Kiss the 1st Amendment goodbye!!
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Thread: Kiss the 1st Amendment goodbye!!

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
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    Unhappy Kiss the 1st Amendment goodbye!!

    Now, does this bother anyone else? I'm not an American but still! After watching the CBC's Fifth Estate: Sticks ant Stones piece on how some media tell outright lies (Fox News seemed to be the biggest culprit -- apparently, even today they still contend there are WMD in Iraq).

    But to be so willing and able to give up the freedom to speak one's mind, regardless of how vacuous it is, seems to just smack... well, so un-American! And to be so willing to give the Internet, the largest and grossest example of free speech, to the government to control... sigh. 1984 isn't in the past, me thinks.

    *shakes head in disbelief*


    First Amendment no big deal, students say

    Study shows American teenagers indifferent to freedoms
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 10:20 a.m. ET Jan. 31, 2005

    WASHINGTON - The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech.

    It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.

    The original amendment to the Constitution is the cornerstone of the way of life in the United States, promising citizens the freedoms of religion, speech, press and assembly.

    Yet, when told of the exact text of the First Amendment, more than one in three high school students said it goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees. Only half of the students said newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.

    “These results are not only disturbing; they are dangerous,” said Hodding Carter III, president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which sponsored the $1 million study. “Ignorance about the basics of this free society is a danger to our nation’s future.”

    The students are even more restrictive in their views than their elders, the study says.

    When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.

    Indifference, misunderstanding
    The results reflected indifference, with almost three in four students saying they took the First Amendment for granted or didn’t know how they felt about it. It was also clear that many students do not understand what is protected by the bedrock of the Bill of Rights.

    Three in four students said flag burning is illegal. It’s not. About half the students said the government can restrict any indecent material on the Internet. It can’t.

    “Schools don’t do enough to teach the First Amendment. Students often don’t know the rights it protects,” Linda Puntney, executive director of the Journalism Education Association, said in the report. “This all comes at a time when there is decreasing passion for much of anything. And, you have to be passionate about the First Amendment.”

    The partners in the project, including organizations of newspaper editors and radio and television news directors, share a clear advocacy for First Amendment issues.

    Federal and state officials, meanwhile, have bemoaned a lack of knowledge of U.S. civics and history among young people. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., has even pushed through a mandate that schools must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the date it was signed in 1787.

    The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, is billed as the largest of its kind. More than 100,000 students, nearly 8,000 teachers and more than 500 administrators at 544 public and private high schools took part in early 2004.

    Lack of education
    The study suggests that students embrace First Amendment freedoms if they are taught about them and given a chance to practice them, but schools don’t make the matter a priority.

    Students who take part in school media activities, such as a student newspapers or TV production, are much more likely to support expression of unpopular views, for example.

    About nine in 10 principals said it is important for all students to learn some journalism skills, but most administrators say a lack of money limits their media offerings.

    More than one in five schools offer no student media opportunities; of the high schools that do not offer student newspapers, 40 percent have eliminated them in the last five years.

    “The last 15 years have not been a golden era for student media,” said Warren Watson, director of the J-Ideas project at Ball State University in Indiana. “Programs are under siege or dying from neglect. Many students do not get the opportunity to practice our basic freedoms.”
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  2. #2
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    As a politically aware highschool student, I can attest to this. It's quite sad how poorly educated people are regarding their freedoms. Now, just to give background of where I'm from, I live in wealthy white suburbia. That in itself is conducive to total ignorance of reality, so, I'm never really surprised when people make outlandish statements. It's also largely a conservative area. Now, I myself oppose organized religion and am open to different systems of belief and different styles of government. The kids around here put so much stock into what the media feeds them and what their parents give them that it sickens me. Most have totally half-assed ideas about things which they can't defend, nor do they understand. Their amendment rights are high on that list. Being who I am, in the place I live, I tend to hold what would be considered unpopular views on life.

    The propaganda is drilled so far into these kids' heads' that if you even mention the word communist, you'll be met with evil glares and snide 'patriotic' looks. If you criticize a public official (especially the president), you'll be met with some bland anti-liberal sentiments (commonly these are short anecdotes taken from some campaign commercial). I express myself fully and completely and am a very open person, but, most people these days seem to hate that. People are mostly ignorant of their rights or why they should even support the rights they have.
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  3. #3
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    MM again it looks to be a flawed study, the sample size is largeish but it seems to be geograficly small and i wonder about the scioeconamic class of the people questioned? It also said 83% of the students suvaed felt people had the right ot speak their mind...well thats a far cry from not thinking the first amendment was important...allways look for the spin when trying to understand these survey pices.
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  4. #4
    Ah, now c'mon, this seems a bit exaggerated to me, no offense...

    First of all, I only graduated high school six years ago, don't think that was too terribly long ago, and I had a full understanding of my rights. It was taught in civics. I've never known anyone to "not care" about the 1st Amendment. Something tells me this article was a little slanted...do you really think most high school kids are that stupid? C'mon, give 'em some credit...they might just surprise you...

