Thursday, June 29, 2006

Congress takes up war on reporters

From today's New York Times:

[Today] the House [of Representatives] is expected to take up a Republican resolution supporting the tracking of financial transactions and condemning the publication of the existence of the program and details of how it works. The resolution says Congress "expects the cooperation of all news media organizations in protecting the lives of Americans and the capability of the government to identify, disrupt and capture terrorists by not disclosing classified intelligence programs."
Reporter Scott Shane tells us that House Democrats are offering an alternative resolution that expresses support for the bank-record snooping, but says nothing about the media.

Most telling, however, is Shane's lead, wherein he reminds readers that President George W. Bush had announced to the world in 2001 that the bank records of terrorists would be surveilled.

Given the diminished power of the U.S. Constitution at the hands of the Bush administration, the war on the media is yet another step in the march toward authoritarianism. Whatever disdain one might have for the nation's mainstream media, your blogstress humbly urges her fellow citizens to demand more, not less, disclosure from America's news outlets. The framers had their reasons for writing a guarantee of a free press into the Constitution -- and it wasn't because they all enjoyed good press themselves.

In a letter to Edward Carrington, written in 1787, Thomas Jefferson asserted, "If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter."

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