Just First Amendment things

I’m not the first one to have made this point, but many of the issues we discuss today are not “First Amendment” or “free speech” issues at all. People in the press should know better.

In short, the First Amendment protects five things from government obstruction: freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition. The important part above is “from government obstruction.”

Students protesting on a private college campus? Not a First Amendment issue. Athletes in a privately-owned sports league? Not a First Amendment issue. An outspoken employee being fired from a tech firm? Not a First Amendment issue.

The scope of the First Amendment only covers issues of the government intruding on people’s ability to exercise the legal right to free speech. It does not apply to private companies or organizations.

That is not to say that private entities should totally ban their employees from expressing themselves. In many cases, that would be wrong. However, to say that it is a First Amendment issue is simply incorrect.