Have individual rights superseded the common good?

Tue, August 26, 1997 by Tim King

HAVE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS SUPERSEDED THE COMMON GOOD?Scripps Howard newspapers produce comprehensive review of nation’s rights lawsCINCINNATI, Ohio – In a four-part series that begins this weekend, Scripps Howard reporters help readers determine if America’s rights laws are working or if they are more deeply dividing society.Scripps Howard combined the resources of its coast-to-coast family of newspapers to produce a sweeping examination of America’s rights laws. "Divided we stand: The clash of rights in America" examines in depth the dilemmas that fill today’s headlines:Ё Should building and safety inspectors in Los Angeles have forced a strip club to close an act in which a dancer performs in a shower, because the shower can't accommodate wheelchair-bound dancers? Ё Was it right for disabled activists to sue 11 states to discontinue collecting annual fees of as little as $1.50 for handicapped parking stickers, saying convenient parking is a right, not a privilege? Ё Were priorities confused when a disabled Tennessee student was exempted from expulsion, even after her involvement in a melee left a teacher with a broken arm? Ё And just this month, were school officials acting appropriately when a 6-year-old North Carolina boy who kissed a girl on the cheek was suspended from class on the grounds of sexual harassment? Timed to coincide with the approach of election day, the series is an unprecedented collaboration of the top reporters from Scripps’ 17 daily newspapers and the Scripps Howard News Service. Scripps’ award-winning print journalists have worked for months to identify national trends that some scholars say have balkanized the nation into interest groups more concerned with their own cause than the common good. "Individual communities have rights controversies, but we want to focus the readers’ attention on the larger issues they may want to consider as they go to the polls next month," said Alan M. Horton, Scripps’ senior vice president of newspapers. "This series is interesting and important because we have brought our best journalists together as a team to provide more perspective."The four-part series begins Oct. 13 and is available in Scripps newspapers and to subscribers of the Scripps Howard News Service, In addition to the newspapers, "Divided we stand" is available online starting Oct. 12 at the following Internet address: http://rights.scripps.com. Through http://www.scripps.com, Internet users also can link to the home pages of 10 newspapers; five television stations; United Media – which includes one of the web’s fastest growing sites, The Dilbert Zone; and Home & Garden Television – one of America’s most popular new cable networks. Scripps Howard’s parent, The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) operates daily newspapers in 17 markets; nine large-market stations; two television production companies; United Media; and HGTV.