First Five Newsletter: July 18, 2019

First Five
Black Lives Matter petition, social media summit, passing of Justice Stevens and more.

First Five Column

Gene Policinski takes a look at the quintessential baby boomer-era satire mag, MAD, magazine and their recent announcement to contain only re-published content, on a monthly basis. Read the column. A plain text version is available for publishers here.


Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson recently filed a petition to have his case reheard by Louisiana’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal after the court decided a lawsuit filed against him could proceed. He is being sued by a police officer who was injured at a protest in Baton Rouge, La., in 2016. The officer alleges that McKesson was the leader of the protest and therefore should be accountable for the outbreak of violence. Some worry that the Fifth Circuit’s ruling could suppress First Amendment rights, as leaders may choose not to organize demonstrations out of fear of being held liable for the actions of protestors out of their control.


A group of right-wing internet personalities and conservative organizations attended a social media summit at the White House last Thursday. The conversation centered around the perceived censorship of conservative viewpoints online, although there were not any representatives from major social media platforms invited to the event. In his remarks, President Trump asserted that the mainstream media is “not free speech” because journalists write negative stories about him.


Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died this week. In his 35 years on the court, he left an indelible mark on many areas of First Amendment jurisprudence, consistently defending principles of church-state separation, arguing for significant protection for commercial speech and defending speech considered indecent or of lower value. Read more here.


The University of Colorado Law Review released a paper discussing how the First Amendment protects the listeners of speech, examining in particular the speaker-listener dynamic between the press and its audiences.


Julia Wallace and Kristin Gilger write for USA TODAY about the strides female journalists have made since the 1980s to work for gender equality in the news industry and reflect on the advancements that still need to be made.

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