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.