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A related area in which the attitude of an administration toward the press may affect the latter’s ability to function as a check on government relates to the ability of journalists to protect the identity of their confidential sources.The Obama administration prosecuted more Espionage Act cases against sources of information to journalists than all prior administrations combined.Freedom of speech is being threatened in the United States by a nascent culture of hostility to different points of view.As political divisions in America have deepened, a conformist mentality of “right thinking” has spread across the country.Increasingly, American universities, where no intellectual doctrine ought to escape critical scrutiny, are some of the most restrictive domains when it comes to asking open-ended questions on subjects such as Islam. has avoided unpredictable Canadian-style restrictions on speech, for example.Legally, speech in the United States is protected to a degree unmatched in almost any industrialized country. I remain optimistic that as long as we have the First Amendment in the U.A new administration is free to change or limit them or, in fact, abandon them altogether.In this area, as in so many others, it is too early to judge the ultimate treatment of free expression by the Trump administration.
The harder question, though, is this: How real are the threats?S., any attempt at formal legal censorship will be vigorously challenged.Culturally, however, matters are very different in America.After a good deal of deserved press criticism, it agreed to expand the internal guidelines of the Department of Justice designed to limit the circumstances under which such source revelation is demanded.But the guidelines are none too protective and are, after all, simply guidelines.