Freedom of the Press

Let me start by saying that I am an absolute believer in Free Speech as a fundamental right. It is how the "Press" fits in this that I have problems understanding.

Does, for example, the President and the US Government, have the right to conduct any activity shielded from the Press? Where does National Security trump the right to know by the citizens? Are there things that we do as a Nation that are vital and should be excluded?

Does the protection of the Press from being forced to disclose a whistle blower slip over into the protection of a criminal when he tells the Press of his activities. Would the BTK killer be able to get his conviction overturned because the paper he sent to a local TV News had a code that identified the copy machine he used? That code identified him and because the Press should be shielded is he any less guilty?

I am still up in the air over this and will continue to read more about the issue. Yes, Deep Throat should have been shielded when he gave up information about the Nixon Presidency. Will it equally apply to the people that tell the truth about the Obama Administration.

If you really want to make your head hurt, read about the Husler magazine being protected when it parodied the Reverend Falwell and their being protected from punishment when clearly they were not telling the truth and ridiculing the reverend in cartoons.

I am tempted to on the surface to say that this right is inviolate and all Press should be shielded. On the other hand, the press has been on such shaky ground for so long that I am not sure where the slippery ground begins and protections should start. Will the law start coming after bloggers when they finish with the big fish to fry in this issue?

Have a great day out there. This will be a round ball evening. KSU at 5 and the hawks later on.



  1. My thought on this is something that I deal with daily, with ANY right, comes responsibility. With today's national media doing all they can to shield the federal government from any criticism, they have ignored the responsibility inextricably tied to the RIGHT of freedom of the press. They ignored the responsibility, so they lose the right.

    Oh, and business, too. They are steadily losing business. This is their punishment.

  2. Hmmmm.... yeah, that's a good one. You can't make a law stating that you cant yell "Fire!!" in a crowded theatre... because there just might be a fire someday.

    I kinda like your opinion on the subject.

    It's the people who have a clearly defined opinion on what can and cannot be said that scare the heck out of me. (regardless of ideology)

  3. MUD, that is a question that I ponder often. Journalism has always been biased. And, often "yellow."

    We saw during W's term serious national security leaks to the NY Times, Washington Post, etc. about what we were up to. Those leakers had an agenda...trying to destroy the war effort...and in my opinion, trying to embolden our enemies.

    Should Deep Throat have been protected? Probably so...but his information turned over to law enforcement. There was a crime going on. Will modern day Deep Throats be protected against the Chicago thuggery? Probably not by the MSM. But, they will be by bloggers...probably.

    As far as Hustler going after Falwell...I've got no problem with it, even if it was all lies. It's Hustler. If it was the NY Times, then that's a different thing. And, Jerry was a big boy that should expect that from the likes of Larry Flint.

    I believe that a journalist should be required to turn over evidence of a crime (no matter how they obtained it), or be subject to legal penalties.

    You don't know this...but Paul does. I was a Christian Pastor for a good long while. I'll wait while you pick yourself up off the floor from laughing...

    I was legally bound to notify law enforcement if I had direct evidence relating to a crime...even if it was given to me in a time of confession (or counseling). If I knew, and didn't report it, I'd be guilty of obstructing justice, and subject to charges.

    I think the same rules should apply to journalists. If a crime is going on, the public is better served by stopping the criminal, or by punishing the offender. I'm not saying they should have to give their source. But, they should be penalized if they know something and don't at least put law enforcement on the right trail.

    If it's just "inside info" about what's going on in the government (nothing criminal), then that's a whole other thing.

    Man, I just wrote a long comment, and didn't get anything said. As usual. Hope your teams win...

  4. Andy, There is just no always or never in about every subject. I wonder how the Catholic Church can feel free and to hear a confession and a Baptist minister can't?
    Sully, Didn't study Law so I guess there can be confusion in my opinion.
    Paul, The punishment for poor journalism is the loss of business. If the paper stopped, where would I get my comics?

  5. MUD, be honest, as small as they are making those comic strips these days, we can't read them anyway without an eight inch diameter magnifying glass.

  6. MUD, don't quote me on this, because I never really looked into it. But, I have a suspicion that the Roman Catholics use a confessional booth for just such a reason. If someone comes in and confesses a crime, the Priest can rightly say that he really does not know who the confessor is.

    The churches I served in had more of a "face to face" deal when it came to getting a load off one's chest.

    It never happened to me...I mean, having a crime confessed. But, it did to two of my Pastor friends/associates. They both urged the confessor to go to the cops, and told them that if they didn't, the Pastor would anyway.

    In both cases, the crook did the right thing...and in both cases the Pastors went with said crooks to the cops.

    As I said, I don't know if the Roman Catholic Church has an exemption of some kind because of HOW confession is taken, or not. I just know that there is liability if you know something "specifically" that you don't pass along to law enforcement.

  7. It wouldn't do me any good if the Catholic church had that exemption.

    My priest knows me and asks every time if I want to confess or just get the standard penance. I usually just tell all and still get the same slappy wrist, so it's all good. By the way, I usually crack open my confession with, "Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It has been since Tuesday on the golf course since my last confession."

  8. Yeah Paul, I kinda figured you was a "regular." Like I said, I haven't really looked into it...just something that has crossed my mind.

    Raised Baptist, preached Assemblies of God, and full blown backslider now. But in many ways, I'm a lot closer to Jesus than ever.

    Funny, huh?