Columnist Janet Storm’s column absolving East Carolina University of wrongdoing in the firing of its journalism adviser (“Freedom isn’t always free,” Jan. 22) fundamentally misstates how the First Amendment works.
Storm contends that there is no First Amendment problem with firing Isom over his students’ decision to publish a “streaker” photo, because the photo itself was not withheld from the paper.
By this logic, it would be legitimate for North Carolina to enact a law saying, “Any newspaper editor who publishes material the government deems ‘offensive’ will be jailed for 30 days.” Would the editors of the Reflector say, “Ah well, no First Amendment problem there. We can publish anything we want. We just have to pay the price afterward.”
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