As I have previously stated, I am not interested in earning a degree in journalism. I am strictly focused on earning my MSW in social work, but I have been thinking about possibly entering law school after completing my undergraduate/masters education. So, when we learned about journalism and the law in class a couple of weeks ago, I was really interested.
The First Amendment was brought up and how far this amendment can or cannot go to protect people. Helen Thomas, a renowned journalist and dean of the White House corps was accused of making anti-semetic comments in an interview. I do not believe that Helen Thomas was intending to be disrespectful and I feel that the First Amendment did not exactly help her out in this situation. Her right to free speech was not protected and in return for making one simple comment, she lost her most prized possession…her career. Ethics kind of got in the way in this particular case. Yes, the First Amendment was created to protect American’s freedom, but isn’t the beauty of freedom the fact that we can say or do whatever we so choose to do as long as it is legal?
People were concerned that all Jews would be offended by what Helen Thomas said and as a result, people decided that the “right thing to do” would be to strip Thomas of her title. Many felt it was necessary and many felt it was taken to an extreme. Law and ethics are important factors in journalism and because of this no matter what anyone says or does, someone will not approve. It’s simply a fact of life. I guess society will just always have to settle with having the majority of society content, regardless of how it may affect one person.