In a survey released today by the Newseum Institute, 34% of Americans say the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, up from 13% in last year’s survey. This is the largest single-year increase in the history of the State of the First Amendment national survey.
The Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center-sponsored survey has been conducted since 1997 to determine public knowledge and opinion about the First Amendment and related issues. The results were released today by First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson and Newseum Institute Chief Operating Officer Gene Policinski at a luncheon for high school students attending the 2013 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference.
“It’s unsettling to see a third of Americans view the First Amendment as providing too much liberty,” said Paulson, who also is the dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. “This underscores the need for more First Amendment education. If we truly understand the essential role of these freedoms in a democracy, we’re more likely to protect them,” Paulson said.