Monday, April 01, 2013

This Is NOT A First Amendment Issue

I get so tired of reporters who think they're in this special class all by themselves, who think they alone can cut deals for secrecy and ignore, with impunity, a judge's ruling to violate that promise.  The 1st Amendment allows you to print what you want, it doesn't allow you to do whatever you think is right in order to get the information you print:
The reporter who broke the exclusive story about a notebook that Colorado shooter James Holmes sent to his psychiatrist, then refused to reveal her sources under threat of jail, was ordered to return to the Aurora courtroom April 10,  in a case experts say has chilling ramifications for the First Amendment.
Wrong. It has absolutely no ramifications for the 1st Amendment.  Reporters are not a special class of people, and the freedom of the press belongs as much to me, a blogger--the political descendent of Thomas Paine and other pamphleteers--as it does to a reporter who works for FoxNews.

If you (wrongly) argue that keeping sources secret is necessary to a free press, then I ask, doesn't taxation limit the free press?  After all, if news companies must pay corporate taxes and property taxes and all the rest, isn't that an infringement on the freedom of press?

The answer is, of course, self-evidently, no.  But that doesn't keep the reporters from pushing the issue, and making fools of themselves in the process.

Rot in jail, kid.


Happy Elf Mom said...

Yes. Technically you have just as many rights as a reporter does. People just like to treat "the press" all special. But you could as a private citizen go look at the police reports yourself. You could call these news sources yourself. You can attend city council meetings yourself.

But I'm surprised, Darren. You see the awful restrictions government often puts on people, the gag orders that are out there, the intimidation some people are under.

I'm not saying reporters are a law unto themselves or even that printing this was necessarily right, but I have to admire a reporter or editor who is willing to face jail time because he thinks the information getting out to the public is important enough to take a stand for.

We both know that making a habit of revealing sources means no one will trust you with the next story. I don't think they are fools. They just have a certain set of ethics they're working under that you don't understand.

Darren said...

I understand their so-called ethics just fine. I just don't *accept* them.

maxutils said...

Should cops be able to protect the names of their confidential informants? Same idea, with a much more dramatic effect on third parties...