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Chapter 2

MMC 4200 Chapter 2: Chapter 2- First Amendment

Mass Media Communication
Course Code
MMC 4200
Colin Kearney

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Chapter 2: First Amendment
Seven First Amendment Theories
o Absolutist Theory government cannot censor the press for any reason. No
o Ad hoc balancing theory the Court has the responsibility to balance the freedom
of expression with other values
Produces a “chilling effect” on speech by making it unknown whether it
will be protected or not
o Preferred Position balancing theory freedom of expression has a preferred
position but not absolute
This presumes that government action that limits freedom of expression is
usually unconstitutional, which forces the government to bear the burden
of proof
o Meiklejohnian theory offers a hierarchal approach, with political speech placed
at the top
He believed that freedom of expression is meant to provide for successful
self-government, thus any speech relating to this must be completely
Speech not related to self-government is not guaranteed protection
o Marketplace of ideas theory competition in the marketplace of ideas is how
truth gets found
Justice Holmes supported this
Critics argue that hate speech shouldn’t be in the marketplace and that
some people (and conglomerates) have more access to the marketplace
than others, which inherently goes against the marketplace idea
o Access theory can be viewed as a remedy to correct the access issues involved
in the marketplace theory
Everyone should have equal access so media companies should include
their audiences and if they won’t, the government should force access
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