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Debate Comparison

Punishing the Press

After 9/11, the government promoted national unity and labeled as unpatriotic reporters who challenged its actions. From Lincoln to Ferguson, elected officials have had to balance supporting a free press and guarding against civil unrest.

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60-90 minutes
  • Civil War
  • Journalism
  • National Security
  • Politics
  • 7-12
  • College/University

You're Exploring Freedom of Expression

Can you punish the press?

This cartoon depicts Edwin Stanton as a Roman emperor, dressing him in a tunic and changing his signature to "Stantonius." An incensor is one who stirs up anger.

1864: Lincoln Administration Seizes Opposition Newspapers

When two anti-Lincoln newspapers publish a fake proclamation that makes the administration look bad, the secretary of war orders the newspapers closed.


2014: Press Coverage of Ferguson Protests

When Ferguson, Mo., erupts in violence after a police shooting, some journalists face harassment and arrest as they try to cover the breaking news story.

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