ERIC Number: ED224050
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-May
Reference Count: N/A
"The Progressive," the Bomb and the Papers. Journalism Monographs Number Seventy-Six.
Swain, Bruce M.
In the "United States v. the 'Progressive'," the United States government took a small left-wing magazine to court to prevent publication of an article on how a hydrogen bomb works. Amidst great controversy over what the article described and what data were secret and what were not, a federal judge granted an injunction against the "Progressive." The appeal of the injunction was set to be an important First Amendment test, but with similar articles appearing everywhere, the government decided to give up its case. The lack of a clear cut ruling did not please the editors of the "Progressive" or settle the fundamental disputes involved. Initial press coverage of the controversy depended on two distinct, opposing versions of the article, the government's and the "Progressive's." Some perceptive reporting did cover how the government had obtained the piece in the first place, and the issue of nuclear proliferation was given most careful coverage. Editorial reaction in 14 influential newspapers, including the "New York Times,""Washington Post," and "Chicago Tribune," was not unanimously in favor of the "Progressive's" position. After the injunction, however, most papers moved to the "Progressive's" side, citing concern for the fate of the First Amendment. In all, 40 journalism organizations or publications supported the magazine's appeal. Unfortunately, the lack of a final court decision leaves the press in an uncertain position regarding its First Amendment rights. (JL)
Descriptors: Censorship, Court Litigation, Freedom of Speech, Journalism, News Reporting, Newspapers, Nuclear Technology, Nuclear Weapons, Periodicals, Press Opinion
Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Journalism, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208 ($5.00).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: First Amendment