Freedom of the Press:Ideas and ideals Race, Gender and The News (Part 1 of 2) Kim Pearson
Without the principle of free speech… There would be no conversation about diversity in news reporting. Why? An unlikely principle: Heterogeneity is the nature of empire All modern nations are the result of conquest Many would agree with the late Chief Justice Rehnquist, who said in his 1952 defense of school segregation that a minority only has the rights that the majority is willing to grant. So…
Why do we have freedom of the press? …and what’s that got to do with Milton? …and what’s that got to do with Newkirk? …and why does any of this matter now – especially if it won’t be on a test?
The Cliff Notes’ answers: Because of the assumptions about human nature that emerged from the Enlightenment Because of the assumptions about human nature that emerged from the Enlightenment Because of the assumptions about human nature that emerged from the Enlightenment This is why you can’t substitute Cliff Notes for the book!
Okay…I guess you want to tell me about the Enlightenment Let’s go back – to Europe: 15th -18th centuries Major economic and political shifts Feudalism mercantilism Emergence of Protestant sects Lutherans (Germany) Church of England (Headed by the King) Puritans (which included John Milton) Quakers Monarchs, clerics, merchants battle for power Technological change: big ships and printing presses
Before the storm The Church controlled knowledge – believed founded by Christ Kings ruled by “Divine Right” -- needed Church’s help to govern Priests taught people to obey the King Most people could not read, so needed priests to read and interpret for them So, Church authorities had lots of political power
Justifying the faith St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): Argued that faith can be strengthened through observation and reason Influenced by ancient Greek texts that became available through Muslim scholars, traders, especially Aristotle [Aristotle’s influence also influenced elements of Aquinas’ theology, such as views on gender.] Source:http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aquinas
Faith+Reason=Heterodoxy? Rabelais: questioned Church authority Galileo Galilei: In the 1630s, he excommunicated for saying that the earth spins on its axis around the sun. This was considered a contradiction of Scripture.
Rumblings among the faithful Columbian encounter contradicted Church’s interpretation of Noah’s Ark Gutenberg’s invention made Bible available in language other than Latin. Luther, others disenchanted with priests’ abuses of power; “95 Theses” Calvin, in Switzerland, argues for predestination, against Church iconography
Church, state and politics Henry VIII breaks away, kills clerics and other dissenters Elizabeth I punishes Catholics James I treads lines between Puritans, Quakers, Anglicans and Catholics Does not prevent English Revolution of 1648, rise and fall of Cromwell English bourgeoisie revolts
Key conflicts Government by Parliament v. King Conflicting religious justifications Secular arguments emerging Effort to integrate other groups into social hierarchy – culturally and politically
This is context for Milton’s work Milton was an initial supporter of Cromwell Aeropagitica (1644) protested licensing of printed matter by the crown. Argued that people should be allowed to decide what to read for themselves. Assumes that public is as capable of sorting good ideas from bad as the elites are. Later writers would build on this to lay foundation for First Amendment.
But Milton wasn’t a democrat Hostile to members of other Christian groups Neither was Cromwell, who repressed the Irish and the Scots We will see this as a pattern