First Five Newsletter: September 12, 2019

First Five
Restricted First Amendment freedoms, Snapchat’s 2020 debate accounts, cancel culture and more.

First Five Column

Gene Policinski reflects on the controversy over public officials and lawmakers restricting people’s First Amendment rights, specifically freedom of speech and petition. These rights are free to be expressed whenever one pleases, not at the convenience of others. Read the column. A plain text version is available here.

News

A new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists highlights the top 10 most-censored countries in the world. The Washington Post‘s Jason Rezaian discusses the most alarming finding: that “governments are using Internet resources — originally intended to make expression easier — to impose censorship on views they don’t like.”

Technology

Snapchat is creating a dedicated news channel specifically for the 2020 debates. It is also working with candidates to increase their visibility on Snapchat. As of last week, all of the top-tier candidates have now launched Snapchat accounts this cycle and are leveraging the platform to do things they’ve previously relied on Facebook for, such as selling merchandise or raising money.

Law

One America News Network, a small cable news channel that strongly supports President Donald Trump’s agenda, filed a lawsuit alleging that MSNBC host Rachel Maddow defamed the company by saying that it “really literally is paid Russian propaganda.”

Scholarship

Several recent studies have shown that when journalists covering elections focus primarily on who’s winning or losing — instead of on policy issues — voters, candidates and the news industry itself suffer.

Commentary

Writing for Wired, Emma Grey Ellis, weighs in on cancel culture: “The best argument against cancel culture is that the whole thing is a myth, existing only in the furious minds of outraged social media users. People who are canceled usually don’t stay that way, and often the attention just fuels their success. Many of the canceled people whom The New York Times namechecked last year are no longer canceled — Taylor Swift, Queer Eye‘s Antoni Porowski and Chris Evans seem to be doing fine. Nearly everyone, even people canceled for things that are actual crimes, is still working, still has fans, and, you know, is a millionaire.”


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