dan Greenberg & David Keating, Institute for Free Speech, 2-28-22). The report summarizes and evaluates anti-SLAPP statutes in 32 jurisdictions – 31 states and the District of Columbia. (The other 19 states have no functioning anti-SLAPP statute.) Check its map to see what your state is doing. Anti-SLAPP statutes prevent abuse of the legal system by providing additional defenses to those who are sued for exercising their First Amendment rights.
Uniform Public Expression Protection Act (UPEPA). In late 2020 the Uniform Law Commission (ULC), a respected bipartisan organization, adopted its own model act known as the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act (UPEPA). (In a nutshell, the Uniform Law Commission’s model law protects any speech about a matter of public importance in any forum.)

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Understanding anti-SLAPP laws (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) Short for strategic lawsuits against public participation, SLAPPs have become an all-too-common tool for intimidating and silencing critics of businesses, often for environmental and local land development issues. See Austin Vining and Sarah Matthews' Introduction to Anti-SLAPP laws "Anti-SLAPP laws provide defendants a way to quickly dismiss meritless lawsuits—known as “SLAPPs” or “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation”—filed against them for exercising their First Amendment rights. These laws aim to discourage the filing of SLAPP suits and prevent them from imposing significant litigation costs and chilling protected speech. In recent years, several states have adopted or amended their anti-SLAPP laws. Anti-SLAPP protections vary significantly from state to state. For example, in some states, like Arizona, they only protect defendants from cases brought in retaliation for petitioning the government. In others, such as California, the laws broadly protect speech made in connection with a public issue. For the most part, anti-SLAPP laws are broad enough to cover SLAPP suits aimed at silencing or retaliating against journalists or news outlets for critical reporting....[But] Courts in Washington and Minnesota have struck down their states' anti-SLAPP laws, finding them unconstitutional under their respective state constitutions." Read the whole piece!
•According to author/attorney Bert Krages, "Anti-SLAPP statutes are a huge deterrent against defamation lawsuits involving published works because they require the aggrieved plaintiff to pay the other party's legal expenses if they lose."
• In other words: "A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech."~Wikipedia entry on Strategic lawsuit against public participation. Wikipedia provides an excellent overview on the subject, plus many links to external sources and stories about various court cases.
How TripAdvisor changed travel (Linda Kinstler, The Guardian, A long read, 8-17-18) The world’s biggest travel site has turned the industry upside down – but now it is struggling to deal with the same kinds of problems that are vexing other tech giants: paid-for "fake reviews," SLAPP suits (for honest warnings in negative reviews), and backlash when they withhold negative reviews.
Survival Guide to SLAPP Victims (California Anti-SLAPP Project) "Defamation, libel, slander … and other common SLAPP disguises."
How TripAdvisor changed travel (Linda Kinstler, The Guardian, 8-17-18) "Faced with bad reviews, some American businesses turn to what are known as “Slapp” suits (strategic lawsuits against public participation). TripAdvisor is to travel as Google is to search, as Amazon is to books, as Uber is to cabs – so dominant that it is almost a monopoly. Bad reviews can be devastating for business, so proprietors tend to think of them in rather violent terms. the world’s biggest travel site has turned the industry upside down – but now it is struggling to deal with the same kinds of problems that are vexing other tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. "One of the most dangerous things about the rise of fake reviews is that they have also endangered genuine ones – as companies like TripAdvisor raced to eliminate fraudulent posts from their sites, they ended up taking down some truthful ones, too. And given that user reviews can go beyond complaints about bad service and peeling wallpaper, to much more serious claims about fraud, theft and sexual assault, their removal becomes a grave problem."
    "Faced with bad reviews, some American businesses turn to what are known as 'Slapp' suits. In many cases, when a business files a Slapp suit, its objective is not to win in court – US free speech laws protect negative reviews – but to bully the reviewer into deleting the offending comment. While many states have passed anti-Slapp legislation to protect consumers from censorship and mounting legal fees, most are not strong enough to discourage businesses from pursuing them." And someone writing a negative review of a facility, even if it is extremely damaging but true, can usually get the review taken down?

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FAQs About SLAPPs (Public Participation Project, Fighting for Free Speech)
What is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)? (California Anti-Slapp Project)
SLAPP happy in America (Stephen Miller, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Fall 2010, from The News Media & The Law). Defending against meritless lawsuits and the need for a federal bill Look at other SLAPP stories on RCFP's website.
SLAPP Back (Nazanin Rafsanjani, On the Media, WNYC, 4-2-10) A SLAPP, or “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” is a little known but widespread threat to the First Amendment. SLAPPs are meritless suits brought by companies, individuals and sometimes the government, not to win, but to silence critics. Congress is now considering federal anti-SLAPP legislation. OTM producer Nazanin Rafsanjani investigates.
In Melania Trump Suit, Journalist Invokes Maryland’s Anti-SLAPP Law (Zoe Tillman, Law.com, 10-18-15) Melania Trump’s defamation suit against a Maryland journalist is getting SLAPPed.
$1.3 Million in Anti-SLAPP Sanctions (David Lee, Courthouse News Service, 1-15-16) "FORT WORTH (CN) - Plaintiffs in a "revenge porn" defamation lawsuit must pay $1.3 million in anti-SLAPP sanctions and attorneys' fees and apologize for filing "baseless" claims in similar lawsuits to punish their critics, a Texas judge ruled. Tarrant County Judge Donald Cosby slapped plaintiffs James McGibney and ViaView Inc. with an order granting defendant Neal Rauhauser's motion for attorney's fees and sanctions. McGibney and ViaView sued 10 people in February 2014, alleging defamation and negligence, and accusing defendant Thomas Retzlaff of creating online aliases to stalk and harass ViaView."
Hey! Did you just SLAPP me? What is SLAPP? (Matt Knight, Sidebar Saturdays, 9-23-17) "Anti-SLAPP laws are used to deter the abusive tactics of a SLAPP suit by providing SLAPP victims the means to dismiss the suit early in the litigation and collect penalties, like attorneys fees, depending on the state. California has one of the oldest and best anti-SLAPP statutes. Most states have anti-SLAPP laws but the protections vary. The type of free speech anti-SLAPP laws protect can cover a broad range of subjects, or a narrowly define set, again depending on the state."

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Court: Radio Talk Show Host’s Statements Not Actionable (Sherri M. Okamoto, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, 4-27-09) Subheading: Panel Concludes Reasonable Listeners Would Consider Comments Opinion. "The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday upheld the dismissal of a defamation action against radio host Tom Martino and his nationally syndicated consumer advocacy talk show program, “The Tom Martino Show.” Affirming the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown of the District of Oregon granting Martino and Westwood One Inc.’s special motion to strike, the panel held Martino’s on-air statements to a frustrated consumer during the call-in portion of the show were non-actionable opinion. The case arose after consumer Melissa Feroglia called Martino’s radio show—which seeks to aid frustrated consumers with their problems—to complain about a personal watercraft she had purchased from John and Susan Gardner, the proprietors of Mt. Hood Polaris in Boring, Ore."
MagicJack Legal Documents (Rob Beschizza, Boing Boing, 2-23-10) "Collected here are legal documents relating to MagicJack's defamation lawsuit against Boing Boing. The presiding judge ruled its case a SLAPP -- a strategic lawsuit against public participation -- and ultimately entered a judgment against it and made MagicJack pay most of our legal costs."

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Coalition of the Shilling (Nathan Hodge, The Nation, 3-11-10). Nonpartisan think tanks are supporting journalism--but who's supporting the think tanks?

Conflicts of Interest -- and Full Disclosure


Conflicts of interest in science and medical writing (jany entries, under Science and Medical Writing)
The conflict over conflicts of interest (Tim Schwab, Columbia Journalism Review, 8-18-21) Has journalism normalized conflicts of interest? "Recently, the New York Times published a story profiling a welter of financial conflicts of interest in the work of former Times journalist William Laurence, described as “a bold accumulator of outside pay from the government agencies he covered.” He also took money from the World’s Fair, the article notes, while using the Times’s editorial voice to promote the construction of a controversial and expensive science exhibit for the fair.... Undisclosed conflicts in journalism seem to be less a problem of unethical reporters, and more a problem of newsrooms not enforcing ethical rules....Many editors, educational institutions, and ethics experts seem to send the message to reporters that conflicts of interest don’t matter." Conflicts of Interest May Ensnare Journalists, Too (Roni Caryn Rabin, Health, NY Ties, 9-21-08). Focuses on health care journalists. Conflicts of interest are especially obvious with medical industry-sponsored awards, trips, and professorships.
Six Ways Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest (Tony Rogers, About.com) See also his short article A Code of Conduct for Reporters (rules to live by on the job)
Judge orders Oracle, Google to disclose paid journalists and bloggers (Jeff John Roberts, PaidContent 8-7-12)
FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined (Ryan Singel, Wired, 10-5-09, pointing out some gaps and weaknesses in the rules) and here are the FTC Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Here's an earlier story: FTC to go after blogger freebies (Caroline McCarthy, CNet News, 6-22-09)
Debating the ethics of medical ghostwriting (links on Writers & Editors blog; see also Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing

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Corporate Integrity Agreements (CIAs), Health & Human Services list, from which PharmaGossip provided this Hat tip, links to the Big Pharma Corporate Integrity Agreements



GDPR and the 'Right to Be Forgotten'

The battle between 'right to privacy' and 'right to know'


