The Free Press Under Attack

federal court building “We have met the enemy and he is us.”  As true now as when Pogo first said it in 1971. All Osama had to do was take down two buildings then sit back and let us dismantle the rest of the country.

The citizens of America have more to fear from the loss of a free press than they do from any individual terrorist plot; and yet, according to The New York Times, Attorney General Eric Holder is defending the recent seizure of A.P. journalists’ phone records (cellular, office, and home) as a needed security measure. In response to Holder’s insistence that the information leak “Put the American people at risk, and that is not hyperbole.” the A.P.’s president and chief executive, Gary Pruitt responded,

“We held that story until the government assured us that the national security concerns had passed,” he said. “Indeed, the White House was preparing to publicly announce that the bomb plot had been foiled.”

So it wasn’t even true — the threat had passed — but this is beside the point. What’s appalling is that the country’s top law enforcement officer, sworn to uphold the Constitution, is targeting journalists at all.

Read Edward Fitzpatrick’s excellent piece in today’s ProJo in which Rosanna Cavanagh, executive director of the New England First Amendment Coalition, discusses the chilling effect these actions could have on investigative journalism.

“This broad and unparalleled intrusion into the phone records of one of the world’s largest news organizations reflects a misunderstanding of the crucial role played by the press in our contemporary society,” she said. “Our First Amendment protections for the press embody our founders’ vision that only an unfettered press can protect the free flow of information upon which any true democracy depends.”

Cavanagh suggests a federal media-shield law could provide journalists more protection. In the meantime, the entire country would benefit greatly from a new lowest priced paxil in the usa attorney general. President Obama needs to send Eric Holder home to spend more time with his family.

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