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Monday, July 25, 2005

Wal-Mart Says No to The First Amendment
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Dateline Pensacola, Florida. A newspaper columnist with the Pensacola News Journal writes a column criticizing Wal-Mart for not providing health care for many of its workers, saying we taxpayers end up paying for those sick workers through state health programs. The columnist's editor gets a call from a Wal-Mart regional manager saying the News Journal has two choices -- fire the columnist or remove all of its newspaper boxes from all WalMart store lots. The editor chooses the latter, as he describes here, the columnist keeps his job, and the paper keeps its reputation.

This is hardly unprecedented. Steve Jobs didn't like how an autobiography by a Wiley & Sons author portrayed him, so he banned the sale of not only that book but all Wiley trade publications -- including Macs for Dummies -- from his Apple stores.

Wal-Mart and Apple both bring benefits to consumers (my mom would die without her iMac and iPod). Both have a right to dictate the terms of sale on company property. But in this modern world we live in it's hard to truly suppress speech. People will still read the Pensacola News Journal, and people will still buy Macs for Dummies. They just won't spend their money at Wal-Mart or Apple while doing it.

posted by Patrick Ross @ 5:50 PM | Free Speech

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