Some newspapers are deleting old crime stories to give people fresh starts. Is that wise? (Nicholas Goldberg, LA Times, 2-7-21) Should newspapers let people apply to have old stories about themselves altered or hidden from search engines? "...Unpublishing is a violation of our obligation to readers, and to transparency. And it doesn’t solve the underlying problem, which is society’s unforgiving attitude. It merely makes information in the public record less accessible. And where does such revisionism end?...Why shouldn’t the L.A. Times delete from its archives, say, the racist editorials it wrote in support of incarcerating Japanese Americans during World War II?...Those editorials are part of the historical record, and we can’t scrub ourselves clean of them now."
      "There is no current discussion at the L.A. Times of adopting a policy that would allow the paper to change or hide already-published stories. But other papers are moving forward." See
---We’re changing our policy on old crime stories (Bangor Daily News, 1-25-21)
---Right to be forgotten: Cleveland.com rolls out process to remove mug shots, names from dated stories about minor crimes (Chris Quinn, Editor, cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer, 7-10-18)
---An old arrest can follow you forever online. Some newspapers want to fix that. (Elahe Izadi, Washington Post, 1-22-21)
What the G.D.P.R., Europe’s Tough New Data Law, Means for You (Adam Satariano, NY Times, 5-6-18) The law strengthens individual privacy rights and, more important, it has teeth. Companies can be fined up to 4 percent of global revenue — equivalent to about $1.6 billion for Facebook. The internet’s grand bargain has long been trading privacy for convenience. The downside of that trade-off: The system is opaque and ripe for abuse.
Everything you need to know about a new EU data law that could shake up big US tech (Arjun Kharpal, CNBC, 3-30-18) "When it comes to user data, consumers will have more control. You will be able to access the personal data being stored by companies and find out where and for what purpose it is being used. You will also have the right to be forgotten. This means you can ask whoever is controlling your data to erase it and potentially stop third parties processing it. Another provision allows people to take their data and transfer it to a different service provider."
Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta: Questions and Answers (Brad Smith, A Primer, Institute for Free Speech, 8-30-21) The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that California could not constitutionally require charities and other nonprofit organizations to submit an annual list of donors to state officials as a pre-condition for lawfully soliciting contributions in the state. The case, known as Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta (“AFPF”), was decided on July 1, 2021 and should have a substantial, positive impact on the rights of Americans to keep their memberships and financial support for causes and organizations private. This short primer answers some of the more common questions about the decision, its immediate impact on nonprofits, and possible consequences going forward, including the constitutionality of other state and federal laws mandating disclosure of members and donors to nonprofits.
Europe's `Right to Be Forgotten' Clashes With U.S. Right to Know (Daniel Fisher, Forbes, 5-16-14)
The Right to be Forgotten: Who Decides What the World Forgets? (Patricia Sánchez Abril and Jacqueline D. Lipton, Kentucky Law Journal, 2014)
Getting a Flood of G.D.P.R.-Related Privacy Policy Updates? Read Them (Brian X. Chen, NYTimes, 5-23-18) What you should look for.
Google loses landmark 'right to be forgotten' case (Jamie Grierson and Ben Quinn, The Guardian, 4-13-18) Google cases are a battle between right to privacy and right to know. One UK businessman wins legal action to force removal of search results about past conviction; the other businessman doesn't.
How Close Is An American Right-To-Be-Forgotten? (Rebecca Heilweil, Forbes, 3-24-18) While 88% of Americans support this so-called “right-to-be-forgotten,” the prospects of similar legislation or court decision in the U.S. are dim.
Forget About It? Harmonizing European and American Protections for Privacy, Free Speech, and Due Process (Dawn Carla Nunziato, SSRN, 6-22-17) When the Court of Justice of the European Union issued its "right to be forgotten" decision in May 2014, Google complied by "removing links only within its European domains (such as Google.es or Google.de)."
"The privacy protections recognized in the Google Spain decision are not necessarily incompatible with the substantive protections provided by U.S. free speech law and the balance U.S. courts have struck over time between privacy and free speech. Yet, as implemented, these privacy protections fail to comport with the procedural protections required under the U.S. Constitution."
Power and The Internet (Bruce Schneier's essay appeared as a response to Edge's annual question: "What *Should* We Be Worried About?"

"Debates over the future of the Internet are morally and politically complex. How do we balance personal privacy against what law enforcement needs to prevent copyright violations? Or child pornography? Is it acceptable to be judged by invisible computer algorithms when being served search results? When being served news articles? When being selected for additional scrutiny by airport security? Do we have a right to correct data about us? To delete it? Do we want computer systems that forget things after some number of years? "'
What’s Data Privacy Law In Your Country? (PrivacyPolicies.com) Privacy law by country

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Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing

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The practice of having an anonymous medical writer draft or substantially revise a medical manuscript without acknowledging their participation is unethical, according to the American Medical Writers Association, and the practice should not be tolerated. Not only should the role of the professional writer be transparent, but the articles should adhere to applicable guidelines (such as those of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors) and should fully disclose potential areas of conflict of interest. The medical writers paid by pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharm) are most likely to encounter ethical issues. Following are some of the more interesting discussions of the ethics and practical realities of medical writing:
Answers to FAQs about Medical Ghostwriting (Project on Government Oversight, or POGO, 8-10-11).
Ghostwriting Revisited: New Perspectives but Few Solutions in Sight by PLoS Medicine editors Virginia Barbour, Jocalyn Clark, Susan Jones, Melissa Norton, Paul Simpson, and Emma Veitch (PLoS Med 8(8): e1001084. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001084) 8-30-11 (Bottom line: Companies and writers who work on industry publications should be listed as byline authors.)
How Industry Uses the ICMJE Guidelines to Manipulate Authorship—And How They Should Be Revised by Alastair Matheson (PLoS Med 8(8): e1001072. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001072) 8-9-11. Helpful references.
How a flood of corporate funding can distort NIH research (Paul D. Thacker, WaPo, 6-22-18) NIH "released a 165-page internal investigation of an alcohol consumption study that had been funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. The study’s lead investigator and NIH officials were in frequent contact with the alcohol industry while designing the study, which, according to the postmortem, seemed predetermined to find alcohol’s benefits but not potential harms, such as cancer. ... At the heart of the matter is money. As Congress has declined to spend more on research, many academics have been forced to collaborate with companies. The agency doesn’t police its conflicts of interest well enough.
Guest Authorship and Ghostwriting in Publications Related to Rofecoxib: A Case Study of Industry Documents From Rofecoxib Litigation (Joseph S. Ross, Kevin M. Hill, David S. Egilman, et al., JAMA, 4-16-08) This case-study review of industry documents demonstrates that clinical trial manuscripts related to rofecoxib were authored by sponsor employees but often attributed first authorship to academically affiliated investigators who did not always disclose industry financial support. Review manuscripts were often prepared by unacknowledged authors and subsequently attributed authorship to academically affiliated investigators who often did not disclose industry financial support.
JAMA. 2008;299(15):1800-1812. doi:10.1001/jama.299.15.1800
Being the Ghost in the Machine: A Medical Ghostwriter's Personal View (Linda Logdberg, PLoS Medicine, 8-9-11). What she did, why she did it, and why she stopped doing it.
Ghostwriting, RICO and Fraud on the Court? (Ed Silverman, Pharmalot blot 8-3-11). Two Toronto academics suggest pursuing class action lawsuits based on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, and filing claims of ‘fraud on the court’ against a drugmaker that uses ghostwritten articles in litigation. they base their argument on article published in PLoS Medicine: Legal Remedies for Medical Ghostwriting: Imposing Fraud Liability on Guest Authors of Ghostwritten Articles (by Simon Stern and Trudo Lemmens).
Professor files complaint of scientific misconduct over allegation of ghostwriting by Bob Roehr (BMJ 2011; 343:d4458), filed 7-13-11.
The murky world of academic ghostwriting (Julia Beluz, McLeans 5-6-11). Lawsuits are shedding light on the dubious relationship between medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies
Only full access to trial data will show signs of ghostwriting, meeting hears BMJ 2011;342:doi:10.1136/bmj.d2925 (5-10-11--subscription required). These articles are about an important meeting on medical ghostwriting held in Toronto, Spring 2011: The Ethics of Ghost Authorship in Biomedical Research: Concerns and Remedies
Norman Bauman on the role of medical writers in the illegal marketing of Neurontin (gabapentin, Pfizer) (May 2002, but the same tactics may be used for other drugs)
How Scientific Literature Has Become Part of Big Pharma's Marketing Machine and How Being Nice Hurts Canada: 5 Questions with Ghostwriting Expert Trudo Lemmens (Paul Thacker, Project on Government Oversight (POGO), 6-22-11)
Ghost Writing and Scientific Misconduct: What does this reflect? (Solomon R. Benatar, JCB Voice, also about the Toronto conference).
How drug companies' PR tactics skew the presentation of medical research. Elliot Ross reveals the secret 'army of hidden scribes' paid by the drug companies to influence doctors (5-20-11)
Give up the ghosts. "Funding agencies should make researchers reveal industry links." Nature 468. 732. (09 December 2010) doi:10.1038/468732a
Medical Papers by Ghostwriters Pushed Therapy (Natasha Singer, NY Times, 8-4-2009)
What Should Be Done To Tackle Ghostwriting in the Medical Literature?. A debate about medical ghostwriting on PLoS Medicine, with Peter C. Gøtzsche, Jerome P. Kassirer, Karen L. Woolley, Elizabeth Wager, Adam Jacobs, Art Gertel, Cindy Hamiltonl (2009) PLoS Med 6(2): e1000023. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000023)
Ghostwriting(Derek Lowe, In the Pipeline, a short entry followed by an intelligent discussion with readers)
Ghostwriting and the Medical Writer (Cynthia Haggard, American Medical Writers Association)
New strategies to tackle medical ghostwriting are debated (Science News)
Ghost Writing Initiated by Commercial Companies (6-20-05, policy statement, World Association of Medical Writers, WAME)
AMWA code of ethics
The Haunting of Medical Journals: How Ghostwriting Sold “HRT” (Adriane J. Fugh-Berman, PLoS Med 7(9): e1000335, 9-7-10). (Fugh-Berman examines documents unsealed in recent litigation to see how pharmaceutical companies promoted hormone therapy drugs, which included using medical writing companies to produce ghostwritten manuscripts and place them in medical journals). Read the response by Adam Jacobs of the European Medical Writers Association.
Ghost Management: How Much of the Medical Literature Is Shaped Behind the Scenes by the Pharmaceutical Industry? (Sergio Sismondo, PLoS Med 4(9): e286, 9-25-07)
Revealed: how drug firms 'hoodwink' medical journals (Antony Barnett, The Observer, 12-7-03). Pharmaceutical giants hire ghostwriters to produce articles - then put doctors' names on them
Evidence in Vioxx Suits Shows Intervention by Merck Officials (Alex Berenson, NY Times, 4-24-05)
Good Publication Practice for Pharmaceutical Companies Guidelines (Envision Pharma, 2006)
Madison Avenue Has Growing Role in the Business of Drug Research (Melody Peterson, NY Times, 2-22-02)
You'll find more articles on the subject on the Collaboration and ghostwriting page of the Writers and Editors site and in this blog post: Debating the ethics of medical ghostwriting.

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Fabrication
The First Peril:Fabrication (Chip Scanlan, Poynter Online)
How to handle plagiarism and fabrication allegations (by Craig Silverman and Kelly McBride, Poynter, 8-15-12)

Faith and Free Speech: Defamation of Religions and Freedom of Expression. International PEN, warning against regulations prohibiting criticism of any religion or any set of ideas, organized a side-session panel discussion at a U.N. meeting in Geneva, with statements made by Wole Soyinka, Ariel Dorfman, Azar Nafisi, and Kwame Anthony Appiah.

Liability insurance, or media liability insurance. WriteInsure media perils insurance, available through Axis Pro. The Authors Guild has entered into an agreement with Axis Pro, the world's leading underwriter of media liability insurance, to offer Guild members professional liability insurance. Coverage is available under WriteInsure for book authorship, freelance writing and blogging. I don't think you have to be a member of AG to get it; I don't know if the cost or terms are different if you buy it individually. If anyone else does, or if other writers organizations are also making it available, please let me know!

