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ON THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

I spend a great deal of time reading what our founders actually had to say about liberty, and the proper role of government.  I do not read what historians tell me the founders thought, mostly because I have learned those historians do not know.  Instead, I like to read what the founders actually had to say about things.  It is how I came to understand that very, very few of us in our society agree with them on much of anything.  For example, I ask you to consider what Benjamin Franklin had to say about ‘Freedom of the Press,’ then think about what his words have to say about our media today:

“If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the law and shall chearfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself.”

–Benjamin Franklin, An Account of the Supremest Court of Judicature in Pennsylvania, viz. The Court of the Press, September 12, 1789

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