“Save the First Amendment!”
Sunday morning, husband and mayoral press secretary Jay McMullen spoke to Bob Crawford, longtime City Hall correspondent for WBBM radio. When Crawford raised the question of the mayor being sued and losing, McMullen opined, “At least we will have made our point.” McMullen also went on offense by telling the United Press International wire service, “Let them sue; we’ll take it all the way up to the Supreme Court.”
I can’t help but think I would have been filing a friend of the court brief with the Supreme Court siding with the Tribune if such a lawsuit had come to pass five years later in 1985 when I was General Counsel of United Press International.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which then enjoyed a reputation for defending free speech, found the Byrne action “outrageous,” and predicted her Tribune ban would not be upheld even if taken to the Supreme Court.
Stuart Loory, president-elect of the Chicago Headline Club and managing editor for news of the Sun-Times found a “clear violation” of the First Amendment. The Chicago Newspaper Guild union was equally aghast, “We vigorously and unanimously condemn the mayor’s action…”
Sun-Times publisher, James Hoge, chimed in calling the ban “indefensible.”