MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (BURRISS) -- I remember some 20 years ago everyone was concerned about what was called “netiquette,” proper behavior on the Internet. There were dozens or hundreds of web sites with all sorts of lists of what was, and was not, acceptable Internet usage. Unfortunately, all sorts of new technologies have led to all sorts of new etiquette issues.
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.
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.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) -- There’s an old, old saying that you can run but you can’t hide. And a corollary for the Internet age is that you shouldn’t post anything anywhere that you wouldn’t want you grandmother to see.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Almost everyone agrees that broadcasters should be prohibited from broadcasting “indecent” material. And Federal Communications Commission rules, in fact, ban such broadcasts. So let me ask you this: What, exactly, is “indecent” material?
This is the issue argued last week before the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case that challenges how the government regulates indecent broadcasts. Note that the issue is not if the government can regulate such material rather, the question deals with how the rules are enforced.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- At the moment former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich appears to be leading other republican presidential contenders in the polls. I say “for the moment,” because by the time I finish writing these comments someone else may very well be the front runner.
A couple of my friends have noticed, with some chagrin, that everyone, including the media, seems to delight in attacking the front runners. The Japanese have a phrase for this sort of behavior: the nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Ever since the early days of broadcasting, nearly 100 years ago, the law has had an almost impossible time trying to keep up with technology. Every time legislators think they have the technology figured out, a new wrinkle comes along that changes all of the rules.
Now Congress is trying to figure out how to prevent cyber-theft of movies, songs and consumer goods, which is a good thing, but in the process may end up shutting down innumerable legitimate web sites, particularly social media and user-generated content.
Murfreesboro, Tenn It’s been said that all politics is local, meaning the most important political decisions are really made at the local level, not the state and national. And if that’s true, then it follows that the most important examples of political and public information are also local.
So, let’s take a quick look at who can look at local public records, and what records are available to the local public.
I made a silly mistake in class last year, and asked my students how many of them remember the riots that helped end the Vietnam War. Of the 40-some students, only one was old enough to remember those days of demonstrations, tear gas and arrests.