23 June 2006

O, the loyal (HA!!!) opposition

Supposedly, the “freedom of the press” means that journalists don’t have to reveal sources.  On one hand it makes some sense: if you have to give up your source then you may be motivated not to publish the story.  Frankly, I think that’s rubbish.  “Freedom of the press” is the right to publish, if a possible requirement to give up the source of a story motivates you not to publish that’s your problem.  But whatever the case, it irks me that the media are quick to claim to rights protected by this nation, but not so quick to lift a hand in helping to secure the nation which protects those rights.  When they find out how the government is trying to find terrorists and their financiers they have to make sure that everyone knows—even if that includes the terrorists we’re looking for.  Supposedly, the concern is that this is just another illegal operation, and journalists are a fourth branch of our government.  Note this well:         “ ‘The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected.’ ”  So says Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, which also published the story.  Oh, yeah, and Bill Keller, the New York Times' executive editor says,  “We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use it may be, is a matter of public interest.”  Never mind that the “public” here also includes the terrorists we’re trying to find.
So what we learn from these two self-abusers is that, as a fourth branch of government, media—not courts—will pass judgment on whether there are “adequate safeguards” in any program which seeks to secure the nation.  And if they decide that there are not in their judgment such safeguards they will issue their own version of an injunction.  I mean, I guess it’s a good thing that the Times thinks it okay for the government to infiltrate suspected terror cells.  Otherwise they might have blown the lid off the operation which made this story possible.
Uh, just two questions:  Who in the hell elected them to that office?  When did they sit for Senate confirmation hearings?
Poor President Bush—the man can’t win for losing.  As the “evil” Glenn Reynolds observes:  “What's interesting to me is that when you talk about military force, we're supposed to use law-enforcement and intelligence methods instead. But if you use law-enforcement and intelligence methods, people shout ‘Big Brother’ and the Times runs stories exposing them.”  (That’s the first thing I thought, but The Evil One posted first.  A pox on him!)
Right.  It sort of makes you think that what is really foremost in the minds of journalists is just making sure that the President doesn’t win—as if it’s all about him.
No.  It couldn’t be that.  I’m sure that they are all honorable men.  All of them.  Honorable men.
And as for the President, well, one could wish that a “dictator” were made of sterner stuff, especially when it comes to illegal immigration.  But don’t get me started on that one.

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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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