For Instant Ratings, Interviews with a Checkbook (Brian Stelter and Bill Carter, Media & Advertising, NY Times, 6-12-11). News shows that want exclusive interviews often pay one way or another to get them, often as licensing fees for photos or videos, covering hotel costs, even financing special events.

Freedom House, among other things, publishes results of annual surveys ranking countries in terms of freedom and freedom of the press. Many excellent resources, including country rankings and maps.

Freedom of information in UK: Open Secrets (Martin Rosenbaum's blog for BC)

Ghostwriting. See Medical ghostwriting and ethical issues in medical publishing, below.

Giller jurist’s relationship to agent drawing criticism in literary world (Mark Medley, National Post, 11-13-10). Is it okay for a jurist to recommend a good novel to an agent just before the novel is longlisted for a major literary award?


Prior restraint

(government censorship)

Prior restraint (useful section on Wikipedia)
Prior restraint vocabulary quizlets (very helpful)
Sedition, Incitement and Prior Restraint Chp.3 (vocabulary flashcards)
The Doctrine of Prior Restraint (FindLaw, Annotation 9--First Amendment)
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Historian Orlando Figes agrees to pay damages for fake reviews on Amazon (Alexandra Topping, Guardian, 7-16-10). Historian to pay damages and costs to two rivals who launched a libel case after he posted reviews "praising his own work and rubbishing that of his rivals."

Historians and Human-Subjects Research by Christopher Shea (Wall Street Journal, Ideas Market 8-5-11). Shea asks: "How can oral (or, more generally, contemporary) historians escape inappropriate IRB scrutiny without denigrating their own work? Or, to back up a step, should they, in fact, have to go through the same procedures as social psychologists doing lab studies?" Zachary Schrag responds, in comments, that the National Research Act (42 USC 289) applies only to “biomedical and behavioral research,” which is not the kind of research historians do. On his Institutional Review Blog (about IRB overview of the humanities and social sciences), Schrag addresses the issue more fully in ANPRM: It's Time to Redefine Research.

Huffington Post makes millions; bloggers offered "exposure," not pay
'Huffington Post' Employee Sucked Into Aggregation Turbine. Horrified Workers Watch As Colleague Torn Apart By Powerful Content-Gathering Engine (The Onion's delightful take on Huffington Post as a Content Mill 2-2-12)
The Economics of Blogging and The Huffington Post (Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight, NY Times blog, 2-12-11). "I’ve also done a fair amount of uncompensated or undercompensated writing — there is certainly a time and a place for it, particularly if you’re trying to establish or re-establish your brand. But look beyond a site’s traffic numbers and consider how it presents your material and how prominently it is featured, as well as the sort of audience it is likely to attract. Being a small fish in a very, very big pond isn’t always the way to build up a name for yourself, much less to make money from it."
The Huffington Post Rubs People the Wrong Way at the Republican National Convention (Andrew Van Alstyne, Pay the Writer!, National Writers Union, 8-29-12)
How The Huffington Post Works (In Case You Were Wondering) (Jason Linkins, HuffPost, 2-10-11, 5-25-11, who reports that Huff does have a staff of paid writers, editors, and reporters.)

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) (There can be no press freedom if journalists exist in conditions of corruption, poverty, or fear)

HIPAA, electronic health records,
medical privacy laws, and patient rights


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, was enacted on August 21, 1996. Sections 261 through 264 of HIPAA require the Secretary of HHS to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, privacy and security of health information.
Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule (PDF, Health & Human Services)
Citizen journalist arrested while photographing police can take civil rights case to jury, federal judge rules (Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 7-9-18) Dallas community activist and citizen journalist Avi Adelman was arrested by DART police for criminal trespass for taking pictures in a public area of the main DART station of a man being treated by Dallas Fire Rescue. Adelman went to the site after hearing about someone overdosing on a drug called K2 on his police scanner. DART acknowledges the officer mistakenly believed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) prohibited Adelman from taking photos of the victim. “I can stay on DART property. There is no requirement that tells me I cannot take pictures...It’s called the right to photograph in public,” Adelman told Branch according to a transcript of the encounter in court filings. See also Barking Dogs.
HIPAA & newsgathering (First Amendment Center)
A Reporter's Guide to Medical Privacy Law (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press) Topics covered include: What is HIPAA, What records are available under HIPPA, Health care journalists' access to hospitals curtailed under HIPAA, General access to hospitals, Attitudes toward privacy rules may change in times of disaster, Confusing laws keep information confidential on college campuses, etc.
Panelists agree HIPAA privacy rule is outdated #AHCJ16 (Jocelyn Wiener, Covering Health, AHCJ, 4-26-18) "Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, kicked off a Health Journalism 2016 session about the federal government’s health privacy rule with several stories of privacy breaches" (which can be very harmful), and cites privacy breaches social media facilitate. “Is HIPAA broken?” said Joy Pritts, a a health information privacy and security consultant. “It certainly needs change. It’s certainly out of date. We really need an overarching national privacy law.” (How I regret missing the AHCJ conference!)
How health journalists can turn privacy laws to their advantage (Annie Waldman, Tip Sheet for Association of Health Care Journalists, co-published wiht ProPublica) Government records officers frequently cite privacy restrictions to deny data requests. Here are some tips on how to overcome or sidestep these barriers.
HIPAA Helper: Who is Revealing Your Private Medical Information? (Charles Ornstein, Annie Waldman, and Mike Tigas, ProPublica, 12-29-15). ProPublica has a whole section on Policing Patient Privacy, exploring how patient privacy violations are affecting patients and the medical care they receive.
Myths and Facts About the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Part 1 (PDF). And here's Part 2 (January 2009)
HIPAA: Good intentions and unintended consequences (Association of Health Care Journalists)
HIPAA: Not So Bad After All? (Irene M. Wielawski, American Journal of Nursing, July 2009)
HIPAA, TB, and Me (Irene M. Wielawski, Health Affairs, Narrative Matters) After a mom goes head-to-head with a college health center that is intimidated by HIPAA, she researches the law and suggests what could make it more effective. This story about a collision between public health law and HIPAA cites relevant sections of HIPAA law, allowing disclosure for public health reasons.
HIPAA, electronic health records, and patient privacy (ComfortDying.com, with a focus on patients' viewpoint)
Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California Tatiana Tarasoff’s parents (Plaintiffs) asserted that the four psychiatrists at Cowell Memorial Hospital of the University of California had a duty to warn them or their daughter of threats made by their patient, Prosenjit Poddar. See also Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (Chapter 10, Public Health Law)
Spread of Records Stirs Patient Fears Of Privacy Erosion (Theo Francis, WSJ , 12-26-06). Ms. Galvin's Insurer Studies
Do Family, Friends' Photos Trigger HIPAA Violations? (John Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 3-8-2010). You should be able to take photos of your own child or other family member in the hospital, but you mustn't inadvertently catch another patient, or a medical health record, etc. If you are doing photographs for a story, you need a HIPAA release signed for every patient photographed. Hospital personnel may overreact about cell phone photos even of your own family members because HIPAA rules are not easy to master and personnel are duty-bound to observe them.
3 Approaches to the EHR Patient Control Debate (Power Your Practice), about the Patricia Galvin case.
Can medical records be released without consent? Supreme Court refuses case. (Warren Richey, Christian Science Monitor, 10-3-11) The US Supreme Court turned aside an appeal involving the scope of privacy protections for a patient’s medical records when a state agency seeks to force a doctor to disclose those records without first obtaining a patient’s consent. (Eist v. Maryland State Bd. of Physicians) Issues of case, on SCOTUSblog: (1) Whether a state may restrict a patient's federal constitutional right to privacy by compelling a physician to disclose confidential patient records without notice to and authorization by the patient and in conflict with the physician's ethical obligations; (2) whether a state agency may simultaneously serve as investigator, prosecutor and adjudicator with respect to a licensee under its jurisdiction without amending the state's constitution which explicitly separates legislative, executive and judicial powers; and (3) whether a physician may be disciplined by a state's medical licensing board if: (a) the relevant statutory language - “fails to cooperate with a lawful investigation” - is unconstitutionally vague; (b) the board never notified the patients it was seeking their confidential medical records; or (c) the board's simultaneous roles as investigator, prosecutor and adjudicator deprive petitioner of his right to due process.
Here's Looking at You: How Personal Health Information Is Being Tracked and Used (Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, California Healthcare Foundation, July 2014)
Medical privacy (summary of info and links to more on breaches of privacy, damages and alternatives, electronic systems, many releases that are allowed by law, comparison of lists of data breaches)
Secret video: Mercy guard threatened photo-taking mom (Sarah Okeson, News-Leader 7-19-14) Woman who took photo of her son to post on Facebook was taken to an office where she was questioned by a security guard "The idea is not to prohibit patients from capturing personal memories," said Mercy spokeswoman Sonya Kullmann. "However, we want to ensure that we protect everyone's right to privacy. That includes other patients, visitors, co-workers and providers who may not want to appear in someone else's photograph, video or recording."
New York Hospital to Pay $2.2 Million Fine for Allowing Filming of Patients Without Consent (Charles Ornstein, Pro Publica, 4-21-16) Federal action could spell the end of emergency room reality television. This was follow-up to earlier story: When a Patient's Death is Broadcast Without Permission (Charles Ornstein, ProPublica, 1-2-15) The ABC television show "NY Med" filmed Mark Chanko's final moments without the approval of his family. Even though his face was blurred, his wife recognized him. "I saw my husband die before my eyes." The son sued.
The Secret Documents That Detail How Patients’ Privacy Is Breached (Charles Ornstein, Policing Patient Privacy, ProPublica, 7-21-16) A federal agency sends thousands of letters a year to health providers closing out complaints about HIPAA violations. Though the government could make those letters public, it doesn’t. ProPublica has started to do so.
Media Guidelines while on Campus (St. Jude Children's Research Hospital)
Spread of Records Stirs Patient Fears Of Privacy Erosion (Theo Francis, WSJ, 12-26-06--behind a paywall, for subscribers only, but you may be able to read it at the library).
HIPAA G02: HIPAA Guidance -- Safeguarding Patients’ Photographs and Recordings
Could photographing an ED patient get you sued? (PDF, ED Legal Letter April 2009) Without consent, you are asking for a lawsuit.
ON ANOTHER, RELATED, TOPIC:
Should Congress protect agricultural data? (Ben Berliner, FCW, The Business of Federal Technology, 11-20-17) "ensors, smart equipment and other new technologies are revolutionizing the way agricultural data is collected and analyzed, which can make operations more efficient, improve forecasting and allow for more sustainable practices. However, the rise in data collection and sharing is now raising questions about the control of farm-related data and the agreements between farmers and big ag companies. Some experts say Congress needs to play a role....The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act created standards for electronic healthcare and mandated companies strengthen health data and privacy protections, Ferrell said. But there are no similar protections for agricultural data....While any legislative remedy is a long way off, Ferrell suggested that preliminary efforts could focus on a clear definition of agricultural data. "It's not health data under HIPAA, it's not financial data under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. It's something unique unto itself that may deserve efforts to actually define what those protections should be," Shannon said.
HIPAA, electronic health records, and patient privacy

