Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Catty "Bickering" about the Strossen/Filler Debate

Last night I attended the opening convocation at Drury University. This year's theme is "Liberty and Security in a Post-9-11 World." I chose it from two assignments offered at Springfield Citizen-Press, which is an experiment in citizen journalism started by Andrew (Andy) R. Cline, an assistant professor of journalism at Missouri State University. He edited and published my report: Filler, Strossen debate balance between security and liberty this evening at the Springfield Citizen-Press website. I had a great time with this experience and would encourage anyone interested in writing and learning about journalism and the ethics involved to take his challenge, go on an assignment offered at the site and enjoy what was for me an otherwise unavailable opportunity, to work with a journalism professor without paying tuition!!! ;o

Professor Cline has promised to give me some feedback tomorrow afternoon and I look forward to his constructive criticism.

Cline gave me a few hints on what to pay attention to at the debate last night and encouraged me to be non-partisan and report the story without bias. I gave it my best effort. Now, I can have a little relaxed fun about the event. :)

At least a couple of things really struck me at the debate.

During the question and answer session, Gene Davison, President of the Peace Network of the Ozarks singled out Mr. Filler with the question of whether the government had looked at his library records and if so, would he be able to tell him or would it be kept secret. Mr. Filler, naturally, couldn't say whether the government had looked at Mr. Davison's library records but as he went on to address the question in a broader sense, Mr. Davison stormed out of Clara Thompson Hall, slamming the door loudly behind him as he went. Some people in the crowd expressed surprise, craning their heads to see what had happened with shocked looks on their faces, I heard one girl exclaim, "he left before he got his answer!" He didn't even get to hear Nadine Strossen thank him for his activism in the community. There's just no pleasing some dissenters!

I am absolutely and completely a supporter of free speech and expression. I rather enjoy participating in it myself. That's what makes it ironic when someone like Strossen seems to contradict herself. First Strossen spoke about how important it is to have open debate and exchange of ideas and how she, and the ACLU, want to make sure that our country remains a beacon of freedom and liberty and then she quoted Tom Cain, and I didn't get all of the quote, but it was accusatory in tone about "bickering" (and when she said the word "bickering" she practically spit it into the microphone as though "bickering" was truly disgusting). My husband and I were talking about it after the debate and we decided that it must be freedom to dissent when she voices her opposition to the Bush administration but if anyone disagrees with her views and opinions it must be "bickering." Sigh.

Now, one more thing. While I was doing some background research on Nadine Strossen as requested by Professor Cline, I came across an excellent example of bias, check out this quote from a Reason magazine interview with Ms. Strossen:

Reason: What are your priorities as president of the ACLU?

Nadine Strossen: My priority is to be a prominent, visible spokesperson for civil liberties. Recent events have revealed that civil liberties are never going to be secure unless there is public understanding and support for them. The Supreme Court issues decisions that are protective of rights that are not supported by at least substantial minorities of the population. Politicians run against the Court, and you get something like the Reagan and Bush presidencies stacking the Court and seriously endangering some of our most fundamental rights.

I guess Republican Presidents STACK the Court and Democrat Presidents simply nominate Judges to them. Sigh number two.

Anyway, I hope it doesn't disappoint Professor Cline that I just had to get all this catty "bickering" out of my biased self. ;)

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