"The dominant purpose of the First Amendment
was to prohibit the widespread practice
of government suppression of embarrassing information."
Justice William O. Douglas
(1898-1980), U. S. Supreme Court Justice
New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Ben, Orem, UT      
Let's see now, nobody in the White House seemed to know anything about Air force One flying low over New York City. Tell me why Janet and "O" had no idea where Air Force One was , and why it was needed in a photo op. Can this bunch find there way to work without help.
 -- jim k, austin     
    Embarrassing information...you mean like selling out to corporate and private banking interests? Representing them instead of the people? No wait! That's criminal information...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 1
    An extremely good purpose.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
    The Pentagon Papers contained sensitive and national security related information.the release of which was a great detriment to this country' s image. Much was grist in the propaganda mill used by foreign countries to denigrate the overseas policies of the United States. I doubt the Foundling Fathers intended the First to jeopardize this country's security. .
     -- Edward R. Ettner, Mason Neck     
  • 1
    Edward, why does an independent sovereign republic need "overseas policies"? Maybe the country became insecure (made enemies) as a result of these policies? Just a thought.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 2
    And the dominant purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to protect the 1st Amendment and all the rest, too! The 1st Amendment is the right to be a fool ;-) and acknowledges that there is no way to legislate away foolishness, so the Congress is prohibited from doing so (as they are as foolish as the rest of us). Talk, talk, talk -- but today, if you act, then you have crossed the line... The same people that own the media own the government, too, and propaganda in America is alive and thriving.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 2
    It is the media's job-nay, duty- to expose those embarrassments. Unfortunately, the majority of our media have decided to abandon that duty by failing to remain "objective". Yet there is still enough conscientious media that those embarrassments do eventually leak out, thanks to that marvelous first amendment. And to J. Carlton, we aren't in this world alone. We must choose those countries with whom we will work and those against whom we will work, based on the best interests of our own country. Nothing we could do would make everyone in the world love us. To believe otherwise is naive. Isolation is no protection-they know we're here.
     -- empty pockets, Albuquerque     
  • 3
    Our Founders were very well educated men of action and geniuses.

    Thank you Founders. Now, pray that we can keep our freedom.
     -- bruski, Naples FL     
  • 3
    Unfortunately the Founders did not envision the unmitigated arrogance, and educational turpitude of today's media class. The death of common sense and the overabundance of attorneys in our republic has perverted this amendment like some of the others.
     -- Henry Rearden, Burr Ridge IL     
  • 2
    The quote itself, a true statement. As for an Appointed Justice by FDR, Justice Douglas, a far left ( socialist ) with tendencies toward communism and perversion. Edward R. is on point with only one star, well noted decent, Rightfully so. With the ongoing rise of socialist infiltration in the ranks of leadership, no wonder Douglas would be demanding of the Pentagon. Douglas siding with the ACLU, promoting progressive social immoral behavior among the citizenry of the United States. Justice Clarence Thomas sentiments are valued observations of Douglas's underlying intent to pervert and subvert the Constitution.
     -- Ronw13, Oregon     
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