Judge Tosses Virus Lawsuit Against Fox News

A Seattle judge has dismissed a lawsuit from a little-known advocacy organization that hoped to bar Fox News Channel from transmitting its popular primetime opinion programs to its large cable-news audience. The Washington state group known as the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, or WASHLITE, filed a suit in Superior Court of Washington State in April, calling for an injunction that would keep Fox News from “publishing further and false and deceptive content” about the coronavirus pandemic.

NCTA Backs Fox News in WashLITE Lawsuit

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, whose members include the owners of CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, and CBS News, has joined the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to support Fox News in its defense of a lawsuit filed by a group, WashLITE, critical of Fox News/Fox Business Network commentary on the coronavirus. WashLITE said that commentary is deceptive commercial speech in violation of consumer protection laws.

DOJ Seeks Appeal In 1st Amend. Case

President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice lawyers are asking a New York federal judge to allow an immediate appeal of her decision that a suit accusing him of repeatedly violating the First Amendment can move forward — and they want to pause the proceedings in her courtroom while that appeal plays out.

Pai: Pallone Should Condemn Free Press Petition

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked the chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee to speak out against Free Press’s emergency petition to the FCC to stop what that group said was “right-wing personalities” spreading disinformation about the pandemic.

Gabbard Loses 1st Amend. Lawsuit Against Google

Siding with Google, a federal judge has thrown out Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard’s free-speech lawsuit against the tech company over a brief suspension of her advertising account.

Court: Tech Platforms Aren’t Bound By 1st Amend.

A federal appeals court in California on Wednesday ruled that privately operated internet platforms are free to censor content they don’t like. Though not unexpected, the unanimous decision by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco marks the most emphatic rejection of the argument that YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other giant tech platforms are bound by the First Amendment.

Gray Wins First Amendment Case In Vermont

The state Supreme Court ruled that the public has a right to records in an earlier case in which Gray Television’s argued successfully that its CBS affiliate WCAX Burlington should not be forced to turn over to police footage of a shooting in January 2018. “This unanimous decision is an important victory not only for the Vermont media, but all Vermonters, who depend on journalists to be independent and not take sides in any kind of story,” said Lisa Loomis, president of the Vermont Press Association.

THE PRICE POINT

The Price Point | Broadcasters: Beware Of Unintended Consequences

As legislation is being proposed to regulate Big Tech, broadcasters should realize that any regulation involving use of the internet by business will eventually affect television stations, particularly any encroachment on the First Amendment. This is a genuine concern because one of the bubbling issues is who can post what information.

Jenni Rivera TV Series Results In First Amendment Win For Univision

Two First Amendment Victories In Fla.

The sun is shining a little brighter in the Sunshine State, thanks to a pair of mid-May court rulings in cases involving press freedom in which the RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force has been involved.

Exhibit Highlights Cartoonists’ 1st Amendment Focus

The political cartooning display at Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum runs the gamut from a 1774 etching by Paul Revere criticizing Britain’s use of tea as a political weapon to a 2018 cartoon lampooning the blocking of online conservative commentary.

RTDNA, More Than 100 Other Groups Oppose DHS Surveillance Of Journalists, Others

Kaplar Named Media Institute President

Richard Kaplar has run the media company-backed First Amendment advocacy organization since January 2018 following the retirement of president-CEO Patrick Maines, but with the title of executive director, a post Kaplar has held since 2016.

NEWS ANALYSIS

CNN V. Trump Might Be Over, But…

… the dangers are just beginning. New White House rules governing the press corps threaten the First Amendment.

COMMENTARY

Free Speech Is On A Slippery Slope

Rich people have free speech rights. Do the corporations they run? That question is destroying democracy.

Fox News Case Appealed To Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon have the opportunity to shake up the consumption of news. At stake could very well be the online dissemination of broadcast news clips as well as a deeper understanding of how politics and news intersect. That’s because Wednesday, the media monitoring service TVEyes indicated in an application to the high court that it would indeed be petitioning for review of a recent appellate loss to Fox News.

Judge Vacates Order Restricting LA Times

A federal judge on Tuesday lifted a controversial order requiring The Los Angeles Times to delete information in an article published over the weekend. U.S. District Judge John Walter walked back his original decision after the Times protested with the support of newsrooms across the country, citing First Amendment concerns.

Court Strikes Down IMDb Age Law

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that the State of California’s SAG-AFTRA-backed law making it illegal for the entertainment news site IMDbPro to publish actors’ ages is unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds.

COMMENTARY BY JEFFREY MCCALL

America’s Waning Commitment To 1st Amend.

The creation of the First Amendment by our nation’s founders demonstrated a profound commitment to human dignity, reason and the search for truth. First Amendment confusion reigns today in America. Today, too many Americans take a self-centered approach, claiming their own individual rights, but not acknowledging that the First Amendment protects the free speech of the other guy, too.

RTNDA Blasts Ga. Senate Over Press Threat

RTDNA on Thursday demanded that the press office for the Georgia State Senate rescind its threat to revoke press credentials for a WGCL Atlanta reporter who had the audacity to ask questions of a state senator in the public hallway of a public building, the Georgia State Capitol.

