What they don’t know can hurt them

In a recent study, the largest ever of its kind, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation attempted to measure high school students’ understanding of the First Amendment and the free press. Among the more depressing results:

* More than a third (35%) said the First Amendment goes “too far” in the rights it guarantees.

* Close to a third (32%) think the press has too much freedom.

* Only half of students surveyed (51%) said newspapers should be allowed to publish stories without prior government approval.

Loosely extrapolating, we might conclude that close to half of America’s teens would be just as happy living in North Korea, Cuba, Iran or some other totalitarian state. No, they didn’t say so outright and probably would be aghast at the suggestion. “Dude, are you crazy? Give up MTV?”

What they don’t know can hurt them

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