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Free speech

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
September 18, 2012 1:50:59 PM PDT
Let's talk free speech, shall we? It's a huge topic these days, because of two stories that are making big news. Different stories, but perhaps not so different at the core.

They are the naked - or at least topless - pictures of Kate Middleton, while she's at a private pool in a private chateau with her husband, Prince William. The other is the anti-Muslim film that is causing an uproar across the globe, and a newspaper in France that is reportedly going to publish caricatures of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.

I'm not going to argue that news outlets don't have the right to print all this. But it is a legitimate question to ask, why publish, and whether it's all worth it.

We'd love to know how you think on this issue.

Do Kate and William - a much photographed couple who certainly get a lot out of all the publicity they've gotten so far - have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they're secluded at a private house? Would you think you have that reasonable expectation?

For the record, mainstream media in the U.S. has NOT published these photos, and the Palace has in fact successfully sued to prevent an English publication from using the pictures.

And let's just say you own a paper and are thinking of publishing a caricature of Muhammad, or you have a website that is "airing" an amateurish and vicious anti-Muslim film that portrays Muhammad as a womanizer and pedophile. That sparked riots in dozens of countries - so what would you do?

It's a top-of-mind question because it's top-of-the-news. We'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

We're also following the storms that are roaring through the Tri-State. So far, trees down are the big problem. A tornado watch remains in effect till 7 tonight - and the storm moves into New York City and east to Long Island and Connecticut throughout the night.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg heads our coverage, at 11.

And we're covering Pres. Obama's latest visit - again - to his favorite ATM, meaning Manhattan. He figures to raise more than $4 million tonight, including a $40,000 a person fundraiser at the nightclub in Chelsea owned by Jay-Z. We'll also have the latest fallout from Mitt Romney's statements, heard on a secretly recorded video, labeling the nearly half of Americans who are too poor to pay income tax as basically being freeloaders, dependent on government hand outs. You can imagine the reaction.

He also talked in a way most Presidential candidates do not about the prospects for peace in the Middle East. And his opinion about those prospects was bleak.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. (The Yankees game has been rained out, pushing the return of pitcher Andy Pettitte back a day. The Mets game is also postponed.) I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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