The Washington Times-Herald


December 21, 2013

Two stories put focus on First Amendment


What people got upset with were the consequences of his First Amendment exercises. As an old professor used to say, “My rights end where your face begins.” The same logic holds true in the exercise of free speech. Whether one stands with Robertson or not, the network did not create any constitutional dilemma. Frankly, I think the upcoming season needs new life pumped into it. There’s only so many ways Willie and Si can look like fools, but I hope Phil comes back.

Of course, there was a third story in the press I omitted that also touched on the First Amendment, the issue raised by FOX News’ Megyn Kelly on whether Jesus and Santa Claus are white. I’m not touching that one. There’s too many ways I could end up on Santa’s naughty list if I went there.

Personal note: I write this column inspired by the memory of former professor Ronald Roat, who suddenly passed away in Michigan last month.

Professor Roat taught me and many journalism students at the University of Southern Indiana to respect the power of the written word and how to make it in a tough industry.

He loved discussing the state of journalism, along with being an accomplished teacher, writer, editor and mystery novelist. He was one of my mentors and my friend. He will be missed not only by myself, but an entire fraternity of journalists in southwestern Indiana and elsewhere.

Nate Smith discusses these stories, along with items he is working on and whatever pops in his head on his Twitter feed at @NateSmithWTH or on Facebook at Email him at



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