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Debate Comparison

Protecting Hateful Speech

Some Americans responded to 9/11 with suggestions that the attacks came from within; others wanted those opinions silenced. As in 1927 and 2014, the public debated the balance between trumpeting sex, scandal and sin with protecting the community.

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  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • Supreme Court
  • 9-12
  • College/University

You're Exploring Freedom of Expression

Is hate speech protected?

Near v MN teaser

1927: Publishers Test Right to Print Scandalous Stories

After being shut down for publishing sensational, tabloid-style stories in their Minnesota newspaper, the publishers sue for infringement of freedom of the press.


2014: Westboro Baptist Church

When a church group publicly blames deaths and catastrophes on America's sexual immorality, the country and courts debate First Amendment limits for offensive speech.

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