A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Archive for July, 2011

The Wall Street Journal’s First Amendment Hypocrisy

wall-street-journal-logo

By Trevor Timm

Late last night, The Wall Street Journal published a flailing, desperate editorial, attempting to tamp down the hacking scandal that has engulfed its owner Rupert Murdoch for the past two weeks. In a classic case of blame deflection, the paper took shots at several news organizations on both sides of the Atlantic that are not owned by News Corporation. But lost in the mire of attempted score settling and self-pity is the paper’s incredible stance on WikiLeaks and the First Amendment, which reeks of hypocrisy, and should not be left without a response.

The editorial, of course, does not dispute any of the facts in the hacking scandal investigation, which has been spearheaded by The Guardian and its intrepid reporter, Nick Davies. Instead, the Journal questions what’s driving The Guardian and its ilk, and then declares anything The Guardian has to say about journalistic ethics is null and void because it published, or partnered with others who published, documents leaked to WikiLeaks.

We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur.

This argument would also, of course, discount other papers’ comments on “journalistic standards,” including the Washington Post and the New York Times. (more…)

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We’re Off to See the Wizard; Will We Recognize Him?

wizardoz

By LASIS Staff
In an article last March, contributor Sarah Berent wrote about the likelihood that new film versions of The Wizard of Oz (there are nine of ‘em in the pipeline) will have to steer clear of the copyrighted material in the classic 1939 film.

We predicted that this was likely; we were right.

See this Eighth Circuit ruling on a related matter.

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Raging Bitch Beer Won’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Ragin Bitch Belgian-Style IPA

Ragin Bitch Belgian-Style IPA

 

In March of this year, LASIS contributor Dawn Mikulastik reported on the Michigan Liquor Control Commission’s decision to ban the sale of Flying Dog Brewery’s Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA in the state, because it deemed the beer’s name and label “detrimental to the health, safety, or welfare of the general public.” The beer maker sued, claiming the ban violated its First Amendment rights, and sought a preliminary injunction to lift the ban while the case was pending.

Apparently the Commission agreed with our assessment that the brewery’s claim had teeth, because it reversed its decision to ban the beer on June 28 – just three weeks after the first hearing took place in federal court and before the injunction had even been ruled on.

 

 

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