A recently released study by the Cato Institute, showing American viewpoints regarding free speech, as reported by the Washington Examiner’s Red Alert Politics, drills down on a myriad of campus issues. The scientific poll surveyed more than 2,500 U.S. adults and depicts disturbing trends for college journalists.
Most Americans, 55 percent, believe the tradition of freedom of the press extends to campus journalists, saying college newspapers should not need approval from college administrators before printing controversial news stories and editorials. The same statistic, 55 percent, is true for current college and graduate students as well.
Surprisingly, this notion is held up across party lines. Fifty-six percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Republicans oppose requiring student papers get permission before printing controversial stories.
This viewpoint changes significantly, however, based on race. Nearly two-thirds of African Americans, 63 percent, and a majority of Hispanic Americans, 54 percent, think student publications should seek approval from administrators or advisers before printing controversial stories. In contrast, 61 percent of white Americans don’t think student papers should need approval.
The disenchantment with freedom of the press on campus is also reflected amongst females. While nearly two-thirds of men, 63 percent, do not believe controversial news stories in student papers need approval, just more than half, 51 percent, of women think they do need some sort of permission.
These statistics — such as, 55 percent of Americans believe the tradition of freedom of the press extends to campus journalists — show a disconnect from the abstract. The same study shows that two-thirds of Americans, 66 percent, believe colleges and universities aren’t doing enough to teach young Americans about the value of free speech.
The study also shows that Americans view student journalists in a somewhat different light than the national media.
“We found that 63 percent of Republicans agree that journalists are an enemy of the American people,” Ekins explained. “But at the same time, Republicans don’t think that government should try to regulate the biased media outlets.”
The Washington Examiner’s Red Alert Politics section will continue to report in depth on this comprehensive study.