Dr. Larry Burriss

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  (Burriss)  --  I remember back in high school I did a term paper about Julius Caesar. One of the sources I used for information about Caesar’s assassination was William Shakespeare. But, although the Bard was undoubtedly a tremendous poet and writer, I don’t know that his Julius Caesar death scene was all that historically accurate.

Now Apple Computer, The New York Times, American Public Media and National Public Radio, are dealing with a 21st century play that has been passing fiction off as fact.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  --  One of the continuing questions about free speech asks, “Are lies a protected form of communication?” Within some narrow circumstances involving advertising and defamation, false statements are, in fact, protected.

But notice that false advertising and defamation can lead to direct, immediate harm. Other kinds of lying may be morally wrong, but their harm is generally negligible.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  This Friday, March 9th, marks an unusual coincidence in anniversaries and significant dates in the media. In 1954 on this date, C-B-S news reporter Edward R. Murrow aired his famous Joseph McCarthy broadcast. And 10 years later, in 1964, also on March 9th, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the power of government officials to sue newspapers for defamatory statements made in the heat of public debate.

The March 9th broadcast of "See It Now" has been directly linked to the downfall of McCarthy, and the beginning of the end of McCarthyism.

Life used to be so much easier when high school students just went to class and didn’t try to act like…well, adults. Oh, wait a minute, we do want the kids to act like adults. At least some of the time.

And what about the kids? Well, they want to be treated like adults. Except when they don’t.

It seems the student editor of the Lenoir City High School paper wanted to publish an editorial describing how atheists in the school are allegedly discriminated against. The school principal decided the editorial would be disruptive, and wouldn’t allow it to be published.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) --  For as long as I can remember I’ve had an idea for a science fiction story about journalists. In the story we live in a world where journalists can do anything they want in pursuit of a story: lie, cheat steal, even murder. Of course, all of their stories are truthful, complete and accurate, so I guess there is some kind of trade-off.

Now, I find my fantasy story may not be as far-fetched as I had perhaps imagined.