What obstacles stand in the way of America’s disinformation problems (when compared to European democracies)?

Report #2: Freedom of Speech and Expression

Before beginning this assignment, make certain that you have read Chapter 4 in your text (“Civil Liberties and Public Policy”) and the New York Times Magazine article by Emily Bazelon (October 13, 2020) titled, “The Problem of Free Speech in the Age of Disinformation” (link provided below). Then write a brief report that contains three separate sections that address all the points in each set of questions. Notice the expected word count for each section (exceeding the word count will not negatively affect your grade, but please try to stay within the range).

1. Using the chapter on “Civil Liberties and Public Policy” from your text, summarize the types of free

speech and expression that are protected by the First Amendment and indicate what types are not

protected (give examples of each). Also, indicate how the Supreme Court has ruled on issues of

“compelled speech” and “commercial speech.” (approximately 150-200 words)


2. The author of “The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation” indicates that distortions

of truth and waves of speech from extremists are a threat to democracy in the United States. She

notes that some scholars believe that Americans’ way of thinking about free speech may not be the

best way. From your reading of this article, how has the United States historically dealt with free

speech issues, particularly of speech that is controversial or extreme? How has this approach shown

to be problematic (in the eyes of some) given the changes in the media landscape? Be sure to

describe some examples of specific problems that have arisen. (approximately 150-200 words)


3. According to the author of “The Problem of Free Speech in an Age of Disinformation,” what

solutions to these problems have social media companies implemented and how effective have these

efforts been? What obstacles stand in the way of America’s disinformation problems (when

compared to European democracies)? What possible government regulations could be

implemented? (approximately 150-200 words)

Be careful not to plagiarize. If you want to quote directly, do so using quotation marks (giving the page number if available). But try to do this sparingly and simply use your own words in addressing the questions. In your writing, use an analytical tone that is free of your personal opinions. In other words, try to answer the questions in a straightforward and objective manner. When you are done, save the document as a Word file or as an Adobe PDF file (it cannot be Google docs, etc.) and upload it through Moodle (these parts are very important!). Papers not uploaded by the deadline will receive a grade penalty. WARNING: This is an individual assignment and you are to do your own work. Use of another person’s words without proper citation or copying from another student’s paper is considered plagiarism. All papers are checked and retained in a plagiarism software program to identify cheating. Any suspicion of plagiarism or other violations of the university’s academic conduct policies are turned over to the Dean of Students. Link to the article: New York Times Magazine: “The Problem of Free Speech in the Age of Disinformation”

NOTE: If you experience difficulty accessing the article through the link provided (the New York Times Magazine limits your number of free downloads

per month), you can access the article for no charge through the LSU Library. After logging on to MyLSU go the LSU Library’s main web page (LSU

Libraries) and search for the publication (New York Times Magazine). From there search for the article’s title (“The Problem of Free Speech in the Age

of Disinformation”). If you have difficulty, reach out to the library’s reference desk (LSU Library Virtual Help Desk – AskUs!) and they can walk you

through the steps to download the article for free.