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AP Error About Funeral Picketing Restriction Makes Its Way Into New York Times:

Today's story in the New York Times says:

Under the Senate bill, approved without objection by the House with no recorded vote, the "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act" would bar demonstrations within 300 feet of the entrance of a cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral.
But as I wrote a few days ago, the law bars only access-impeding demonstrations within 300 feet of the cemetery entrance, and only demonstrations that involve "noise or diversion that disturbs or tends to disturb the peace or good order of the ... ceremony" within 150 feet of the entrance road. If the latter provision is interpreted the way it has been in other laws that contain this language, it will be simply a content-neutral ban on speech that disturbs because of its noisiness and not its message.

There are some possible problems with the law, which I discuss in more detail here. But the law does not, as the AP — and now the New York Times — suggests, "bar protests within 300 feet of the entrance of a cemetery and within 150 feet of a road into the cemetery from 60 minutes before to 60 minutes after a funeral."

By the way, does anyone know what's a reasonably reliable way of alerting the AP — not the particular newspaper that has run an AP story — to errors in its stories? Do any of you have a sense of whether such messages would be worthwhile? (For instance, do newspapers that rerun stories work off the master on the AP site, so that if the master gets corrected, future copies will no longer have the error? Have you ever had success yourselves with getting AP to make such corrections?) It would have been good if I could have persuaded the AP to correct the error when the story first ran; on the other hand, I don't want to take the time to send them messages about future errors if it seems likely that such messages will be futile.

Thanks to fellow lawprof Eric Freedman for the pointer.

UPDATE: Commenter Jason Fliegel correctly points out that the ban applies to all demonstrations -- including favorable ones -- not just to protests. I was using protest as an imprecise term for demonstration, but it's better to be precise, especially if all it means is changing one word; I've therefore changed the post (in which I used the term "protest") accordingly.

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