2020 - Spring: First Amendment Law: Freedom of the Press in the Age of Political Vitriol

Course Number: JOUR-GA 1182.007

Day & Time: Monday, 11am-2pm

Location: 652

Instructor: Stephen D. Solomon

Nearly every day brings new challenges to the freedoms of speech and press. President Trump excoriates the press as “enemies of the people” who disseminate “fake news.” Facebook struggles to formulate a policy on false political ads. Journalists are barred from White House press conferences.  Public officials block critics from their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Reporters and bystanders are arrested for recording police officers conducting their official duties in public. Waves of personal attacks drive people off social media. Rachel Maddow, Elon Musk, Alex Jones and many others are sued for defamation. In this course, we’ll explore the First Amendment through the prism of many conflicts we read about in the news. We’ll study important legal precedents and use First Amendment Watch, founded by Professor Solomon (the course instructor), to access the controversies going on today.