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Right of Publicity (Personality Rights)


Legal Issues When Writing About Real People: Do right of publicity cases pose a threat to authors? (YouTube video, Michael A. Bamberger and Richard M. Zuckerman, Authors Guild webinar, 5-18-18) Recently there has been an upsurge of cases attempting to limit the use, without consent or compensation, of a celebrity's name, picture or story in creative works. While the recent cases have involved TV films and videogames, the statutes and the decisions of the courts will apply to all creative works, including fiction and non-fiction, books, plays, movies, etc. What does all this mean for authors’ ability to write about real people in either fiction or nonfiction? What do authors need to be wary of when writing about real people? Does it matter if they are deceased?
The Right of Publicity (Helen Sedwick, Part 1 of Tricks and Traps of Using Real People in Your Writing, on The Book Designer blog, 7-31-15). See also Part 2: What Is Defamation? (8-28-15) and Part 3: Invasion of Privacy (9-25-15).
Midler v. Ford Motor Co.. Ford Motor Co.'s advertising agency tried to hire Bette Midler to sing for commercials, and when she said no, they hired her backup singer Ula Hedwig. Midler sued alleging invasion of right of publicity. She won on appeal.
Supreme Court Rejects Olivia De Havilland's 'Feud' Lawsuit (Forbves, 1-7-19) The long-lasting, real-life feud surrounding Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed series Feud: Bette and Joan appears to have finally come to an end. The U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected Olivia de Havilland’s petition to review a California court’s dismissal of her lawsuit against FX, effectively nixing any hope of reviving the 102-year-old actress’s case....De Havilland 'had claimed that Catherine Zeta-Jones’s portrayal of her in the eight-part mini-series violated her right to publicity, depicted her in a false light, and damaged her “professional reputation for integrity, honesty, generosity, self-sacrifice and dignity.” ...In March 2018, a state appeals court in California threw out the suit, first filed in June 2017, stating that ruling in favor of de Havilland would negatively impact the rights of screenwriters and producers to develop creative works that dramatize historical events or public figures....In California, right of publicity is defined as an individual’s right to control the commercial use of their name or likeness against unauthorized exploitation, and this isn’t the first time that the statute has come into conflict with the First Amendment.'
Personality rights (Wikipedia: "The right of publicity, often called personality rights, is the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity. It is generally considered a property right as opposed to a personal right, and as such, the validity of the Right of Publicity can survive the death of the individual (to varying degrees depending on the jurisdiction). In the United States, the Right of Publicity is a state law-based right, as opposed to federal, and recognition of the right can vary from state to state."
U.S. states that recognize rights of publicity (Wikipedia)
Right of Publicity: An Overview (Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School)
Brief History of RoP (Jonathan Faber's Right of Publicity site). See also his entries on Notable Cases .
The rights of publicity and privacy (Public Domain Sherpa) Using a work with a recognizable person in it? Don't use it commercially without knowing about the rights of publicity and privacy.


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Plagiarism, self-plagiarism, paper mills, recycling, patchwriting, and sloppy research


Mind you, this topic is also on the copyright page, but it's as much about ethics as about copyright, so the ethical aspect of it is covered here.
Plagiarize, Plagiarize, Plagiarize... only be sure to call it research (Trudy Lieberman, Columbia Journalism Review, July/August 1995). An oft-cited piece.
Copyleaks Detect plagiarism, paraphrased content, and similar text using sophisticated Artificial Intelligence (AI) based algorithms in 100+ languages with this online anti-plagiarism software.
What Did Ian McEwan Do? (Jack Shafer, Slate, criticizes big-time novelists for saying 'Nothing wrong.') An inspiration, yes. Did I copy from another author? No (Ian McEwan,The Guardian, 11-27-06) A Sunday newspaper claimed he had "copied" the work of another author for his Booker-nominated novel, Atonement. He said he drew on Lucilla Andrews' superb reportage on an almost entirely neglected war experience in her autobiography No Time for Romance.
Who Is the Bad Art Friend? (Robert Kolker, NY Times Magazine, 10-5-21) Art often draws inspiration from life — but what happens when it’s your life? Inside the curious case of Dawn Dorland v. Sonya Larson. See also
---Hell Is the New York Times Publishing Your Group Chat (Claire Lampen, The Cut, 10-2021) "For about as long as Dorland has been feuding with Larson, I have been joking with members of my own group chats that, one day, our texts will be read aloud in court, and naturally, this hearing will be hilarious. Now the possibility makes me feel all barf-y. Who among us has not waggled their eyebrows at an attention-seeking tweet, or a praise-courting post, in the assumed confidence of like-minded friends?"
---The Short Story at the Center of the “Bad Art Friend” Saga (Katy Waldman, New Yorker, 10-10-21) A Times Magazine feature has prompted feverish discourse about the ethics of artistic appropriation. Is the art in question any good? "Even in her revision, it seems Larson couldn’t quite sublimate her contempt for Dorland. She crafted a takedown in disguise, which reduces even its protagonist to an instrument. The final product lacks both the texture of realism and the courage and clarity of satire. In a fiction-worthy twist, one quality above all sabotaged Larson’s story in absentia: kindness."
---We're all the 'Bad Art Friend' (Steve Almond, WBUR, 10-11-21) "Did Dawn go overboard against Sonya? Yes. Do we all go overboard when we feel humiliated? Yes. Does Sonya have a right to write the fictional stories she feels called to write? Yes. Was Dorland understandably upset to discover herself in Sonya’s story? Yes. Did she feel even more wounded at Sonya’s refusal to acknowledge her pain? Yes....I can feel -- in the froth around this piece -- the flattening of Dawn and Sonya's complex inner lives into a canvas onto which the reader can smear our own unexamined neurosis."

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Six common types of plagiarism in academic research (Epigeum, Oxford University Press blog, 10-16-21) The six types: paraphrasing without citing sources, patchwork or mosaic (combining paraphrases from different texts), verbatim plagiarism, source-based plagiarism (making up a source or including inaccurate information about a source, global plagiarism (having someone else write the work and passing it off as your own), and self-plagiarism (turning in previously written work as your own, including work previously written by you and passed in as new, often unintentionally).
The fight against fake-paper factories that churn out sham science (Holly Else & Richard Van Noorden, Nature, 3-23-21) Some publishers say they are battling industrialized cheating. A Nature analysis examines the 'paper mill' problem — and how editors are trying to cope.
Avoiding Plagiarism, Self-plagiarism, and Other Questionable Writing Practices: A Guide to Ethical Writing (The Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services). Also available here: Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical writing (PDF, Miguel Roig, St. John's University, sponsored by the Office of Research Integrity, to educate aspiring scientists in the responsible conduct of research). Full guidelines with explanations.
The Co-Founder Of Snopes Wrote Dozens Of Plagiarized Articles For The Fact-Checking Site (Dean Sterling Jones, BuzzFeed, 8-13-21) “You can always take an existing article and rewrite it just enough to avoid copyright infringement." David Mikkelson, the co-founder of the fact-checking website Snopes, has long presented himself as the arbiter of truth online, a bulwark in the fight against rumors and fake news.
McEssay.com A UK firm you pay for someone to write your school paper!

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Conan O’Brien Settles Lawsuit Alleging Joke Theft (Reggie Ugwu, NY Times, 5-10-19) “Four years and countless legal bills have been plenty,” he wrote in a statement. A trial — rare in comedy — had been set for this month. 'Fans of O’Brien, rallied to his defense after the lawsuit, arguing that “parallel thinking” in comedy is commonplace, and that there are only so many ways to tweak a day’s news events. In the letter posted by Variety, O’Brien made the same argument.' See Conan O’Brien: Why I Decided to Settle a Lawsuit Over Alleged Joke Stealing (Conan O'Brien, Variety, 5-9-19)
A Not-So-Funny Look at 6 Comedians Accused of Plagiarism (Colin Patrick, Mental Floss, 1-21-16). Before you look at the story, think who the six might be.
Arianna Huffington's Scuzzy Copying Pisses Off Chicagoans (Ryan Tate, Gawker, 12-19-08) Her publication takes some, if not all, of its content from another site, with a link back to the original. "HuffPo already has good Google PageRank, so its own version of the content floats to the top of the results, even though it was not the original source."
To Catch a Plagiarist (Craig Silverman, Regret the Error, CJR, 2-19-10). There are tools to catch plagiarists in action. Why don't news outlets use them?
Form Takedown Notice (Authors Guild) How to send a takedown notice when someone republishes your copyrighted work without permission or licensing.
What happened after a journal decided to get tough on plagiarism? (Retraction Watch, 5-18-16) In July 2015, DNA and Cell Biology began routinely scanning manuscript submissions for plagiarism using iThenticate; since then, it’s rejected between four and six manuscripts each month for that reason alone. See iThenticate.
The Ethics of Self-plagiarism (iThenticate; sign up and then download PDF) "The American Psychological Association (2010) suggests the following regarding reusing one’s own text: “When duplication of one’s own words is more extensive, citation of the duplicated words should be the norm” and “must conform to legal notions of fair use” (pg. 16).
Top 10 free plagiarism detection tools for teachers (eLearningIndustry.com, which also mentions paid versions)
The Difference between Plagiarism, Piracy, and Copyright Infringement (Jackie Barbosa 11-4-10)

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Plagiarism in the Age of Self-Publishing (Joy Lanzendorfer, The Atlantic, 6-5-16) Many authors who sell their work directly on platforms like Amazon are having their stories plagiarized, which can take an emotional and financial toll. An anonymous stranger steals a book, changes it superficially, and passes it off as her own work. "Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them....A traditional publisher is liable if it puts out a book that violates copyright. But Amazon is protected from the same fate by federal law as long as it removes the offending content....However, it can take a while for the company to respond to complaints, which can be maddening for authors...[Kobe and others are also used, but] Amazon has the biggest chunk of the self-published ebook market, with some estimates putting it at 85 percent. Without Amazon, few authors could make a living self publishing."
Mark Twain Would Likely Be Ticked at the Library of Congress Right Now (Daniel Hernandez, The Atlantic, 11-24-14) A new biography co-authored (with Harry Katz) by the home of the Copyright Office is alleged to lift text from at least five different sources with no attribution.
Zakaria's pursuers: We're not done yet (Dylan Byers, Politico, 11-13-14) "It’s taken months, but the plagiarism watchdogs at Our Bad Media say they believe Fareed Zakaria may finally have to face the heat..,,Since mid-August, the plagiarism detectives known only as @BlippoBlappo and @CrushingBort have been waging a campaign to brand Zakaria, one of the nation’s leading international affairs columnists, as a copycat artist who doesn’t credit his sources. Despite presenting more than 50 examples of what they said was insufficient attribution, their reports had little impact. " The same bloggers also heavily criticized Malcolm Gladwell for failing to attribute sources.
What Trump aide Monica Crowley's plagiarism scandal says about conservative publishing (Constance Grady, Vox, 1-11-17)
12 Literary Plagiarism Scandals, Ranked (Emily Temple, Literary Hub, 3-29-18) Some incidents of plagiarism more egregious than others.

