Media Mashup: November 11, 2015

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Missouri students and staff push photographer Tim Tai and block his ability to take pictures.

First Amendment I:

The leftists on college campuses may have had their comeuppance when the University of Missouri protestors confronted a photography student who delineated the importance of the First Amendment. The video, which can be found below, is a wonderful tribute to what the First Amendment is about in the words of Tim Tai, the photographer who was working for ESPN.

The main purpose of the First Amendment, as I tell my students, is to protect unreasonable speech. But that does not include literally pushing back against the media. The protestors probably were guilty of assault, but it is unlikely anyone will be charged.

Also, it is unconscionable to me that a professor and a university staff employee would know so little about the First Amendment protections. I defend their right to be stupid under the First Amendment, but I find it troubling.

I hope the events at the University of Missouri become teachable moments–as I used them in my media law course. The discussion got a bit heated, particularly when it came to racial issues. But the events provided an opportunity for serious discussion, which happens less and less on college campuses.

Here is the full video of the photographer and the protestors, with commentary: http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/all/2015/11/debating-the-protests-at-mizzou/415212/#note-415074

First Amendment II:

Unfortunately, the University of Missouri police have moved to limit freedom of expression. The Wall Street Journal reports: http://www.wsj.com/articles/literal-speech-police-1447180770

First Amendment III:

A professor of media law analyzes what the protestors did wrong: http://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/university_of_missouri_protests_first_amendment.php

First Amendment IV:

Here are the 45 wonderful words from the old white guys:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Christopher Harper is a longtime journalist, who reported in Europe and the Middle East. He teaches media law and international journalism. Send suggestions and tips to charper@temple.edu.

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