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Power to the People


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Dear editor:

Free speech does rock! And that is why the people running the show at Harpo Inc. are trying to stop free speech [December 10].

Thank you for the interesting story about Oprah Winfrey and her company's influence over one person's First Amendment rights and public discourse at large. This story illustrated very well how power structures, corporate and otherwise, can influence what the public knows and talks about.

Every day people sign confidentiality agreements in order to work for large companies, and I think this story calls attention to and creates some questions about this widely accepted practice.

Why are these confidentiality agreements necessary? Why did the courts in the Coady case place property rights above the public's First Amendment rights? Why aren't the libel laws enough to protect Oprah and Harpo Inc.? Why won't anyone at Harpo Inc. discuss the litigation?

Elizabeth Coady's case against Harpo sounds like the beginning of an important cover story for the Reader, no matter what tune Oprah calls. Let free speech rock!

Scott Scheidt


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