Monday, January 31, 2005

 

SPEECHLESS

Today, MSNBC (and others) published an article telling us that free speech no longer matters:

The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.
The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.
Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

I am speechless over this, although it is not surprising given the current trend of the Bush Administration to control the media by paying commentators to promote its agenda. But to believe that the text of the First Amendment goes "too far" is scary. Schools no longer receive funding to teach journalism classes or political science; I guess this is somehow related to the No Child Left Behind plan.

I researched this survey and discovered that it is sponsored by the John S. and James Knight Foundation, http://www.knightfdn.org, established by the Knight newspaper brothers. I am sure that based on this origin, some paid commentator will suggest the liberal media somehow fixed these results to scare the public. But the survey seems legitimate--about 113,00 students, teachers, and administrators at 544 schools nationwide were questioned over the past two years.

Isn't it ironic that this attitude has become apparent at the same time the Administration has vowed to spread American freedoms and values across the globe.

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