MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- The on-going “Occupy” protests, and the protests and demonstrations at the NATO summit in Chicago this week, are once again highlighting the issue of citizens photographing police activities in public places. And citizens have received support from an unlikely source: the United States Department of Justice.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- One of the criteria both judges and reporters use in determining whether or not to publish what may be dangerous material is, is the hazard resulting from the publication real, or is it merely theoretical? Unless there is a serious, provable danger, decision-makers almost always come down on the side of publication. This is particularly true in matters of involving debate on public policy.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- Remember all those cute school assemblies and plays where the children were in adult roles? They pretended to graduate from school, drive cars, have jobs, get married, and sometimes even have children. Almost everyone talked about how cute the kids were.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- How many of you remember the myriad of stories you heard as children about the self-made millionaire? Or the stories of Horatio Alger, or later, Tom Swift? Today these morality tales generate a lot of “ho-hums” and eye-ball rolling. But here’s one that got my attention, and prompted me to do a little more research to see what the fuss is all about. It’s a free phone app called “Instagram.”
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- My son came home from school one time and we got to talking about how his day had gone. I asked him what he had done in music class, and he told me they had talked about some of the old composers and musicians. I was most impressed as I thought how great it was that my son was learning about Beethoven, Bach and the classics. So I asked him who they had talked about. He said, "You know, Dad, the old ones . . . Simon and Garfunkel and the Rolling Stones." We quickly dropped the discussion.
MURFRESSBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- I’ve often talked about printed books versus e-books, and still think there is something better about the printed versions. Sure, I have an e-book reader, but I still prefer turning a real page, rather than pushing a button.
But I also remember from high school, when my favorite English teacher wouldn’t let us read from a paperback version of Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” She said only hardbacks were the real versions. And I remember thinking, what difference does it matter which version you read? After all, the words are the same.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- The recent Supreme Court arguments regarding the health care lawsuits have sparked numerous calls for a more open court, specifically real-time, or at a minimum, delayed video coverage. But there is apparently some misunderstanding about what anyone actually can, and can’t do relative to news about the court.
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.