Monday, May 22, 2006

Imprisoning Journalists

From the article:

The administration's assault on a free and vital press took a huge leap forward this weekend, when Attorney General Alberto Gonazles announced on national television that the Bush administration has the power to imprison journalists who publish stories revealing conduct by the President which the administration wants to conceal (such as the warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, which he specifically cited). Gonazles went further and made clear that the administration is actively considering prosecution against journalists who publish such stories. The video is here.

It really is hard to imagine any measures which pose a greater and more direct danger to our freedoms than the issuance of threats like this by the administration against the press. If the President has the power to keep secret any information he wants simply by classifying it -- including information regarding illegal or otherwise improper actions he has taken -- then the President, by definition, has complete control over the flow of information which Americans receive about their Government.

An aggressive and adversarial press in our country was intended by the founders to be one of the most critical checks on abuses of presidential power, every bit as much as Congress and the courts were created as checks. Jefferson said: "If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter." The only reason the Founders bothered to guarantee a free press in First Amendment is because the press was intended to serve as a check against Government power.

Can I get an amen?


Blogger Cybele said...

Amen! Richard Nixon is proud of his protegee. Too bad nobody wants to grow up to be Woodward and Bernstein anymore.

11:15 AM  

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