Have Americans always been so ignorant of their First Amendment rights or is this just a modern day phenomenon?
In a recent survey sent to us by the Kentucky Press Association only 14 percent of Americans were able to name Freedom of the Press as one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
It gets even more bewildering than that when the survey lists only 10 percent of Americans were able to name Freedom of Peaceable Assembly as one of the guaranteed freedoms.
It is even scary to think that only 15 percent of Americans were able to name Freedom of Religion as one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Maybe it is no worse today than it was years ago but the behavior of many Americans today helps us conclude that the surveys are pretty much on line with what many Americans know.
About half of the population know that we are guaranteed freedom of speech and more than half believe that racist views on social media should not be allowed.
Many Americans choose to lock on to a view point or two that is part of a political party’s selling points and question very little else.
One of those that has caused me to grit my teeth is some who group anybody associated with newspapers to label them as “Fake News.”
There is plenty of fake news out there but for the most part most newspaper people I have ever known report the news accurately and without opinion.
Newspapers do have the right to form opinions, like the one I am writing, but those opinions are confined to an editorial page, not in news reporting.
Freedom of the Press not only allows people to gather the news, but the media also acts as a watchdog with the capability to report on government wrong doings.
Just recently an NBA team owner used twitter to support the demonstraters in Hong Kong against China’s dictatorial policies. He has been chastised for costing the league money because China took action against the league and its players.
All NBA owners have been advised to keep silent on this issue. What price freedom?
As I followed the China story it emphasized how fortunate we are to have our freedoms and the ability to share them.
In today’s world we as Americans have to be careful as to what is fake and what is fact. For example, social media is full of fake news and some of the television networks reply more on opinion than fact.
Freedom of the press exposes ideas and opinions based on facts and credible sources to inform citizens.
However, the truth doesn’t always sit well with some people that are unwilling to accept the truth. To some truth and fact are secondary to political beliefs.
Locally we don’t have to deal with the attitudes some have developed toward the news media.
We strive at keeping you informed of local news, community events and the workings of our locals governments.
Although you may have never given it much thought, a local community newspaper like ours is very important in a free society.
Do you know your five freedoms?