Rather than uphold their rights both to unionize and to speak out against bad editorial practices, the federal court instead said their dismissals were protected by the publisher's First Amendment Rights to print whatever she wanted.If a business employs people to do the work of writing, it gets to direct the work it's paying for. How could it be any other way? I'm only talking about the law — the extent to which courts should interfere. Obviously, there's endless room to criticize newspaper owners who demand biased or bad journalism. That's more speech in the speech marketplace.
The dispute began in 2006, when nearly all the top journalists and editors at the Santa Barbara News-Press quit because the paper's owner and publisher Wendy McCaw was interfering in the editorial content.
"The First Amendment affords a publisher - not a reporter - absolute authority to shape a newspaper's content," Judge Stephen Williams wrote for a three-judge panel.Clearly! Nonsense.
As the Santa Barbara Independent notes, the court's judges are overwhelmingly conservative — a bias clearly reflected in this ruling.
CORRECTION: I'd mistakenly identified the court as the 9th Circuit. (The events took place in Santa Barbara.)