Chuck Schumer – scion of the Left and senior Senator from the Nanny State of New York — believes that he and his comrades in the Senate could be very close to derailing our freedom of speech… and he seems to think this is a GOOD THING. Senator Schumer is spearheading an effort to get a “media shield law” passed through Congress, and he believes that there are now enough supporting members in the Senate to get the job done. Several high profile Republicans seems ready to join the Democrats and liberal Independents in an effort to pass new provisions to ensure that members of the press retain their right to free speech/press.
I’ve written on the issues several times – but apparently Mr. Schumer has failed to read (or be persuaded) by my arguments against a media shield law. (You can see those pieces here, here, here and here.) I am not ready to say that the Democrats are purposely pursuing this media shield law for selfish reasons… but I think that’s what’s going on here. Democrats claim altruistic reasons for pursuing media shield laws – claiming to be protecting media freedom — but the Bill of Rights already clearly makes provision for this.
Schumer says that while the Bill of Rights protects media member’s freedom of speech, it does not protect their freedom to gather information. Sadly, the man is mistaken. The First Amendment does, in fact, cover the media’s ability to gather information – for how can a press be free without having the ability to investigate stories? The truth of the matter is that an overbearing government has recently decided to crack down on whistleblowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden for crimes against the state. While it is true that both men broke their word to not reveal private information – the information they gave up showed that our government was itself breaking the law! This cannot be a crime.
If either Manning or Snowden (and by proxy Julian Assange or Glenn Greenwald) had revealed information that our enemies could use to inflict damage upon our nation (like nuclear launch codes or a list of undercover spies around the world), then there would be cause to arrest and try them. However, simply uncovering the illegal activities of our government is not cause for such action. And there has been no serious threat of LEGAL American action against Mr. Greenwald.
This rallying cry of media protection reads more like an attempt by the left to have more control over the media. (I explain how in one of the linked pieces.) If the left can tell us who gets the special media protection, then by the same token they can decide who DOESN’T get that media protection.
The bill was revived last year after the disclosure that the Justice Department had secretly subpoenaed almost two months’ worth of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press and secretly used a search warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist.
The Justice Department took the actions in looking into leaks of classified information to the news organizations. The AP received no advance warning of the subpoena.
Here’s the problem. The Justice Department skirted the law here – and if they were willing to do it when it so obviously crossed some legal boundaries — why would they care about another law written to stop this from happening? Folks, if they are willing to break the law, passing new laws won’t accomplish anything!
See, the problem isn’t that the media isn’t sufficiently protected. The problem is that we have allowed the government to amass so much power that they no longer care about the rules and laws established to protect US from THEM. The answer, then, is not to write more laws that explain how some of us should be protected. The answer is to DEMAND that our representatives rein in the abusive and overbearing government that they oversee. The answer is not a media shield law, but a robust denunciation of the Nanny State and the overreaching power of government.
We the people are in charge, and those who govern are our servants. It’s time we bring them to heel and remind them of this fact.