TRI in the News


Focus on the First Amendment



March 26, 2018

Original Article Available Here

This week on The Score we focus on the state of free expression in the United States and ask, does the First Amendment still protect our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly?

This past Tuesday in Charlottesville, the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties group headed by John Whitehead, hosted an informal round table for local journalists. Covering the event for Bearing Drift, I asked a question — “How can we maintain a culture of civil discourse in an era of political tribalism? — that resulted in a six-minute reply from Whitehead and Nadine Strossen, now a professor at New York Law School and the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Afterwards, I interviewed both Strossen and Whitehead individually. While I asked both of them about the state of the First Amendment and free expression today, I also asked Whitehead about his reaction to the events of last August 12 in Charlottesville, when neo-Nazis and counterprotesters clashed and turned the city’s name into a hashtag.

(A video of the round table discussion with journalists can be watched on YouTube.)

That same day, Simon & Schuster published a new book, The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s, written by University of Virginia historian William Hitchcock. On Thursday morning, I met with Dr. Hitchcock at his office at the Miller Center for Public Affairs and asked him questions about Ike, starting with this: “What would President Eisenhower — or General Eisenhower — think about President Trump’s plans for a big military parade later this year?” (Hitchcock also participated in a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book with two other historians. You can see it here.)

Finally, in anticipation of next week’s episode of The Score, which will consist almost entirely of interviews with authors who spoke at the 2018 Virginia Festival of the Book, we get a jump-start with a conversation with prolific author, goat rancher, and advocate for industrial hemp farming, Doug Fine. (Watch his VaBook panel here.)