Category Archives: The Media

Interviewed by Slate

I’m quoted a bit in Slate’s Florida almost certainly did not accidentally outlaw computers, which is the contrarian reaction to a bunch of stories yesterday. Katy Waldman sets the scene like this,

Back the truck up, compadres. Florida did not just inadvertently outlaw the 21st century. The Internet lit up Wednesday with reports of a new lawsuit claiming that, in its efforts to crack down on illegal gambling, the state had banned all computers, smartphones, or other devices capable of connecting to the Web. What happened: In April, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill making illegal slot machines, which the bill defined (in admittedly billowy terms) as “any machine or device or system or network of devices” that requires “an account number, code, or other object or information” to play “games of chance or skill.”

I’m quoted accurately, and I stand by what I said about why two different canons of construction suggest the courts would read the statute narrowly… but Ms. Waldman did leave out the bit where I also said that “the statute is in fact drafted broadly and sloppily, so the suit is not frivolous.”

Update: a fuller version of what I said is at Suit: Internet cafe law also bans computers in the Tampa Bay Tribune.

Posted in Florida, Law: Free Speech, The Media | Leave a comment

Mary Anne Franks Profiled in Ocean Drive

Mary Anne FranksMy colleague Mary Anne Franks is the subject of an unusual (for a law professor) profile in the current issue of Ocean Drive magazine. For those unfamiliar with Ocean Drive, it is a big thick glossy thing aimed squarely at the handmaidens of the plutocracy. The magazine celebrates Miami’s (and especially Miami Beach’s) moneyed party-goers, and is stuffed with ads for wildly expensive clothing and jewelery. In between the ads there are little articles about photogenic local celebutantes and charity party-goers. As far as I know, in 20 years in Miami I have never attended an event covered by Ocean Drive, but then again I’m hardly a regular reader. The thing does appear in the mail at my house — I’m guessing I got on their mailing list by subscribing to the Economist, which says something about either the Economist or Ocean Drive‘s demographic assumptions.

Anyway, Mary Anne is not Ocean Drive‘s covergirl — that’s a Bond girl — but she is the background for the table of contents, which must be the next best thing, and the subject of a writeup that begins, “Mary Anne Franks could shatter your kneecap if she wanted to” and goes on to discuss her expertise in Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art; it also touches on her expertise as a feminist legal thinker.

Before joining the Miami Law faculty, Mary Anne Franks was a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2007. She received her D.Phil in 2004 and her M.Phil in 2001 from Oxford University, where she studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. Mary Anne’s latest article is How to Feel Like a Woman, or, Why Punishment Is a Drag, which is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review.

Posted in The Media, U.Miami | Leave a comment

Couldn’t Resist

A request for a correction in The New York Times:

Article Headline: Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide

Date Published: 4/21/13, Print (National Edition, p. A1)

Phrase in Question: “As president, he rarely had a chance to rest….”

Your Concern (please limit to 300 words):

In the page A10 continuation of the front-page article in today’s paper by Peter Baker, “Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide”, Mr. Baker writes,

“As president, he [Bush] rarely had a chance to rest….”

In fact, George W. Bush spent 32 months at his ranch (490 days) or Camp David (487 days) — an average of four months away every year, according the the Washington Post’s POTUS tracker (as cited at

I understand Presidents sometimes take their work with them when they travel, but I submit that there were plenty of chances to rest in those 977 days.

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Exxon Claims It Doesn’t Hate Children

Exxon hated this video by Exxon Hates Your Children so much that Exxon threatened “legal action” against TV stations in Arkansas who had planned to run it as a paid ad.

Even assuming that the ad is wrong, and Exxon doesn’t hate our children, what would the nature of the claim be? I thought almost no states permitted claims alleging a corporation was libeled?

Update: Crude censorship on Arkansas oil spill story

Posted in The Media | 3 Comments

When Poverty Isn’t News

My brother’s Neiman Reports article It Can’t Happen Here: Why is there so little coverage of Americans who are struggling with poverty? throws down the gauntlet:

Nearly 50 million people—about one in six Americans—live in poverty, defined as income below $23,021 a year for a family of four. And yet most news organizations largely ignore the issue. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indexed stories in 52 major mainstream news outlets from 2007 through the first half of 2012 and, according to Mark Jurkowitz, the project’s associate director, “in no year did poverty coverage even come close to accounting for as little as one percent of the news hole. It’s fair to say that when you look at that particular topic, it’s negligible.”

This clearly has intrigued NYT Public Editor Margaret Sullivan who writes A New Focus on Poverty Raises a Question About Times Coverage. And the NY Times is surely better than many on this issue.

Posted in Dan Froomkin, The Media | 5 Comments

Talk Radio is as Real and Honest as Professional Wrestling?

Continuing today’s theme of me discovering things everyone else already knows, I just learned that there’s an entire industry devoted to providing actors to be fake call-in guests to talk radio shows. If I read Daily Kos more regularly, I would have learned this back in July.

Of course, just because some programs do it, doesn’t mean all do, or even that any given one does it. But enough do it to support a business model providing the fake callers.

Posted in The Media | 6 Comments

This Is Good

The five states of grief in the Fox News universe cartoon by Nick Anderson.

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