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The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism by Jonathan Lethem (Harper's, Feb. 2007, cached). A long, fascinating essay on copyright and culture--how there is no creativity without borrowing from previous works of art (starting with the work from which Nabokov borrowed the story of Lolita). Lethem: "As a writer I inherit one set of assumptions about copying or borrowing, or what’s called plagiarism, but as a music fan, someone who adores sampling and quotation and allusion in the music I listen to, and as a fan of collage and appropriation in the visual arts, many of the artists I grew up liking in these different realms were instinctive plagiarists, by the standards that I often see applied within the literary arts." Quoting John Donne: All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated. . . ." See also Christopher Lydon, Radio Open Source, on Lethem's piece and The Mother of All Reading Lists (Lydon quoting lines quoted and providing sources cited in Lethem's piece, with some links)
Handling plagiarism at the manuscript editor’s desk (PDF, Mary Ellen Karens and Marije de Jager, European Science Editing, Aug. 2010, journal of European Association of Science Editors, or EASE). Two respected medical editors and translators explain how to identify and handle instances of plagiarism and patchwriting in journal manuscripts written by researchers who are non-native English writers. See explanation of terms for varying forms of plagiarism: Copy-paste writing, or cut-paste writing; microplagiarism; patch writing, or mosaic writing, plagiarism, self-plagiarism, duplicate or redundant publication, translated plagiarism. H/T to Katharine O’Moore-Klopf for link.)
Plagiarism vs. Copyright Infringement: Do You Know the Difference? (Kristen King, (ink)thinker blog, 5-8-07)
Patchwriting (Rebecca Moore Howard, Writing Matters). Bibliography with links to information on patchwriting (also from Katharine O'Moore-Klopf)
Jury Finds Pharrell, Thicke Copied for 'Blurred Lines' Song (Anthony McCartney, ABC News, 3-11-15) A jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children nearly $7.4 million Tuesday after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father's music to create "Blurred Lines," the biggest hit song of 2013.

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Jonah Lehrer’s Journalistic Misdeeds at Wired.com (Charles Seife, Slate.com, 8-31-12). Seife's investigation of the New Yorker and Wired.com writer reveals evidence of plagiarism, dodgy quotes, and factual inaccuracies, which are charted in this story. See also
~Violations of Editorial Standards Found in WIRED Writer’s Blog (Evan Hansen, Frontal Cortex, a Wired Science blog, 8-31-12)
~Jonah Lehrer’s Teller Deception (Kevin Breen, The Skeptical Libertarian, 8-10-12)
~How Jonah Lehrer Recycled His Own Material for Imagine (Edward Champion, Reluctant Habits, 6-20-12)
~The ethics of recycling content: Jonah Lehrer accused of self-plagiarism (Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 6-2-12)
~Jonah Lehrer Resigns From The New Yorker After Making Up Dylan Quotes for His Book (Julie Bosman, Media Decoder, NY Times, 7-30-12)
~Jonah Lehrer’s Deceptions (Michael C. Moynihan, Tablet--a new read on Jewish life, 7-30-12). The celebrated journalist fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. (This exposé led to Lehrer's resignation from the New Yorker.)
~Interpreting Dylan, Always Treacherous, Was Lehrer’s Undoing (Ben Sisard, Media Decoder, NY Times, 7-31-12).
Patchwriting (a/k/a/ close paraphrasing). (Mark Liberman, Language Log, 7-13-14). Liberman on whether "there's a spectrum of behavior, from out-and-out plagiarism through more and more distant forms of paraphrase, and that the more innocent end of the spectrum is sometimes nearly unavoidable, for example when summarizing someone's theory or re-telling someone's story."

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HNN's Ongoing Coverage of the Conservative Attack on Rick Perlstein
Patchwriting by Rick Perlstein (and Craig Shirley) (Mark Liberman, Language Log, 8-8-14) Patchwriting is "restating a phrase, clause, or one or more sentences while staying close to the language or syntax of the source." And Mr. Shirley does it too, Liberman shows.
‘Wait, Your Footnotes Are in Cyberspace?’ Stacey Patton, Vitae). Rick Perlstein's book The Invisible Bridge—about "how the fall of Richard Nixon paved the way for the rise of Ronald Reagan and modern conservatism in 1970s America"—omitted footnote credits, posting them online. "historian, Craig Shirley, accused him of swiping dozens of passages verbatim from Shirley’s 2005 book, Reagan’s Revolution, without proper attribution. "Perlstein’s online citations mentioned Shirley’s book 125 times, and the author wrote in his print-edition acknowledgements that 'Craig Shirley saved me 3.76 months in research.' But Shirley has demanded $25-million in damages from Simon & Schuster." See Chutzpah: Reagan-Bashing Author Sued for Plagiarism Praises Plaintiff's Book In NY Times (Tim Graham, Newsbusters, 8-31-14)
It's Not Rick Perlstein's Scholarship that Seems to Be in Question. It's His Politics. (Peter Charles Hoffer, History News Network, 8-6-14). An interesting discussion of the nature of plagiarism and levels of plagiarism--and how accusations of plagiarism may be motivated (or suppressed) by political loyalties.

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Plagiarism (History News Network 1-25-06). A page full of links to interesting "problem" texts and authors. See, for example, Historians on the Hotseat(4-23-10), which goes way beyond naming only the famous writers who did a little "sloppy research."
How to handle plagiarism and fabrication allegations (by Craig Silverman and Kelly McBride, Poynter, 8-15-12)
Fareed Zakaria suspended from Time and CNN for plagiarising content (Paul Harris, The Guardia, 8-10-12) Well-known foreign affairs specialist apologises for error in apparently lifting a paragraph from a New Yorker story
Plagiarism.org (among other things, provides free, live webinars on Plagiarism in the Digital Age, and many helpful articles
What Is Plagiarism?
The Unoriginal Sin: Differences Between Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement (Mark Fowler, Rights of Writers blog 7-4-11)
Combating Plagiarism: Is the Internet causing more students to copy? (PDF of thoughtful long article, with bibliography, from CQ Researcher
Amazon's Plagiarism Problem (Adam Penenberg, Fast Company 1-12-12). Amazon's erotica section is a magnet for copyright infringement, and "Amazon doesn't appear too eager to stop the forbidden author-on-author action."
Chris Anderson's "Free" Contains Apparent Plagiarism (Waldo Jaquith, Virginia Quarterly Review, 6-23-09)
Copyright Infringement and a Medieval Apple Pie (Jane Smith, How Publishing Really Works)

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• Cribbing edges into plagiarism. Raj Persaud's sloppy work and the importance of attribution.Persaud's blatant cribs were flabbergasting, professor tells tribunal. Psychiatrist 'a baffling mix of skill and stupidity'. (Martin Wainwright, The Guardian 6-18-08)
Detecting Plagiarism Dead Giveaways (Montgomery College Libraries)
Cooks Source Firestorm Over Plagiarism (Karen Berger, 11-5-11, on CreateWorkLive, on a blogger's [Judith Griggs'] months in the limelight as shockingly unenlighted about rights issues--using writer Monica Gaudio's piece about apple pie without asking permission, crediting her but refusing to pay for its use, and stating that everything on the Internet is public domain--which, dear reader, you know is not true.
Something Borrowed (Malcolm Gladwell, in the New Yorker, 11-22-04, asks: Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life?
The Counter-Plagiarism Handbook (Craig Silverman's Tips for writers and editors on how to avoid or detect journalistic plagiarism, CJR Regret the Error, 2-26-10)
Former Rutgers student says software detecting plagiarism was wrong when it flagged her work, caused her to fail (Kelly Heyboer, NJ Star-Ledger, 12-4-11). At what point does failure to attribute sources in the text become plagiarism?
George Bush Book 'Decision Points' Lifted From Advisers' Books (Ryan Grim, Huffington Post 11-13-10)

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Getting to the Source: Preventing Plagiarism (Chip Scanlan, Poynter, 9-19-03)
Historians Rewrite History. Timothy Noah (Slate, 11-13-03) on the campaign to exonerate Doris Kearns Goodwin
Is It Plagiarism? iParadigms Walks Both Sides of the Question (Kent Anderson, Scholarly Kitchen, 9-12-11). "The two most popular plagiarism-detection programs are Turnitin — widely used in higher education — and CrossCheck — widely used by scholarly publishers. Both programs rely on software developed by iParadigms." An iParadigms product called WriteCheck is marketed to authors and researchers to detect how much of their paper matches content in the company's database, "allowing the company to work both sides of the plagiarism game."
SafeAssign (software for detecting plagiarism, useful for detecting if students are copying text online)
iThenticate Plagiarism Checker (Web-based content verification technology)

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Plagiarism and Precedence: Media Ethics (Edward Wasserman, 10-9-06)
Plagiarism Is a Community Issue
Plagiarism, the Latest -Gate (Megan Garber, CJR, 2-19-08)
Plagiarism.org
Plagiarism Resources for Faculty (Bluegrass Community Technical College)
The Plagiarism Resource Site (many helpful links, especially for teachers dealing with plagiarism in the classroom)
Plagiarism Pays (Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid, Accuracy in Media, on offenders who make a comeback)
The Posner Plagiarism Perplex. Jack Shafer (Slate 2-11-10) on what to make of Gerald Posner's blog statement.
Someone Used My Research without Acknowledgement (Richard Labunski, History News Network, 5-21-12). Labunski details how another author, published by Regnery, claimed to have written the only work about the election of 1989, Madison, Monroe, and the Bill of Rights--but that he based most of of it on Labunski's earlier book and failed totally to credit Labunski, who was particularly upset that he failed to acknowledge Labunski's painstaking work compiling data about that election. The author didn't copy words, but he did steal the fruits of Labunski's labor and pass it off as his own. Maybe that's not plagiarism but it is intellectual theft.