    If you criticize a public official (especially the president), you'll be met with some bland anti-liberal sentiments (commonly these are short anecdotes taken from some campaign commercial).
    Half true...Actually, it's all partisanship. If I say anything anti-Democrat, I'm going to get just as big a bashing than if I said something "unpatriotic." They say Republicans are holier-than-thous, but Democrats are smarter-than-thous...whichever side you sit with, the other will come at you guns blazing and a feeling of superiority...gotta love hypocrisy...one reason I don't align myself with parties anymore.

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    Good article - scary - but good.

    What is scary is that we have elements of facism being built into our government - the very thing I and millions of others fought or fighting against! Even scarier is apathy towards it happening. I have to admit, that when I was younger and serving in the military, I did not give much thought to the freedoms I had as a citizen until two things happened to me. 1. When I joined the Army and gave up many of my freedoms so that others could hopefully enjoy theirs more and 2. When I visited concentration camps in Germany. Those two things woke me up and helped me ensure I keep as informed as I can about our government, the changes they suggest and how it will affect us. Hate to sound cornball, but if no one acts, then no one will. I also learned the importance of not only being able to be free to say and do what I want - within the law but to allow other people to say and do - within the law as well - you know - tolerance.

    Reading the article again sends shivers up my spine and I hearby promise to help educate my children on our government, rights, freedoms and duties as citizens!
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  6. #6
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    I just ask that all of you who are (very rightly) scared about loseing our freedoms remember which group is in power as they get striped away.
    the neocons have very little to do with ideals i here most conservitives talk about so how can they continue to support them?
    Who is more trustworthy then all of the gurus or Buddha’s?

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    When I first began reading this thread I became very uneasy
    After seeing the expression of other views I became more settled seeing that others were also uncomfortable.
    The funny thing about our system is that with eveyone involved in one way or another things go in every direction. And along the way we gain and lose rights. We've made huge mistakes and suffered, and anyone who thinks that can't happen again is a fool. But the important thing is to challange anything that you feel threatened by, many times others will speak when they realize they are not alone
    A mind full of questions has no room for answers

  8. #8
    AO Decepticon CXGJarrod's Avatar
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    Originally posted here by bballad
    MM again it looks to be a flawed study, the sample size is largeish but it seems to be geograficly small and i wonder about the scioeconamic class of the people questioned? It also said 83% of the students suvaed felt people had the right ot speak their mind...well thats a far cry from not thinking the first amendment was important...allways look for the spin when trying to understand these survey pices.
    Some good points, answered in part here. (http://www.knightfdn.org/default.asp...thodology.html)

    The study was designed to gather data from administrators, students and faculty at a random sample of schools. In order to study potential clustered or hierarchical relationships between variables, the survey collected data from administrators, students and faculty at the same schools. The current study is based on an analysis of summary interviews with 544 school administrators, detailed interviews with 327 principals or other senior administrators, 7,889 faculty members, and 112,003 students.

    The survey consisted of a multi-stage cluster design conducted in two stages across three units of analysis: schools, students and faculty. Four surveys were administered. Initially, DPP administered a “general survey” to appropriate administrators at 544 high school buildings around the country. In the second wave of the study, 327 of the 544 administrators agreed to allow us to conduct interviews with students and teachers in their schools. In these schools, separate surveys were administered to principals, faculty and students. Surveys were administered during April and May of 2004.
    It would be interesting to see the actual questions asked and where the schools were located.
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    I like the way FR openned, so I think I'll do the same:
    Originally posted here by FlamingRain
    As a politically aware highschool student, I can attest to this.
    I live in the Capital of the free world, Washington DC. Even here you would be amazed to see how many people of actually any age are totally apathetic or ignorant to anything relating to government, especially in context to the Consitution and Bill of Rights. While I adamantly do not like this, the reasons for people being so unaware and lethargic towards understanding the system is because it works so well that most people really don't need to know much about it. The US government was created out of direct and tangible fear of authority and gives a citizen just about every defence against it, even without any participation of your own person. This especially applys to young people because age qualifications keep getting raised and adulthood further and further delayed. Rights don't particularly concern minors because as minors...they don't really have any.

    Even though most students go about it in an immature matter, any HS principal or teacher who preachs the 1st Amendment and says how students need to be more involved in using it are a critical example of a hypocrite. Until you reach college level, the faculty does nothing but cripple your 1st Amendment; and will often remind you of that authority.

    Originally posted here by FlamingRain
    The kids around here put so much stock into what the media feeds them and what their parents give them that it sickens me. Most have totally half-assed ideas about things which they can't defend, nor do they understand..
    This is a very true statement, although I'd say most HS students tend to rehash the extreme liberal bias as apposed to conservative views. That's just my view, but I think it was once again said better here even though I consider myself Libertarian:

    Originally posted here by FlamingRain
    Half true...Actually, it's all partisanship. If I say anything anti-Democrat, I'm going to get just as big a bashing than if I said something "unpatriotic." They say Republicans are holier-than-thous, but Democrats are smarter-than-thous...whichever side you sit with, the other will come at you guns blazing and a feeling of superiority...gotta love hypocrisy...one reason I don't align myself with parties anymore.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Kite's Avatar
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    It is shocking to hear that so many highschoolers arent really aware of how important thier rights are. It very apparent where I go to school, most of the kids are totaly unaware of their freedoms and its virtually impossible to have an intelligent disscusion with most of them. It is scary to say the least.
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