Concerning the dispute over retaining the name of Helen Thomas on a lifetime award (“No More Helen Thomas Award?” Jan. 7): Lloyd Weston is absolutely right in contending that the same First Amendment that protects his right to be a Jew and a Zionist also protects Helen Thomas’ right to express her opinions of Jews and Zionists. He is missing an additional point, however: The same First Amendment protects the right of the Society of Professional Journalists to rescind any honor it bestowed upon Thomas, to demonstrate its own opposition to her pernicious beliefs. It protects the Society against being forced to continue honoring her despite objection to those beliefs. Furthermore, only government, not private associations, can violate the First Amendment. Thomas retains her First Amendment rights of expression regardless of the invocation of those same rights by the Society.
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