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Oklahoma State University

First Amendment insufficient for free press?

Fri, September 15, 2017

A historian of American politics and culture, Dr. Sam Lebovic with George Mason University, will argue the First Amendment right to free speech is insufficient to guarantee a free press in the U.S. His lecture, in honor of Constitution Day at Oklahoma State University, is set for Monday, Sept. 18, at 3:30 p.m. in the Peggy V. Helmerich Browsing Room, Edmon Low Library. The lecture is free and open to the public and will be carried live online.

Lebovic will share his insight on the strengths and limits of the First Amendment, he will also discuss the effects these factors have on consumers of news and media in the United States, explains Dr. David Oberhelman, W.P. Wood Professor of Library Services and coordinator the Constitution Day event.

“Dr. Lebovic is an expert in constitutional history with extensive knowledge of what legally establishes freedom of speech and press,” Oberhelman said. “His topics are very relevant to many students and a great opportunity to learn about our democracy at work.”

Lebovic’s new book, “Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America,” published by Harvard Press, explores problems ranging from the rise of state secrecy to the corporate consolidation of the newspaper industry. He uses the history of press freedom to ask new questions about the role of the press in American democracy, and to better explain the crises that beset today’s press during the “war on whistleblowers” and the ongoing death of the daily newspaper.

The Society of Legal History has awarded Lebovic the Paul Murphy Prize in the History of Civil Liberties to honor the book and the Organization of American Historians recognized it with the group’s Ellis W. Hawley Prize for the best book on the history of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the U.S. from the Civil War to the present.

In addition to sharing his insights during the lecture, Lebovic will field questions from the audience.  

OSU’s Constitution Day is dedicated to those involved in the planning and signing of the Constitution. The OSU Library hosts an event each year to recognize the Constitution’s importance, as well as its lasting impact on America.

The Constitution Day event will also be broadcast live at www.ostate.tv. For more information visit library.okstate.edu/constitution or call 405-744-7331.

By Teryn Moorman