Mass Media Notes

BANNED BOOKS WEEK



Censorship in Media


KWLM GRAPHIC ORGANIZER

CENSORSHIP PERSONAL VIEWS-DOWNLOAD A COPY TO YOUR CHROMEBOOK

CLICK HERE FOR CENSORSHIP POWERPOINT (PDF FORMAT)

THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND REAL LIFE SITUATIONS


RELIGION & THE 1ST AMENDMENT--KEY CASES:
FOR YOUR CASE, YOUR GROUP MUST ANSWER & PRESENT THE FOLLOWING TO THE CLASS:
CASE LAW QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:
1. CASE NAME & YEAR
2. EXPLAIN THE TWO SIDES OF THE "ARGUMENT" IN YOUR CASE--REMEMBER, THE PLAINTIFF IS SUING THE DEFENDANT IN COURT.
SO, EXPLAIN WHY THE PLAINTIFF IS SUING AND WHAT THE DEFENDANT SAYS IN ITS DEFENSE.
3. IF YOUR GROUP WAS THE SUPREME COURT, HOW WOULD YOU RULE IN YOUR CASE? FOR THE PLAINTIFF OR DEFENSE? WHY?
4. LOOK UP THE ACTUAL RULING YOUR GROUP'S CASE. WHAT WAS IT?
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Definitions:

·Censorship—the act of removing or forbidding anything that a controlling body deems to be offensive or objectionable in some way
·Conglomerate—a larger corporation owns many other smaller companies in different businesses
·Monopoly—ultimate control over a product or service in a given market that makes price fixing possible or eliminates competition
·FCC—Federal Communications Commission; government agency responsible for overseeing content of network radio/TV programming
·Profanity-- a word choice or usage which many consider to be offensive.

1st Amendment to the United States Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

THINK ABOUT IT:
*Most people believe in the right to free speech, but debate whether it should cover flag-burning, hard-core rap and heavy-metal lyrics, tobacco advertising, hate speech, pornography, nude dancing, solicitation and various forms of symbolic speech. Many would agree to limiting some forms of free expression.

*Freedom of speech doesn’t give blanket protection to some things—
·Yelling fire in a theater
·Airing pornography on network tv or obscene material
·Harassing people

Uses of Censorship:
·Can be used to protect people/interests in matters of national security/inappropriate material for children
·However, it can also be used as a means of suppression/agenda setting
·Some artists feel that it is an infringement upon their rights
·It removes freedom of choice in some cases
*Free speech can be interpreted to mean symbolic speech or expression.

·What is obscenity?

·Miller Test (Supreme Court 1973):
Before sexual material can be judged obscene and therefore unprotected by the First Amendment, a judge or jury must determine:
1. that the average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest;
2. that the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable law; and
3. that the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, and scientific value.

*Boundaries of acceptance change with culture—Elvis, cursing, etc.
  • Elvis on Ed Sullivan—1957—to avoid seeing his gyrating pelvis, Sullivan ordered the cameras to shoot him only from the waist up
  • Double beds in married couples rooms
  • Acceptance of curse words on Friends
  • NYPD’s use of language and nudity

Profanity-- The original meaning of the term was restricted to blasphemy, sacrilege or taking God's name in vain (profane speech, or swear word), especially expressions such as "God damn it", "go to Hell", and "damn you". However, the meaning has been extended to include scatological, sexist, homophobic, racist, or sexual terms.
The FCC has ruled that profane language could not be broadcast "at times of day when there is a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience."

DID YOU KNOW?
*Prayer is allowed in school with some restrictions.
*The American Civil Liberties Union was created to assist people who feel their civil rights have been violated.
*Banned Books Week is recognized during September.

Smith Act of 1940--also known as the Alien Registration Act

McCarran Act of 1950 was used by Senator JoeMcCarthy to "weed out" communists.

Janet Jackson Superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" aired on CBS. MTV produced the show. Both MTV and CBS are owned by media conglomerate Viacom. The maximum fine that could be levied by the FCC at the time was $27,500. Congress passed special legislation (The Broadcast Decency Act) and raised the fine to $550,000.
Did you know that fines for indecent programming exceeded $7.7 million in 2004? The total was only $48,000 in 2000.

Indecent material--cannot be shown between 6 am & 10 pm on network television.
Obscene material cannot be broadcast at any time (networks only).

Student Press Case Law:

3 Main Cases Concerning Students' 1st Amendment Rights
Tinker vs. Des Moines School District:
John and Mary Beth Tinker attended public school in Des Moines, Iowa. In December of 1965 a community group in Des Moines decided to protest American involvement in the Vietnam War by wearing black armbands. The Tinkers agreed to wear their black armbands to school. However, principals in the school district, aware of the students' plans created a rule that any student wearing an armband to school would be suspended unless the student removed the armband. Although the Tinkers knew about this rule, they decided to come to school wearing armbands anyway. After refusing to take the armbands off, John and Mary Beth Tinker were sent home by the principal. Their suspension lasted until they agreed to come back to school without the armbands.
The Tinkers filed a suit in the U.S. District Court to stop the school principals from enforcing the rule in the future. Although the District Court said that this type of protest was a form of expression protected under the First Amendment's freedom of speech clause, the Court sided with the school officials, saying that the rule was needed to "prevent the disturbance of school activities." The Tinkers appealed their case to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, but they lost. The Tinkers decided to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The fundamental question of the case came down to this: Does the First Amendment's promise of free speech extend to the symbolic speech of public school students? And, if so, in what circumstances is that symbolic speech protected? The First Amendment to the Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech."
Ruling: Students have 1st Amendment rights as long as there is no substantial disruption or material interference w/ learning.

Hazelwood School District vs. Kuhlmeier (1988):
The student newspaper ran an article about teen pregnancy. The principal confiscated the newspapers. He said the material in the article was too mature for freshmen students. The students sued.
Ruling: School admin can censor material when it may cause disruption to learning--"reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.

Yeo vs. Lexington (1997):
*High school yearbook staff decided to not run an advertisement for sexual abstinence that a parent (Yeo) wanted.
*Yeo got upset and tried to sue the school.
*But the school could NOT be sued since the yearbook was deemed an "open forum for student expression."
Ruling: *Basically, that means that students have the freedom to determine what they will publish, but they are also held legally responsible for what they publish.


What’s Right With America



Video Sheet Questions





Think about the following as you watch:





  1. In what country does the film take place? From which country is the family returning?









  1. How do government officials communicate messages the people?









  1. How does the government use propaganda?









  1. Which freedoms does the family have to give up?















  1. Are women/men treated equally?











6. Could this ever really happen in our country?
KWLM GRAPHIC ORGANIZER