Media Mashup: June 15, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 10.24.24 AMThe NAACP’s White Lie

Even though she has reportedly resigned her position as head of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington, Rachel Dolezal’s lies underscore some of the fundamental troubles within the black leadership in the United States.

Not only did Dolezal hide her true race, which apparently is white rather than black, she created a fictitious persona, which included claims she was born in a teepee in Montana and was whipped like a slave.

The City of Spokane is investigating whether she provided false information on a job application with the municipality.

Rather than distancing themselves from Dolezal, Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP leadership defended her. “One’s racial identity is not a qualifying criteria or disqualifying standard for NAACP leadership,” the organization said in a statement.

We thought that truth might be important, but we apparently were mistaken.

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The Legacy of the Magna Carta

The “Great Charter,” arguably one of the most significant documents in the course of democracy, turns 800 today.

Although some academics tend to downplay the importance of the agreement, which was signed by King John in 1215 to end battles with the nobility, the document clearly influenced the Founding Fathers. Legal issues, such as due process and right to a trial, became part of the legacy of the law after the agreement.

As University of Pittsburgh law professor Bernard Hibbitts put it: “[The Magna Carta] can also remind us of our substantive obligations to the weak, the vulnerable, the itinerant and the dispossessed, whose English forebears were briefly sheltered beneath its mantle. Its posture as a prototypical social contract between ruler and ruled can inspire us to build a better, stronger and more just nation for each other.”

We agree with Hibbitts rather than our nitpicking colleagues.

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Hulk Hogan and the First Amendment

Although Gawker Media isn’t one of our favorite news outlets, the organization is fighting an important legal battle with former wrestler Hulk Hogan.

Gawker posted 90 seconds from a DVD of Hogan, whose actual name is Terry Bollea, having sex with a woman. Hogan has filed a lawsuit in a Florida court asking for $100 million.

Seeking First Amendment protection, Gawker maintains the sex video from 2006 has news value, and the organization received the video from a source, which probably means the company did not violate privacy laws.

As we tell our students, good law often can be based on bad acts, such as protection under the Miranda ruling.

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Quick Hits:

ABC News’ Prediction: World Was Supposed to End Today

The Media’s Failure to Understand Science

CNN Anchor Calls Dallas Shooter ‘Courageous and Brave’

NY Times’ Public Editor: Rubio Ticket Story Not Newsworthy

Send suggestions and tips to charper@temple.edu

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