News & Resources

The First Amendment and the “Purported Fan” Who Posted an Ugly and Hateful Image of FSU Coach Being Lynched

On November 24, the FSU Seminoles lost to the Florida Gators 42-14, giving the football team a 5-7 record and making them ineligible for a bowl game for the first time in over 30 years. Following that loss, a man named Tom Shand posted an image in a Facebook group of FSU’s head coach – an African American – being lynched. There was an immediate outcry from others in the Facebook group, leading the creator […]

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CNN’s Jim Acosta Banned from – Then Restored to – the White House Briefing Room

According to the White House, CNN’s Jim Acosta was banned from the briefing room for “unacceptable” conduct, including “yanking back” when a staffer tried to grab the microphone. The White House Correspondents Association didn’t see it that way. They issued a statement calling President Trump’s decision “out of line” and argued it was made “to punish a reporter with whom [he] has a difficult relationship.” CNN quickly made an emergency request in court to temporarily […]

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Are You Reading Fake News?

Stories about fake news have been capturing headlines regularly over the past few years. Two recent reports highlighted just how extensively Russia has attempted to influence people in the United States with fake news and fake social media. They’ve had their fingers seemingly everywhere, with campaigns and stories touching on patriotism, feminism, gun rights, civil rights, Veterans issues, and even a call for California to secede. President Trump and others decry “fake” news and offer […]

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Tolerating Incivility Is the Price We Pay for Freedom, Says Judge

After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas shooting, long-time Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer received emails that would horrify and disgust most people. Graphic images of gunshot wounds inflicted by the shooter. Language described as “vile,” “harassing,” and “threatening.” Rather than be cowed by the emails, Hammer fought back by filing a harassment lawsuit against the men who sent them, including California lawyer Laurence Sorensen, seeking money damages. Sorensen moved to dismiss the lawsuit. Ms. Hammer’s attorneys […]

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Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville

On November 29, 2018, I had the pleasure of helping to present during a recent Florida First Amendment Sunshine Seminar in Jacksonville. Members of the news media and representatives from local governments attended the event to learn more about complying with laws on open meetings and public records in Florida. The seminar, which took place at the Florida Times-Union headquarters, was hosted in part by the First Amendment Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists-Florida, and the […]

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Florida Supreme Court Decides Not to Weigh in on Release of Parkland Shooting Surveillance

When a tragedy like the Parkland shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School occurs, there tend to be two schools of thought where the release of information is concerned. On the one hand, Florida’s Public Records Act protects the rights of citizens and news organizations to access certain kinds of evidence and information to monitor how well government is functioning. On the other, governing and investigative bodies often have a vested interest in withholding some of […]

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