Americans less supportive of 1st amendment.
July 8, 2001 2:20 AM   Subscribe

Americans less supportive of 1st amendment. Roughly four in 10 people (41%) said the media have too much freedom. Four in 10 respondents (39%) believed the First Amendment goes too far in guaranteeing rights. 71% said it was "very" or "somewhat" important for the government to hold the media in check.
posted by frednorman (16 comments total)
The press certainly prints an awful lot of articles about what the press should be able to do.
posted by pracowity at 4:11 AM on July 8, 2001

This makes me wonder how much anyone answering these survey questions understands what is being asked. And they all think they know what is best for others.
posted by tranquileye at 7:02 AM on July 8, 2001

It's probably people like this that are answering this question. (ref)
posted by benjh at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2001

The average American is an idiot. If that seems unbelievable, first realize that you don't know an average American. An average American has never used the Internet (+50% currently).
posted by fleener at 9:29 AM on July 8, 2001

first realize that you don't know an average American...

Alas, while we often may not know this average American personally, we know him through his works every day, as half the posts on MF seem intended to remind us...
posted by rushmc at 9:39 AM on July 8, 2001

Once again, Americans know very little.
posted by 4midori at 9:44 AM on July 8, 2001

There's a story told by one of the more prominent people associated with the whole Bob Dobbs church of the subgenius deal. We'll call it a myth, but in the academic sense, meaning that it's useful to explain things whether or not it's true.

One day the guy is on an elevator, and there is one other guy in there along with him. He recognizes the other guy. He's a poorly regarded science fiction writer prone to self-aggrandizing statements who's managed to kick off something of a, well, let's be charitable and call it a movement.


So the first guy turns to him and asks "Ron, how did you do it? How do you get everybody to buy into your BS?"

Ron was apparently in a magnanimous mood, because he told him. And what he told him is absolutely, mathematically, provably and incontrovertably true:

"You know how smart the average person is, right? Well, half of them are dumber than that."
posted by NortonDC at 9:57 AM on July 8, 2001

the question is not does the 'media' have too much rights (they don't) but does the media need to use their 'rights' more responsibly.

I'm not advocating censorship but I think that the 'media' should focus on real news rather than selling their product.

Most papers have a target of x number of pages or x number of minutes, and they'll serve up anything in the name of news on slow news days to meet that target.
posted by DBAPaul at 10:16 AM on July 8, 2001

Ya know, what I sarcastically said a few posts back, I now say with total sincerity.
posted by dong_resin at 10:17 AM on July 8, 2001

The Freedom Forum reported on a poll like this a while ago that said nearly half of Americans believe that Freedom of Speech needs to be reined in. I find it hard to believe that the American people are that "dumb", but it's not at all hard to believe that half of Americans are ignorant of what life is like in nations without such social liberties.

International Affairs and Logic are two areas where Americans fail to prosper, unfortunately. I'm pretty sure I know very few people who could tell me who Tony Blair is, let alone Ian Paisley, Gehrard Schroeder or Jiang Zemin. The number of people who are familiar with the arguments of Paine, a cornerstone of our nation, are quite limited.

This is a major problem. I'm not sure I know a solution.
posted by Kevs at 10:59 AM on July 8, 2001

What we need is more faith-based media initiatives
posted by matteo at 11:21 AM on July 8, 2001

Education reform, a k-6 curriculum based on math, science, and early American history. Let people learn about other interests in HS and College.
posted by Mick at 1:32 PM on July 8, 2001

and literature, I left that out.
posted by Mick at 1:33 PM on July 8, 2001

Those idiots are in desperate need of a dope slap.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:45 PM on July 8, 2001

The "problem" we have (and I've seen it here on Mefi) is that when people are confronted with speech that is offensive to them personally, they tend to believe it shouldn't be allowed. And some of it is understandable. For blacks, it's the KKK. For homosexuals, probably Eminem. For the bible belt, it's the porners in LA.

The beauty of the first amendment is that it protects even the wackiest of speech and no opinion poll is gonna rescind it any time soon.
posted by owillis at 5:39 PM on July 8, 2001

"For homosexuals, probably Eminem."

I don't know what to think of him...he says he has nothing against homosexuals, but his lyrics don't agree. Then again, his lyrics offend all sorts of people, so I leave him alone. Heck, I even like some of his songs.

And at a Korn concert, I was jumping around to Faget (which actually isn't bashing gays, but everyone thinks it is) with with everyone else.

Sometimes, ya just gotta let go.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:31 PM on July 8, 2001

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