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Trumping Trump: California’s Attack on the First Amendment

By DAVID SNYDER—California leaders have scrambled to position themselves at the vanguard of the resistance to President Trump, with Attorney General Xavier Becerra filing some 50 lawsuits against the Trump Administration, including—ironically as we shall see—at least one challenging the president’s failure to release records under federal open-records laws. The state Legislature—more than two-thirds Democratic—passed …

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California AG Xavier Becerra and the Thick Blue Wall of Police Secrecy

By DAVID SNYDER—California Attorney General Xavier Becerra appears to believe there are two sets of rules about government transparency—one for his office, and another for everyone else.   Back in 2017, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refused to disclose public records about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s potential ethical conflicts, Becerra promptly sued under the …

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Everyone Hates Julian Assange—Except For That Time They Used to Love Him

The bipolar, bipartisan love/hate for the Wikileaks founder threatens the First Amendment and has clouded the true nature of the fundamental rights at stake. BY DAVID SNYDER—It’s not hard to find people in Washington with strong opinions about Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange. But good luck finding someone with an opinion about Assange that …

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The Press Goes Full Donner Party

BY DAVID SNYDER—As 2018 slouches onward, an already embattled news media has found itself ever more isolated and mistrusted. Just one depressing frame from the lowlight reel: according to a recent poll by Axios, nearly all Republicans (93%), and a majority of Democrats (53%), believe traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories “at …

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The Hannity Reveal Was Huge News — But Everyone Missed The Most Important Point

BY DAVID SNYDER — When a federal judge ordered President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to disclose in open court the fact that he considers Fox News host Sean Hannity a client, the Trump Era outrage-industrial complex shifted into high gear. Seeing evidence of some nefarious Deep State plot to embarrass Trump and his …

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The Tyranny of the Minority: A Post-Charlottesville Theory of the First Amendment

BY DAVID SNYDER—The framers of the U.S. Constitution understood the protections of the First Amendment to be a bulwark against the “tyranny of the majority” — a shield to protect those with unpopular views against oppression by a popularly elected majority. President Donald Trump has turned this concept on its head, at least in his …

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Memo to Future Historians of the Trump Presidency: Good Luck. You’ll Need It.

BY DAVID SNYDER —Tucked into a February 13 Washington Post article about internal chaos at the White House is a stunning sentence, slipped in almost as an aside: White House “[s]taffers, meanwhile, are so fearful of being accused of talking to the media that some have resorted to a secret chat app — Confide — …

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How Trump’s War on Free Speech Threatens the Republic

BY DAVID SNYDER—On May 17, while delivering a graduation speech to cadets at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, a scandal-plagued President Donald Trump took the opportunity to complain, yet again, about the news media. No leader in history, he said, has been treated as unfairly as he has been. Shortly thereafter, when …

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Gmail Nation: The Privatization of Public Records and Public Access

By DAVID SNYDER—The California Supreme Court ruled last month that records stored on government officials’ personal email accounts are subject to the California Public Records Act. This answer seems obvious: government officials should not be able to conceal otherwise public records by simply using Gmail. And yet the law has been surprisingly slow to recognize …

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Trump By The Numbers: The Best of (New York) Times and the Worst of (New York) Times

BY DAVID SNYDER–Journalism in the age of Trump, as told through some key numbers and a familiar Dickensian device: Story #1 (the best of times) –In the last quarter of 2016, the New York Times had 276,000 new digital subscriptions, the largest three-month jump in six years, and in February the Times exceeded three million …

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