First Five Newsletter: July 11, 2019

First Five
Trump’s unconstitutional Twitter usage, journalism about climate change, blocking anti-Semitism in schools and more.

First Five Column

Benjamin Marcus takes a look at the “Peace Cross Case” and whether courts or government agencies are competent to adjudicate what is religious and what is not. Read the column. A plain text version is available for publishers here

First Five Podcast

Gene Policinski sits down with Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California to discuss the reason for and expected benefits of his “Saving Local News Act of 2019.” Listen now!

News

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled it is unconstitutional for President Trump to block people on Twitter as the action qualifies as “viewpoint discrimination.” The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the First Amendment prohibits public officials from blocking users who voice differing opinions from their own official social media accounts.

Technology

On Friday, the French Parliament approved a bill introduced by President Emmanuel Macron in February that requires social media platforms to remove hateful content from their websites within 24 hours, or risk substantial fines. The bill was sponsored by Député Laetitia Avia, a member of the French National Assembly and frequent target of racist hate messages online.

Law

A bill introduced in the N.J. Senate aimed at blocking anti-Semitism in public schools has been criticized for its potential implications on free expression. Critics say that the bill would hinder individuals from expressing negative opinions of Israel, which is not the case for other nations, including the United States.

Scholarship

An article in the journal Issues in Science and Technology discusses how journalism about climate change has a tendency to dramatize the results of scientific research without providing context or discussing potential solutions.

Commentary

Joshua Benton writes for Nieman Lab about the danger of the decline of daily printed publications in the wake of the closing of the local newspaper in Youngstown, Ohio. “A declining newspaper is better than no newspaper,” notes Benton. “A rundown newspaper is better than no newspaper. A bad newspaper is better than no newspaper.”


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