Media and Dissent

The use of the media by dissenters to influence public debate has been viewed as essential for democratic governments since the founding of the United States. In wartime, however, internal dissent, particularly if reported to a mass audience, has often been linked to treason. Thus, the greatest challenges to press freedom have historically coincided with military conflicts and are usually justified in the name of national security. In the most general terms, dissent during wartime usually falls into two categories of opposition: focusing primarily on how a war is being conducted or opposing the conflict itself.

American Revolution

A dissenting press was vital during the American Revolution (1775–1783) in amassing popular support for a separation from Great Britain. The founding fathers understood this, and the First Amendment ...

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