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The Plagiarist's Tale (Lizzi Widdicombe, The New Yorker, 2-13-12) Q. R. Markham, the author of “Assassin of Secrets,” had a secret of his own.
A Tale of Self-Plagiarism — A Critic of Publishers Proves a Prostitute Is As a Prostitute Does (Kent Anderson, Scholarly Kitchen 9-14-11)
Elizabeth Hasselbeck Sued for Plagiarism--Accused of No Original Thoughts (TMZ, where you can view the letter from the lawyer)
Miami paper fires arts critic for reusing work (AP story, USA Today, 7-5-04)

Anti-Plagiarism Day (Jane Smith)
• Finally, not quite on the topic of plagiarism, but a kissing cousin:
The Shadow Scholar ("Ed Dante," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11-12-10). The man who writes your students' papers tells his story. Ghostwriter of academic papers and homework tells how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and describes the extent of student cheating he has observed. Long, fascinating, and disheartening article.

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Protection for whistleblowers


H.R. 2988, Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act of 2021 (Congressional Budget Office)
House Passes Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act as Part of Oversight Package (Geoff Schweller, Whistleblower Network News, 12-15-21) "The WPIA was reintroduced by a bipartisan group of representatives on May 4, 2021. The bill aims to address a number of shortcomings with the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), the main law offering whistleblower protections to federal employees. The bill is widely supported by whistleblower advocates, who have pushed for some of the reforms for decades.

     According to leading whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, “the most important part of the bill targets the failure of Congress to permit federal employees to have their day in court. The bill would permit most federal employees to remove their cases to federal district court for a real trial, if the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) does not issue a ruling on their whistleblower retaliation claims within 180 days.”
H.R.2988 - Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act of 2021 The WPIA addresses both the loopholes and due process gaps by extending the same rights to federal civil service employees that Congress has repeatedly extended to private sector employees—16 times in each of 17 private sector whistleblower laws enacted since 2002. To illustrate, it would
---Permit jury trials if there is no timely administrative decision.
---Permit lawsuits when retaliatory investigations are opened.
---Establish realistic legal burdens to obtain temporary relief.
---Close loopholes that erase the law’s benefits.
Your Right to Film the Police Is Under Attack (Trone Dowd, Vice, 3-25-22 and ) Republicans in several states have introduced legislation—and in some cases, passed it—that could ultimately punish people for recording the police. "In general, civilians can record the cops as long as they’re not interfering with police business. Over the last 25 years, the first, third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and 11th district U.S. Court of Appeals have all upheld filming the police as a constitutionally protected form of expression, like photography, as it promotes the public’s right to access information about public officials." But read about incidents where police ignore that right. Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: "A number of state legislatures have recently introduced laws implicating the First Amendment right to film police, including an Arizona proposal that would criminalize recording a police officer within eight feet of the police activity without the officer's permission to record. While the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an opportunity to weigh in (RCFP advocated for it to do so in a friend-of-the-court brief), multiple federal circuits have found a First Amendment right to record."
Whistleblowing (Global Investigative Journalism Network) An invaluable guide to important resources. It’s important for journalists to identify the motives of whistleblowers and to verify their information. Equally essential is knowing how to best protect them as sources. Fortunately, there’s a wealth of information on whistleblowing, including a growing number of NGOs with expertise around the world.
Information on Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
A Star Surgeon Left a Trail of Dead Patients—and His Whistleblowers Were Punished (Eve Herold, LeapsMag, 10-8-18) the first comprehensive account of the whistleblowers’ side of a scandal that rocked the most hallowed halls in science – the same establishment that awards the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Paolo Macchiarini was considered a star surgeon and groundbreaking stem cell researcher. He "claimed that he was regenerating human windpipes by seeding plastic scaffolds with stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow—a holy grail in medicine because the body will not reject its own cells....[the whistleblowers] realized that, despite Macchiarini’s claims of successful operations in several now-published papers, the patients had been mutilated....The last thing the whistleblowers expected was for the full weight of the institution to come crashing down against them." A cautionary tale about corruption, hype, and power that raises profound questions about how to uphold integrity in scientific research.
First Amendment Sentence Mitigation: Beyond a Public Accountability Defense for Whistleblowers (Mailyn Fidler, Harvard National Security Journal, 11-2-20) Argument that "courts should implement sentence mitigation on the basis of First Amendment interests in whistle-blower cases, providing an immediate pragmatic solution and potentially prompting a more sustainable long-term approach to government whistle-blowers."
We Still Stand With Daniel Hale (3-31-21) Defending Rights & Dissent stands with Daniel Hale, a courageous whistleblower. "Hale’s crime is exposing the human rights abuses of US drone strikes, including that during a given time period nearly 90% of those killed by drone strikes were not the intended target....Whistleblowers charged under the Espionage Act have an almost impossible chance of mounting a fair defense, which is why Defending Rights & Dissent has repeatedly urged Congress to amend this draconian and antiquated law....It is outrageous that a law ostensibly designed to target spies and saboteurs is used to jail journalists’ sources and even journalists who act in the public interest to reveal official abuses of power. Hale’s case spans three administrations, including presidents from both major parties. Espionage Act abuse to prosecute whistleblowers is a bi-partisan disgrace."

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National Whistleblower Assembly (video, C-SPAN, 5-24-10) The Government Accountability Project and other supporters of whistleblower protections held the first day of a two-day assembly to raise support for the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009. Tom Devine and Frank Serpico talked about legal protections for people who reveal weaknesses in national security, aviation security, nuclear power programs, and border security. Representative Chris Van Hollen talked about the Whistleblower Protections Act of 2009 and some of the provisions in the legislation. Tom Devine and Frank Serpico answered questions from the audience.
The Corporate Whistleblower's Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth (2011) by Tom Devine and Tarek F. Maassarani. "A Step-by-Step Guide to Blowing the Whistle—and Surviving the Storm That Follows"
An Inconvenient Whistleblower: A Survival Guide for Toxic Workplaces by Jean M. Jones (2013) Includes material related to mobbing (group bullying of a single individual).
Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security, and Free Expression (PEN America, 2016) reveals massive holes in the laws and regulations covering whistleblowing by intelligence workers, particularly when raising valid constitutional or ethical issues about a government action that has been previously authorized by an agency head or Congress as legal. PEN’s report demonstrates how these gaps in the existing scheme of protections pose high risks for national security workers wishing to expose alleged wrongdoing, undercut the ability of journalists to report on information in the public interest and to protect sources, and largely exclude the national security sphere from the crucial check on abuses that whistleblowers provide in other areas of the U.S. government. Scroll down to click on the full (free) report, a PDF.

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Whistleblowers (Chuck McCutcheon, CQ Researcher, 24:5, 1-31-14) Is support growing for employees who expose misdeeds?
The Art of Anonymous Activism: Serving the Public While Surviving Public Service (Project on Government Oversight, Government Accountability Project, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, aka POGO. GAP, and PEER, 2002) 'Over the years, working with public employees who “commit truth” has been a great honor for the three organizations authoring this manual.'
How FBI blocks whistleblower fighting dismissal; new bill could help others (Joe Davidson, Federal Diary, Washington Post, 2-2-16) This story isn’t about whether his allegations are right or wrong, but how the FBI and the Justice Department treats employees who, in good faith, make allegations about waste, fraud and abuse. In too many cases, FBI whistleblowers are treated like the wrongdoers the FBI hunts, instead of the concerned citizens the FBI needs.

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The FBI's list of appropriate places for staffers to take allegations of wrongdoing
Grassley-Leahy Bill Improves Disclosure & Review Process for FBI Whistleblowers
National Whistleblowers Center ('honesty without fear")
Office of the Whistleblower (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
Whistleblower Protections (U.S. Department of Labor)'
Your rights as a whistleblower (OSHA)
Protection of Whistleblowers (OECD G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan)
The Wasp's Nest: Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection (Dan Meyer and David Berenbaum, Journal of National Security Law & Policy, 2015) The "wasp" in this article's title refers to the acronym for the Intelligence Community's new whistleblowing program: the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection directorate.
Whistleblower (Wikipedia's entry on the subject links to many interesting sites and explanations, including whistleblower protections)

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West Texas whistleblower nurse acquitted, filing suit of her own (Christian Dem, Daily Kos, 2-11-10)
The Long, Lonely Road of Chelsea Manning (Matthew Shaer, NY Times Magazine, 6-12-17) Her disclosure of classified documents in 2010 ushered in the age of leaks. Now, freed from prison, she talks about why she did it — and the isolation that followed. "She told me that she believed then, and believes now, that 'there are plenty of things that should be kept secret.' 'Let’s protect sensitive sources. Let’s protect troop movements. Let’s protect nuclear information. Let’s not hide missteps. Let’s not hide misguided policies. Let’s not hide history. Let’s not hide who we are and what we are doing.'”
How Reporters Pulled Off the Panama Papers, the Biggest Leak in Whistleblower History (Andy Greenberg, Wired, 4-4-16). See links to several stories on the subject in this blog post: The Panama Papers: Exposing the rogue offshore money maze

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What is a whistleblower and other frequently asked questions about becoming a whistleblower (Gerard Ryle, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 7-31-18) "A whistleblower is someone who has evidence of wrongdoing, abuse of power, fraud or misconduct and who shares it with a third party such as an investigative journalism organization like the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists."
What Is Ag-Gag Legislation? (ASPCA) "Over the past decade, the animal-agriculture industry has been behind the introduction of "ag-gag" bills in more than half of all state legislatures across the country. These dangerous bills are designed to silence whistleblowers revealing animal abuses on industrial farms." See State Anti-Whistleblower Laws, by State
Ag-Gag Laws (Animal Legal Defense Fund) "As the name suggests, Ag-Gag laws seek to “gag” would-be whistleblowers and undercover activists by punishing them for recording footage of what goes on in animal agriculture. They were originally designed to prevent the public from learning about animal cruelty."
Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit law firm that represents individuals trying to expose wrongdoing.
SEC awards blog (Whistleblower Aid)
How to Be a Whistle-Blower (Charlie Warzel, The Privacy Project, NY Times,11-12-19) A Q&A with John Napier Tye, co-founder of Whistleblower Aid, in which they talk about whether it’s possible to stay anonymous in 2019, how to protect your privacy like a spy, whether regular people are at risk of becoming targets, and how to become a whistle-blower if you’re a witness to something troubling.
Former whistleblower starts legal aid group to guide would-be tipsters (Carol Morello, WaPo, 9-18-17) Contacting Whistleblower Aid "takes some forensic skills. To maintain security, it won't accept phone calls, text messages or emails, because someone in the government could be surveilling communication. Instead, to reach someone at the organization, it's necessary to install a special Tor browser that allows access to an encrypted, anonymous part of the Internet. Whistleblower Aid has two encrypted sites there."
The Trials of a Whistle-Blower (David Remnick, Podcast, New Yorker Radio Hour, 1-21-22) Dawn Wooten bravely exposed mistreatment of immigration detainees in the facility where she worked. Why is she suffering the consequences?
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden.  “A riveting account... Reads like a literary thriller... Snowden pushes the reader to reflect more seriously on what every American should be asking already. What does it mean to have the data of our lives collected and stored on file, ready to be accessed―not just now, by whatever administration happens to be in office at the moment, but potentially forever?... When it comes to privacy and speech and the Constitution, his story clarifies the stakes.”~New York Times.

