Monday, December 18, 2017

Has Ashley Judd Gone Hollywood On Us?

I have admired Ashley Judd for years...not because she is from Kentucky, or a UK grad, or a BBN supporter, not even for her good looks and acting talent, but because she came from modest circumstances and has truly made something of herself, while giving back to her home, her country—and even on the international level where she is a activist working to end AIDS and human trafficking for various UN and other agencies.
So, it came as something of a shock when she spoke recently at UK and barred radio & tv stations from covering her address. To my knowledge she had never imposed such a ban in her several previous talks at UK. Why would she now impose such a ban, and why would UK even agree to it???
Several weeks of digging leave me very unsatisfied...but UK says its PR people received this request from her representatives, not Judd herself. Surprisingly, for people in the media relations business, they didn’t ask why? So we don’t know why someone whose career has been promoted by all the media, both at home in Kentucky and around the world, would try to cut out some of the media, especially TV, from covering an important step in her career.
Even more, why would UK agree to such a ban? It can’t help its relations with local media, and, IMHO, it is probably illegal. I have some memories, which at my age should be treated carefully, that there are some court cases that say a PUBLIC institution may not bar any of the media from covering a PUBLIC event, which this was, without violating the First Amendment.  I have been googling this,  but so far haven’t come up with anything definitive.
Private schools may be different, so are private individuals...but she is not. She is a “public person” as the courts have defined in previous cases.
So I am left I am on other points-- why would UK say it would go along? I think it needs to answer this to Kentuckians, and to local media. Why would Ashley Judd even ask for it? I think she, not her representatives, need to answer this question also.
Even more, why have local media not protested? That includes the Herald-Leader, which as students were, was allowed to record her talk “for note taking purposes only.” What’s the difference from that (which print reporters learned long ago---from broadcasters---was important for getting a better and more accurate story) and letting radio reporters actually cover her talk?   BTW, the H-L has a “news partner,” a local TV station, so why not object and uphold the First Amendment? The silence from local media is deafening it has been from the local chapter of the SPJ—the Society of Professional Journalists. Maybe they don’t think her one fall from grace is important. Time magazine would disagree; it named her as one of its “persons” of the year for her work in bringing out sexual harassment claims, and bringing down a group of alleged perpetrators.
Once anyone gets away with such bans, which I do believe violates the First Amendment, other violations become that much easier—and we are all the losers here.  Let’s hope, on her next visit to UK, she has a better view of our history—as she works to improve America, and the world.
And let’s hope all the local media live up to their responsibilities to that First Amendment as well.
I'm just sayin'...

Sunday, December 10, 2017


We know the President is a tweeter—his campaign tweets changed the course of US politics, and he continued tweeting as our Chief Executive; many of them at odds with what he tweeted during the campaign. Was that (1) inconsistency (2) change of mind (3) typical politician’s breaking promises, or (4) something else?
But thru all of this, Mr. Trump maintained the tweets were his own. Indeed his # (hashtag) “REALDonaldTrump" emphasized and reinforced this. Reporters questioning White House officials were assured all these bearing that hashtag were from the President, even though some appeared rather outlandish to many of us.
Now, we have been told otherwise.
Which raises more questions about our President.
It seems one such tweet was actually written by Mr. Trump’s lawyer instead; though it was put out as coming from #REALDonaldTrump.  It was an attempt to get the President off the hook in a probe Congress and the Special Prosecutor are conducting into possible Russian meddling in our elections.
While this admission didn’t get much media attention recently, I think it’s very significant, and so do some federal courts.  One hearing into his travel ban on majority Muslim countries has caused his administration big trouble. Trump maintains in court that his ban is not religiously oriented, but an attempt to ban people from “terrorist nations” from coming here and threatening our security. (Despite the fact that no terrorist plots in the US have come from people from most of these nations.)
But Mr. Trumps tweets say otherwise, and this has been cited in court. A majority of the 4th US Circuit court cited his tweets about Muslims as indicating the ban’s real motives were religiously based, and that would mean a possible violation of the First Amendment; and an end to the bans, unless the Supreme Court decided otherwise.
So his tweets have gotten the President in trouble, BUT suppose the offending tweets were NOT written by him (as he claims) but by someone else in the White house, as his lawyer has claimed already in another case???
Who can we poor citizens believe?: a President who has been a model of inconsistency, saying one thing on the campaign trail and the opposite in office?? OR his lawyer, or some other White house official, whose job it is to make the Boss look good???
More importantly, can we now take any tweet coming from #RealDonaldTrump ever again as coming from our President?
“Fake News” has been succeeded by “Fake Tweets.”
I'm just sayin'...