How Well Do You Know the First Amendment? Savvy Tested at Poynter Anniversary Event
John Seigenthaler and Ken Paulson engaged a crowd of more than 150 students, educators and community members in a discussion centered on “raising the level of understanding and appreciation” of the First Amendment. Eugene Patterson, chairman emeritus of Poynter, was among those in attendance at the Nov. 4 event on the University of South Florida on the St. Petersburg campus.
During the event Paulson and Seigenthaler quizzed the audience on the intricacies of the First Amendment—which included a variety of misconceptions and legal challenges.
“We often lose sight of or lack a clear understanding of the First Amendment,” Seigenthaler said. “As Americans, we’ve exchanged power of the government for power of the people.”
Paulson echoed these sentiments as he stressed the importance of the First Amendment as the “core of who we are as a nation.”
“The true path to freedom in America is knowing what is true and what is not.” Paulson said.
The duo the highlighted the history of the First Amendment—citing that the story of Betsy Ross creating the American flag as an early example of a story going viral— while presenting its role in a modern context—emphasizing that the Communications Decency Act of 1997 guarantees the Internet is protected by the First Amendment.