Maines: Media Losing First Amendment War


Patrick Maines, president of industry-backed First Amendment think tank, The Media Institute, has sent a letter to its trustees warning of a growing threat to the First Amendment and saying the media is losing the war on those freedoms being waged on several fronts.

Those trustees include representatives of Viacom, Time Warner, NBC Universal, and News Corp.

Maines is particularly concerned about attempts to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine, but identifies a number of fronts, including ad restrictions, political speech regulations, and “anti-consolidation strategies whose transparent motive is to affect the political content of news organizations.”

He says another problem is the parochialism of speech defenses. “Sitting over here in our little aerie in Arlington [VA], we sometimes get the impression that people think there are many First Amendments: one for political speech, one for citizens, one for commercial speech, one for entertainment, etc.,” he said. “The reality, of course, is that there’s only one First Amendment, and that if you weaken it anywhere, you weaken it everywhere.”

For a full text of the Maines' memo, see John Eggerton's "feature columnist" link on