A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: President Obama

Presidential Concern

Obama playing football

By Ryan Morrison

On January 16, President Barack Obama made it clear that if he had a son, he would have to think “long and hard” before he let Junior play football. This isn’t an attack on the sport, it’s our nation slowly coming to terms with just how dangerous and damaging the game can be to its players.

As a relatively new journalist, I often feel overwhelmed and helpless. There’s so much wrong that needs righting, so much news that need telling, and so much time and energy wasted in shock and awe because Beyonce-lipsyched-the-national-anthem.

So it is extraordinarily inspiring to realize that one journalist, Alan Schwarz of the New York Times, is responsible for effectuating change in a behemoth as powerful as the NFL. Starting with just basic math that no one took the time to check (or that they chose to ignore), Mr. Schwarz painstakingly analyzed the rate of brain injuries in ex-NFL players, versus the rate in the general population.  He wrote story after story.

And the stories led to Congressional hearings, NFL rule changes, and a reworking of our nation’s mindset as we opened our eyes to the true horror story that are concussions.

In this age of cost cutting at every (still extant) newspaper across the country, we’re fortunate to have amongst us dogged investigative reporters like Mr. Schwarz, and his employer, the New York Times.

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Advertisement or Commercial Exploitation of a U.S. President?

By Ted Wills

The White House has been busy in 2010 requesting the removal of President Obama’s image from advertisements. The NY Times and other news outlets have reported the story in detail, but many have painted the legal justification for these requests as falling in a constitutional gray area, and have suggested that the First Amendment might protect the purveyors of advertisements in question.

While journalists may have given this view credence to provide balance or a hint of drama to their articles, a more specific legal analysis suggests that President Obama would likely be successful in any litigation against the companies that sponsored the ads.

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