Rights vs. Responsibilities: The Supreme Court and the Media

Rights vs. Responsibilities: The Supreme Court and the Media

Rights vs. Responsibilities: The Supreme Court and the Media

Rights vs. Responsibilities: The Supreme Court and the Media

Synopsis

In the past 65 years, the United States Supreme Court has outlined, through its decisions, its conceptions of the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. media. Analyzing every Supreme Court media case from 1931 to 1996, this book explores the changes in how the Court has conceived of the media's freedom. Hindman focuses on the educational and political functions of the media, the ethical principles of truth telling, and the conflict between collectivist and individualist interpretations of the First Amendment. The author challenges accepted views in the field, arguing that despite the justices' rhetoric, the Court has treated media freedom as a social goal rather than a right.

Excerpt

The political and educational functions and the truth telling and stewardship canons each have provided the Supreme Court ways to explain its views on the media and their connection to society. This chapter and the next three examine the Court's views from the perspective of time. Select media cases are discussed in chronological order, with an emphasis on the views of both the Court as a body and several individual justices. These chapters address the questions of how and if the overall conflict between individualism and collectivism--as demonstrated in the libertarian/social responsibility, liberal/conservative, natural law/legal positivism, and negative/affirmative freedoms debates--affected Court conceptions of media responsibility, and whether any dominant view of media responsibility prevailed over time.

First, changes in the Court's conceptions over time were analyzed, with particular attention to the conservative-liberal-conservative shift the Court made from the 1930s to the 1990s. Second, cases were grouped by topic within those eras, because often the Court decided a number of similar cases within a short period of time. Third, the philosophies of a few individual justices were examined, as were those of cohesive groups of justices. The purpose was to discover long- and short-term trends in the justices' conceptions of media responsibility by considering the impact of their judicial and political philosophies as well as the characteristics of the Court during the eras under study.

These four chapters are organized around definable eras of the Court. Chapter Two focuses on the early years of the Court's examination of media roles and responsibilities, encompassing the years 1931 to 1953. Within this two-decade period there was dramatic change in American society and within Court philosophy, change reflected in the justices' decisions on media responsibility. Chapter Three covers the period 1953 to 1969, the "Warren Court" era, which has been characterized as the most liberal era of the Supreme Court. Chapter Four begins . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.