--“Snowden eventually decided his loyalties lay not with the agencies he was working for, but the public they were set up to protect. He felt ordinary citizens were being betrayed, and he had a duty to explain how.... His account of the experiences that led him to take momentous decisions, along with the details he gives of his family background, serve as a robust defense against accusations that he is a traitor."~The Guardian.

--“Gripping... Snowden demonstrates a knack for explaining in lucid and compelling language the inner workings of [CIA and NSA] systems and the menace he came to believe they posed.” ~ The Washington Post
They Are Not the Resistance. They Are Not a Cabal. They Are Public Servants. (Michelle Cottle, Editorial Board, NY Times, 10-20-19) Let us now praise these not-silent heroes. Fiona Hill, Michael McKinley and the whistle-blower who effectively initiated the impeachment investigation — when these folks saw something suspicious, they said something. Their aim was not to bring down Mr. Trump out of personal or political animus but to rescue the Republic from his excesses. See more Times stories about whistleblowers.
The Whistleblower Complaint (declassified, 8-12-19) that President Trump "is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election." See The House Releases the Declassified Whistle-Blower Complaint Against Donald Trump (Eric Lach, New Yorker, 9-16-19) The document is a masterpiece of precise bureaucratic prose, laying out a forceful narrative in its allegations against President Trump.
Your Rights (Workplace Fairness). See also General Information About Whistleblowing and Retaliation

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Working With Whistleblowers in the Digital Age: New Guidelines (Julie Posetti, European Journalism Observatory, 5-1-18)
The Difference Between Leaking and Whistle-Blowing in the Trump White House (Masha Gessen, New Yorker, 10-4-19) 'A whistle-blower often speaks out with the aim of halting some wrongdoing, but a leaker’s motives are generally self-serving....We have normalized Trumpism to such an extent that journalists and politicians didn’t know how to think about the Ukraine story until the whistle-blower framed it as an egregious abuse of power....Yet it took two and a half years for someone with significant access to the Administration to go through the process of systematically collecting information and transmitting it through the institutional channels created specifically for the purpose of saying, “This is not normal.”'
The Whistleblower Protection Act (Wikipedia) The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, Pub.L. 101-12 as amended, is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct.
Truth-Telling in Government: A Guide to Whistleblowing for Federal Employees, Contractors, and Grantees (PDF, Government Accountability Project, 2020)
The New Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself (2017) by Stephen Martin Kohn
Working with Whistleblowers (free PDF, Government Accountability Project)
A Public Service (Tim Schwartz, OR Books, Sept. 2019) This book is a whistleblowing how-to, tool and techniques for holding organizations, agencies, and corporations accountable for unethical behavior.Can one person successfully defy a globe-spanning corporation or superpower without being discovered? Can a regular citizen, without computer expertise, release information to the media and be sure her identity will be concealed? Yes, says this author.
When Working with Whistleblowers Same Ethical Journalism Principles Apply (Lynn Walsh, FOI FYI, 12-21-17) You can download Working with Whistleblowers: A Guide for Journalists (Government Accountability Project)
False Claims Act (Qui Tam) FAQ (National Whistleblower Center)
Know Your Rights FAQ (National Whistleblower Center, NWC)
How Important Are Whistleblowers In Detecting Crime And Fraud? (Vishal Varria, Cybersecurity, Forbes, 11-2-18) "Whistleblowers who report suspicions like money laundering often have inside knowledge which is vital for fighting such crimes, but at the same time, they are usually in a vulnerable position. Their knowledge means they are often employees of the same company as the money launderer and consequently subject to pressures to remain silent with threats of violence or loss of employment. While whistleblowers are protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, making them immune from any repercussions, many do not necessarily feel safeguarded when sounding the alarm within organizations."

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Wikipedia's list of whistleblowers
Whistleblower: Warrior, Saboteur Or Snitch? (Roomy Khan, Personal finance, Forbes, 7-5-18) While whistleblowing is a powerful tool in the fight against wrongdoing, the process of whistleblowing is fraught with perils, both for the accuser and the accused.
Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security, and Free Expression (Pen America, 11-10-15) Drawing on interviews with leakers, lawyers, scholars, journalists, and government representatives, this report reveals massive holes in the laws and regulations covering whistleblowing by intelligence workers, particularly when raising valid constitutional or ethical issues about a government action that has been previously authorized by an agency head or Congress as legal. PEN’s report demonstrates how these gaps in the existing scheme of protections pose high risks for national security workers wishing to expose alleged wrongdoing, undercut the ability of journalists to report on information in the public interest and to protect sources, and largely exclude the national security sphere from the crucial check on abuses that whistleblowers provide in other areas of the U.S. government. Read the full report.
The Biggest Secret (James Risen, The Intercept, 1-3-18) My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror. “It’s obviously becoming more dangerous today to do good investigative reporting anywhere in the world,” Risen said, speaking at the recent launch of a new action-research project designed to better equip reporters to deal ethically and responsibly with whistleblowers in the post-Snowden era.
Protecting Journalism Sources In The Digital Age (European Journalism Observatory, 5-4-17)
Secret Sources: Whistleblowers, National Security, & Free Expression (PEN America, YouTube, 11-16-15) Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who joined the event via Skype following the panel in a conversation with PEN Executive Director Suzanne Nossel on whistleblowing and questions of conscience.
National Whistleblower Day on Capitol Hill (video, C-SPAN, 7-30-18) Linda Tripp, the whistleblower in President Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal, is featured speaker. With transcript from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
Whistleblower Protections (video, C-SPAN, 2-1-17) Justice Department and Office of Special Counsel officials as well as legal experts testified at a hearing on whistleblower protections. Witnesses discussed the benefits and shortcomings of a 2012 whistleblower law. In addition, Democratic committee members voiced concerns about the Trump administration allegedly issuing gag orders on certain federal employees. Subcommittee Chair Mark Meadows (R-NC) said better communications is necessary between federal employees and Congress, regardless of who the president is.

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Recording phone calls


Reporter's Recording Guide (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press,Summer 2012) See chart that shows at a glance the answers, for each state, to these questions: Is consent of all parties required? Are there criminal penalties? Does the statute allow for civil suits? Is there a specific hidden-camera law? Are there additional penalties for disclosing or publishing information?
Can We Tape? “Can We Tape?” A journalist's guide to taping phone calls and in-person conversations in the 50 states and D.C. (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press,Summer 2008) Previous edition of RCFP publication, still online.)
NYU Journalism Handbook for Students: Ethics, Law and Good Practice On taping conversations: "12 states have criminal statutes that prohibit recording without the consent of all parties to the conversation: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington (Vermont has no law). Note that these are criminal statutes, the violation of which can bring a jail sentence, and these laws have been interpreted in various ways by the courts of each state. The same twelve states require consent of all parties in order to record a telephone conversation."
Interstate phone calls (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 8-1-12)
Copyright and taped interviews (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, 8-1-12)
Recording Phone Calls and Conversations (Digital Media Law Center)
Recording Phone Interviews (how-to links, Mastering multimedia, Writers & Editors)
On the record, off the record, on background, not for attribution (NYU Journalism Handbook for Students: Ethics, Law and Good Practice).  This is the first thing covered under "Human sources."

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Photographers' rights


Photographers - What To Do If You Are Stopped Or Detained For Taking Photographs (Know Your Rights, American Civil Liberties Union) Taking photographs and video of things that are plainly visible in public spaces is a constitutional right—and that includes transportation facilities, the outside of federal buildings, and police and other government officials carrying out their duties.
Suppression of Photographers During Civil Rights Movement an Important Reminder for Today (Jay Stanley, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, ACLU, 5-31-17) The contours of today’s battles over the First Amendment rights of photographers can also be seen in the civil rights movement’s history.
The Photographer’s Right (Bert P. Krages II, attorney) The Photographer’s Right is a PDF document that is loosely based on the ACLU Bust Card. You may make copies and carry them in your wallet, pocket, or camera bag to give you quick access to information about your rights and obligations concerning confrontations over photography. You may distribute the guide to others, provided that such distribution is not done for commercial gain and credit is given to the author.
Know Your Rights as a Photographer! ( Bob Vishneski, Photography Life, 3-12-17)
Filming and Photography the Police (ACLU)
Federal Appeals Court Hears Crucial Case on First Amendment and Photography (Jay Stanley, ACLU, 5-12-17) A number of states have passed these “Ag Gag laws.” Idaho’s version makes it a crime to use a misrepresentation to gain access to, or employment at, an “agricultural production facility”—places like factory farms and slaugterhouses, but also encompassing a bunch of other places by the way they define this. It’s aimed primarily at journalists and undercover investigators. Idaho’s Ag Gag statute also makes it a crime to take video or audio recordings in these places without the owner’s permission....This is specifically targeted at organizations like Mercy for Animals and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which have exposed animal cruelty and put it on the Internet." [An explanation of the issues and where things stand as of May 2017.]
Photographs and the First Amendment. My Harrowing Journey Through U.S. Customs. (Tim Stegmaier, National Coalition Against Censorship, reprinted from ACLU Ohio, 12-16-19) US Customs detained and seized equipment of US photographer Tim Stegmaier and held it and all his photos for three months.

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Open Secrets (Martin Rosenbaum's blog for BBC about freedom of information in UK)

‘Operation Dark Heart’ Author Sues for Uncensored Edition (Scott Shane, NYTimes, 10-14-10). A former Defense Intelligence Agency officer whose Afghan memoir (Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan -- and the Path to Victory) was belatedly censored by the Pentagon filed a lawsuit seeking to have the book’s full text restored in future printings.

PEN Freedom to Write program (defending writers and campaigning for freedom of expression both at home and abroad)

PepsiGate’ Rocks the Science Blogging World (David Disalvo, TrueSlant 7-8-10). Roughly: SEED magazine, owner of the well-regarded ScienceBlogs network, "decided to allow Pepsi to have its own blog on the network, called 'Food Frontiers'–which, of course, they would pay for, not unlike a block of continuous advertising space. Many bloggers at ScienceBlogs are not happy about this. The standard for any credible science journalism network is that writers earn their space on merit, not because they have products to pitch." The bottom line, writes Disalvo: "if you’re going to mix marketing with science journalism (or, really, any journalism worth its salt), then you’d better be damn sure to clarify that the commercial content is just that: PAID FOR CONTENT." See PepsiGate linkfest (Bora Zivkovic, on A Blog Around the Clock, posts links to all key posts about the event).

