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Free speech watchdog issues 2019 citations for colleges with worst free speech records

FIRE released its 2019 list of colleges with the worst records for upholding free speech. In alphabetical order, they are Alabama A&M, Dixie State, Georgetown University Qatar, Liberty, Plymouth State, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse, Kansas, North Alabama and the University of Wisconsin System.  (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, February 12, 2019, press release) …

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Former Trump staffer sues for right to publish inside account of White House

Former White House aide Cliff Sims is suing President Donald Trump for his attempts to invoke a nondisclosure agreement and possible damages for Sims’ publication of “Team of Vipers,” an account exposing Trump’s disfunctional administration. Sims signed a nondisclosure agreement as a member of Trump’s 2016 campaign staff but could not remember signing one for …

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FAC Sues CA Attorney General to Force Disclosure of Police Misconduct Files

The First Amendment Coalition (FAC) filed suit today against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for failing to comply with the state’s new, landmark police transparency law. The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, seeks the release of records regarding serious police misconduct—records that all state and local agencies are now required to disclose under Senate Bill …

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Federal court finds Delaware’s judicial political balancing violates First Amendment

Delaware’s Constitution failed to meet U.S. Constitutional standards in its provision that the state’s major political parties be represented equally on the state’s key courts. A panel of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the provision violated the First Amendment in that it meant independents or third party members could not be …

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Trump misses Congress-imposed deadline on Khashoggi killing

Invoking separation of powers and executive privilege, President Donald Trump defied a bipartisan request from a group of senators to identify who was responsible for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and consider retribution by way of sanctions. The administration said they were continuing to investigate the killing and consult with Congress. (Politico, …

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Republicans stand against transparency for Trump taxes

Republicans are arguing that if the House Ways and Means committee succeeds in obtaining President Donald Trump’s tax records, it could lead to demands for the release of  tax records for members of Congress, political donors, etc. Eric Levitz in New York Magazine, February 8, 2019, argues that much public good can be derived from …

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Mercenary hedge fund with scant interest in first rate journalism targets Gannent

With a dubious record of milking newspapers they acquire, the hedge fund Alden Global Capital is setting its sights on Gannett Co., owner of USA Today and scores of local newspapers. Their newspaper subsidiary Digital First likes to cut jobs and in the case of the Denver Post, it reduced staff from 200 to 100 …

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FAC, Media Coalition Notch Important Victory in Growing Police Transparency Fight

A coalition of media groups led by the First Amendment Coalition has prevailed in the latest battle in the expanding legal fight over California’s landmark police transparency bill, Senate Bill 1421. On Friday, Judge Charles Treat of the Contra Costa County Superior Court denied a preliminary injunction sought by police unions that would have barred …

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University of Michigan study disputes role of fake news in 2016 election

A University of Michigan researcher says fears of fake news influencing the 2016 presidential election were overblown. Professor Brendan Nyhan and his colleagues found that only a small number of people read fake news relating to the election and that fake news sites were just two percent or less of an average person’s online news …

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Reuters uncovers scandal over former U.S. intelligence agents working for foreign country

In 2014 former U.S. intelligence agents started working for the United Arab Emirates to spy on those critical of the monarchy. They used modern espionage equipment to surveil human rights workers, journalists and political opponents including ISIS. But the former agents soon found themselves serving UAE intelligence services by spying on U.S. citizens, a practice …

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