First Five Newsletter: August 29, 2019

First Five
Religious studies in schools, Bitcoin’s protection by the First Amendment, the need for a diverse press and more.

First Five Column

Benjamin Marcus talks about a recent national poll showing that the majority of Americans, including teachers and parents, support elective education about religion in schools. So why don’t more schools teach about religion? Fear of unconstitutional indoctrination may play a role. Read the column. A plain text version is available here.

News

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments from Prager University, a non-profit that produces explainer videos about conservative ideas, that YouTube violated its First Amendment rights by limiting access to and demonetizing dozens of its videos. While the lawsuit was previously dismissed by a federal district court because the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies, in its appeal Prager University argued that the video platform performs a public function and has turned itself into a public forum.

Technology

Is Bitcoin protected by the First Amendment? Several experts weigh in.

Law

A conservative charity with ties to the Koch brothers has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block California’s attempts to identify its donors, calling it a violation of the First Amendment right of association.

Scholarship

An essay based on an excerpt from Christopher R. Martin’s book, “No Longer Newsworthy: How the Mainstream Media Abandoned the Working Class,” discusses the decline in labor reporting in favor of a more upscale news audience. “As the labor beat was left to wither, newspapers pursued more upscale readers with workplace ‘lifestyle’ columns featuring the lives of young professionals and their concerns about office gossip, job interview strategy, expense accounts and office party etiquette.”

Commentary

Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Bernie Sanders discusses the need for a diverse and independent press for a functioning democracy.


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