ProPublica Editor Paul Steiger Discusses Emerging Ethical Questions for Journalists (Mike Webb presents, on ProPublica 10-21-10). ProPublica’s editor-in-chief points out four issues facing journalists today: "the blurred line between presentation of fact and opinion; the quest for building a larger audience versus the need for journalism of substance and civic importance; the new business challenges facing the industry; and the need for greater transparency from news organizations." Says Steiger,"If we create business models that depend largely on page views, we should not be surprised if they drive publishers to favor content with a high prospect of 'going viral' over content that is primarily thought-provoking, or challenging, or discomfiting, or even educational."

Radio Host Has Drug Company Ties ran the headline on Gardiner Harris's story about Frederick K. Goodwin, "the latest in a series of doctors and researchers whose ties to drugmakers have been uncovered by Senator Charles E. Grassley. Goodwin, a former director of the NIMH and host of the popular public radio program “The Infinite Mind,” earned at least $1.3 million from 2000 to 2007 giving marketing lectures for drugmakers. The program's producer was unaware of the fees, report PR Watch.org and PR Web.

Scholarly Work, Without All the Footnotes (Arthur S. Brisbane, The Public Editor, NY Times, 10-2-10), on how a dispute about a Times Magazine article, Does Your Language Shape How You Think? by linguist Guy Deutscher, illustrates the differences between academic publishing and the popular press. Mainly: less credit to sources--and why not post those online?

Right to Know Committee, the Association of Health Care Journalists' page of links. AHCJ is particularly concerned about health care organizations that restrict access to information about research simply because they want to control the news (often doing so in the name of HIPAA).

The Shadow Scholar ("Ed Dante," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11-12-10). The man who writes your students' papers tells his story. Ghostwriter of academic papers and homework tells how he makes a living writing papers for a custom-essay company and describes the extent of student cheating he has observed. Long, fascinating, and disheartening article.
For example: "I, who have no name, no opinions, and no style, have written so many papers at this point, including legal briefs, military-strategy assessments, poems, lab reports, and, yes, even papers on academic integrity, that it's hard to determine which course of study is most infested with cheating. But I'd say education is the worst. I've written papers for students in elementary-education programs, special-education majors, and ESL-training courses. I've written lesson plans for aspiring high-school teachers, and I've synthesized reports from notes that customers have taken during classroom observations. I've written essays for those studying to become school administrators, and I've completed theses for those on course to become principals." His earnings the year he is writing: $66,000 a year.
This topic was covered earlier and once over lightly in The Term Paper Artist by Nick Mamatas (The Smart Set, Drexel University, 10-10=08). Nick was also interviewed by NPR (The Paper Market, On the Media, 11-28-10).

Sunlight Foundation blog (making government and politics more transparent and accountable)

Truth, accuracy, accountability, conflict of interest, public trust
(oh, and fair and balanced)

 

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."  ~ Winston Churchill


"Lying is done with words, and also with silence."

~Adrienne Rich


Why Hasn’t the New York Times Made Ben Smith Sell His BuzzFeed Options Yet? (Justin Peters, Slate, 10-15-21) The shadow cast by BuzzFeed —a company that helped terraform today’s digital media landscape—looms large over Smith’s beat, and it’s not easy to get out from under it. "And while it’s a good thing that Smith is open about his ongoing conflict of interest, it’s also fair to wonder why the Times tolerates this lengthy, ongoing conflict in the first place. Not only is it bad for readers to have a media columnist whose motives they cannot absolutely trust to be disinterested—it’s aggravating to have to read a media columnist who either can’t write or probably shouldn’t be writing about such a broad swath of digital media."
Cuomo refuses to release records related to his 'American Crisis' book (Chris Bragg, Times Union, 6-1-21) Governor's office cites exemption intended to shield active police investigations.  In the wake of news reports, Cuomo's office acknowledged that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Director of the Governor's Offices Stephanie Benton did extensive work to help produce the lucrative book. Some Cuomo staff dispute whether his staff's work on his book was voluntary.
Bill O’Reilly exaggerated war-zone experiences, Mother Jones says (Paul Farhi, Wash Post, 2-19-15)
Coalition of the Shilling (Nathan Hodge, The Nation, 3-11-10). Nonpartisan think tanks are supporting journalism--but who's supporting the think tanks?
Adrienne Rich on Lying, What “Truth” Really Means, and the Alchemy of Human Possibility (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings, 11-13-14)
Crossing boundaries: A journalist chronicles her friendship with a serial killer (Jack Murtha, Columbia Journalism Review, 10-7-15) "Elliott’s book is the kind of longform, long-term journalism that feels refreshing amid the digital whirlwind of brief rundowns, aggregation, and personal essays. But as she chased the story, she encountered an old problem: she became a character herself, setting off ethical landmines through her friendship with Ross and her disdain for the death penalty—the book’s two principal subjects....Rather than a selling point, this friendship would be a clear conflict of interest in beat reporting, whether it be with a politician, business leader, or athlete. There’s too much room for ethical lapses, misplaced trust, and perceived bias." As Janet Malcolm wrote, of the relationship between the writer Joe McGinniss and Jeffrey MacDonald, "The writer ultimately tires of the subject’s self-serving story, and substitutes a story of his own.”
Fact-checking sites (Writers and Editors)
How to spot and identify fake news (Writers and Editors)
Interview with a COPE Co-Chair on Publication Ethics
In journalism's crossfire culture, everyone gets wounded (Howard Kurtz, Media Notes, Washington Post 8-1-10)
Journalism and the truth: More complicated than it has ever been (Mathew Ingram, Gigaom, 10-23-12). In the past, the truth about a social or political event was whatever the newspaper or the TV news said it was. But now that anyone can publish their views, the process of arriving at the truth is a lot more complicated — and even more important.
On CNN's Reliable Sources, Congressional Experts Ornstein and Mann Describe How Media Obscure GOP Extremism
Pro Publica (journalism in the public interest--investigations, data, MuckReads, Dollars for Docs, Documenting Hate, etc.)
Restoring trustworthiness to news (Craig Newmark, CraigConnects, cosponsor of the Poynter symposium on journalism ethics).
Retraction Watch blog run by Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus that covers the stories behind retractions as a window into the scientific process(subscription free).
Seattle attorney finds that the Internet won't let go of his past (Isaac Arnsdorf, Seattle Times, 8-15-08). What happens when inaccuracy stays alive and anti-censorship principles conflict with fairness?
Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante? (Arthur Brisbane, Public Editor's Journal, NY Times, 1-12-12)
Storytelling ability connected Brian Williams with viewers but also led to his downfall (Manuel Roig-Franzia, Scott Higham and Amy Brittain, Wash Post, 2-14-15)
The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study (Petroc Sumner, et al., BMJ, December 2014) Exaggeration in news is strongly associated with exaggeration in press releases. Making academic press releases more accurate might help reduce misleading health-related news.
The Tedium Twins Tonight: Are there two sides to every question? Back to you, Jim. (Alexander Cockburn, The Fourth Estate, Harper's Magazine, Aug. 1982, and "a classic of humor writing and media criticism."
‘We are indeed less willing to agree on what constitutes truth’ (Clay Shirky, 10-17-12, part of a Poynter symposium on journalism ethics in the digital age , with other essays that will become part of a book on digital ethics to be published by Poynter and CQ Press.
Who Controls the Story? (Margaret Sullivan, Public Editor, NY Times, 9-29-12) The New York Times draws a line on “quote approval,” but not everyone is convinced.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
Codes of Ethics, Standards and Guidelines, Statements of Principle, and Best Practices
The risk of telling the truth:
How reliable are our memories--how close to the truth
The nature and malleability of memory
Accuracy, honesty, and truth in narrative nonfiction

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Anonymous sources

They are not anonymous to the news organization; they are simply unnamed in the article.


Poynter stories on anonymous sources. For example, Anonymous sourcing is more important — and riskier — than ever (Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 2-3-17) "If an anonymously sourced story is proven false, the White House can use that to cast doubt on every article reported on background. With trust in the press at rock bottom and reporters being harangued on a weekly basis, this could be especially hazardous to journalism writ large. Leaks are more important than ever. But if we're not careful, they could sink us."
The New York Times: "What we consider before using anonymous sources. Do the sources know the information? What’s their motivation for telling us? Have they proved reliable in the past? Can we corroborate the information? Even with these questions satisfied, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source."
How do you use an anonymous source? The mysteries of journalism everyone should know. ( Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, 12-10-17) When Houston Chronicle reporters want to use information from an unnamed source in a news story, they have to jump through a few hoops first. A senior editor has to approve it, and know who the source is. A single unnamed source is rarely enough to go ahead with a story — there must be two sources with the same firsthand knowledge. And one of a handful of top editors must sign off on its use before publication.
The Intercept is developing editorial standards for using anonymous sources (Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 8-7-15)
Anonymous Sources (SPJ Ethics Committee Position Paper) Bottom line: 1. Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability. 2. Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
Anonymous sourcing (NPR Ethics Handbook) Excellent, detailed guidelines.
Welcome to the Sausage Factory (Kurt Anderson, New York Magazine) A lot of motley, sometimes suspect ingredients go into journalism, including anonymous sources. But that doesn’t mean they’re not good for you.
Source (journalism) (Wikipedia) A good general explanation.
Press pays a price for anonymous sources (Paul K. McMasters et al, First Amendment Center, 5-22-05)
Anonymous Sources (Alicia C. Shepard, AJR archives, Dec. 1994) A flurry of inaccurate stories about O.J. Simpson based on unnamed sources has rekindled the debate over their use. Detractors say they hurt the media's credibility. Defenders say without them important stories would never be told.
Anonymous Source Tracker Daily examples of the media's use of anonymous sources.
A lesson for the White House in anonymous sources (Ruth Marcus, Washington Post 7-22-14) "The White House equates anonymous sources (except their own, of course) with cowardice. The media equate them with truth-telling, or at least a closer approximation of the truth than they are able to get from on-the-record aides spouting the official line."

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Watching the Media Watchdogs (Greg Mitchell, The Nation, 3-15-10). Highlighting the best and worst of current media (print, digital, and broadcast) several times a day. Twitterfeed: @MediaFixBlog

WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout' (Sarah Boseley, Guardian UK, 12-9-10). Cables say drug giant hired investigators to find evidence of corruption on Nigerian attorney general to persuade him to drop legal action

Will the Times Fire a Harvard Prof. Who Broke Their Freelancer Rules? (Gawker, 12-27-09) and Will The New York Times Wrist-Slap Another Freelancer, A Harvard Professor? (Caitlin Kelly, True/Slant, 12-28-09)

Women's WORLD Organization for Rights, Literature, and Development, an international free speech network of feminist writers. Archive (no longer active)

Wronging a person through speech (Judaism 101 on Speech & Lashon Ha-Ra). "Gossip and slander are serious sins in Judaism. Judaism forbids causing any deception or embarrassment through speech. It is forbidden even if the statement is true. There are some exceptions that allow tale-bearing." And so on!