What Reporters Get Wrong About 1st Amend.

Journalists are not immune to misunderstandings of the First Amendment, despite their self-evident interests in the functionality and well-being of a free press (and, indeed, their long and important efforts to protect speech and press freedoms). Jonathan Peters asked a dozen media law professors and attorneys what they consider common misunderstandings that journalists have about the First Amendment and media law. Eleven shared their thoughts.

GOP Senator Defends 1st Amend. In Video

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on New Year’s Day called for a revival of “shared facts” in politics and the media. Sasse released a video saying that the country’s system of government “will not work” without a shared understanding of the value of the First Amendment.

A First Amendment Victory In St. Louis

Pai Once Again Declines To Reproach Trump

Under questioning by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone at a House hearing, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai would not be drawn into criticizing the president for suggesting that the FCC ought to revoke the licenses of media companies for news stories Trump felt were untrue. However, Pai did say that he would not use the power of the FCC for retribution against any media company because of its reporting.

Pai Urged To Disavow Trump’s NBC Tweets

A group of 21 free speech activists, including three former FCC commissioners, called on the FCC chairman to publicly repudiate President’s Trump tweeted suggestion that the FCC revoke broadcast licences for airing “fake news” about him. “Such threats are what you would expect to hear in a dictatorship, not a democracy, and they must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” they say in an open letter.

Ind. Lawmaker Drafts Bill To License Journos

An Indiana lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police. Rep. Jim Lucas had the measure drawn up earlier this year and said he may file it to drive home a point about his signature issue — gun rights. “If you’re OK licensing my Second Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your First Amendment right?” he said.

Ryan Backs Free Speech Amid Trump Threat

House Speaker Paul Ryan told journalists Thursday, “I’m a constitutional conservative, I’m for the First Amendment.”

COMMENTARY BY LEE C. BOLLINGER

Can The First Amendment Save Us?

It took a long time for the press to gain freedom and respect in America. Now both are in peril.

First Amend. Assault You May Not Know Of

During the past several days the feud between President Trump and the NFL regarding many of its players taking a knee during the national anthem has deepened an already divisive debate about the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. What’s not as well known is that there has been a steady increase in efforts in many states to squelch public protests, an effort quite possibly borne out of the protests and rioting that followed the shootings of African-Americans by white police officers and others, which became more frequent three years ago.

Trump Fundraisers Sell Anti-Journo Bumper Stickers

RTDNA Backs Station’s Fight To Air Testimony

The news group is backing WPTA Fort Wayne, Ind., in its effort to reverse a court ruling barring it from airing audio of the sentencing hearing of a doctor who pleaded guilty to sexual battery. The Quincy Media station legally obtained the recording through an open records request.

Trump Jr. ‘Transparency" Tactic May Backfire

Donald Trump Jr.’s released incriminating emails after the New York Times alerted him it already had the emails and sought comment before posting them. Trump’s pre-emptive move may have given him the appearance of having nothing to hide in this instance, but he can no longer count on a heads-up from the press the next time it has a potentially damaging story.

Pew: Dems, GOP Sharply Divided on Media

About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44%) as negative (46%) impact on the way things are going in the country, according to new research from Pew Research. Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85% to 10%), say the news media has a negative effect.

Cavender: More Media Contempt From Trump

President Trump’s contempt for the news media was again glaringly on display when he chose not to hold a news conference at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Hamburg. But the impact of his decision goes far beyond simply demonstrating a lack of concern for informing the American people.

AT&T-Time Warner Merger Hangs In Limbo

After eight months of scrutiny by the Justice Department’s anti-trust regulators, the fate of the merger is still unclear. Among the reasons: Trump’s nominee to run the DOJ’s anti-trust division is still awaiting Senate confirmation and concerns that White House may weigh in given Trump’s antipathy toward CNN, one of Time Warner’s prized possessions.

 

Trump Bashes Press Where Others Praised It

In the past, presidents have often used foreign visits to preach the value of a free press. Not this president. 

Trump Shrugs Off ‘Haters,’ Media In Tweets

As he prepared to meet with world leaders at the G20 summit today, President Trump waved off critics and the “Fake News Media” in his morning Tweets. “Fake News Media will never cover me accurately but who cares!,” says one.

Trump’s Leaks Crackdown Has Chilling Effect

National security officials across the federal government say they are seeing new restrictions on who can access sensitive information, fueling fears in the intelligence and security community that the Trump administration has stepped up a stealthy operation to smoke out leakers.

Univision Set To Fight Defamation Suit

Univision Communications Inc. said it will fight a new defamation lawsuit over a Deadspin story the company acquired last year when it purchased Gawker Media’s blogs in a bankruptcy auction. The plaintiff in the suit, Las Vegas oddsmaker RJ Bell, is being represented by Charles Harder, the same lawyer that successfully sued Gawker on behalf of Hulk Hogan and forced it into bankruptcy. Subscription required to read story.

RTDNA Objects To Arrest Of Minn. Reporters