informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Sep 12 2010, 11:56 PM Category: Economy Source: S.M. Oliva Print

Shielding "Professionals" from Competition

by S.M. Oliva, Mises Economics Blog

John F. Sturm, the president of the Newspaper Association of America, thinks it’s high time Congress intervene to protect the free flow of information -- that is, the flow of information from confidential government “sources” to “professional” journalists. In an op-ed, Sturm said the republic cannot endure the type of unprofessional muckraking provided by websites like Wikileaks.org:
Unlike the source-to-screen approach of Wikileaks, professional journalists do more than simply post raw data. The important role journalists play in our democracy can never be replaced by websites that publish source documents without the editorial oversight, research, analysis and balanced reporting that are so essential to public understanding and debate.

It is these working journalists who face escalating pressure to reveal their confidential sources. Congress must protect the public’s right to know by enabling journalists -- in limited and defined circumstances -- to protect confidential sources when subpoenaed in criminal and civil cases.
Oh, where to begin? First there’s the laughable idea that Sturm values the “public’s right to know.” Protecting confidential sources does just the opposite; it deprives people information about the sources of a reporter’s information. As I’ve said before, if a product manufacturer refused to disclose its ingredients, “professional” journalists would have a conniption.

Second, posting “raw data” doesn’t replace research and analysis; it supplements it by decentralizing control of basic information. That in turn helps produce a greater quantity -- and yes, quality -- of analysis from different sources. Sturm’s idea of journalism is having a bunch of people talk to Bob Woodward “off the record” so he can then tell us what our government wants us to know.

Third, the “balanced reporting” canard is quite tired. Nobody believes it. Besides, how often do you see establishment newspapers take libertarian or non-governmental views into account?

Moving to the substance of Sturm’s op-ed,
Supporters of a federal shield law acknowledge that it would not be reasonable to protect the source’s identity in every case, which is why the Senate bill contains extremely broad exceptions when the government seeks information from a journalist that could thwart a terrorist attack or otherwise prevent harm to national security.
So the shield law really doesn’t protect anything at all. Governments are quite adept at using “broad exceptions” to their advantage. And no exception purportedly limited to “national security” or “terrorism” cases stays that way for long. The Patriot Act was once amended to give the DOJ unlimited wiretap authority in antitrust cases. The Antitrust Division claimed it wasn’t fair that anti-terrorism prosecutors got special powers that they didn’t. After all, isn’t fighting antitrust “crimes” just as important as thwarting al-Qaeda?
Opponents are wrong to suggest that a federal shield law would encourage more government leaks. With a clear legal framework for when a journalist can and cannot protect a source, both journalists and potential leakers will likely be more mindful of whether public disclosure of confidential or classified information would truly serve the greater good.
How exactly does one determine what the “greater good” is ex ante? Since government ultimately deems itself the arbiter of public good, it can easily overrule any contrary private determinations made by “leakers” and “journalists.”

Sturm also ignores the fact that most “leaks” have nothing to do with informing the public whatsoever. Leaks are simply politics by other means. A White House official leaks a policy memo to send a message to political opponents in Congress. A prosecutor leaks confidential grand jury information to publicly smear a defendant. This is why “raw data” is often more valuable then the carefully orchestrated leaks managed by journalists. Sturm rebuts,
Moreover, with more legal certainty, potential leakers may be more inclined to work with professional journalists who are more likely to get the story right, rather than simply upload classified documents to faceless websites. This is important because the professional news media regularly take national security into account in their reporting. They exercise editorial judgment and, in exceptional situations, work with the government to protect intelligence sources or methods -- and human lives -- while still fulfilling their journalistic duty to inform the public.
So, according to Sturm, journalists are just another arm of the government. Good to know.

Sturm ends his op-ed by saying passage of a federal shield law “heeds the warning from our founding fathers: a free and democratic society cannot survive without an informed citizenry.” This may be the least on-point invocation of the founders I’ve ever read. For one thing, there were no “professional” journalists in colonial times -- at least not as Sturm defines them. Indeed, much of the newspapering of the time came from anonymous and pseudonymous partisans who valued ideas over confidential “sources.”

What Sturm wants, of course, is the federal government to intervene in the dying newspaper market and save it from Internet-based competition. This is why the Federal Trade Commission has been holding b.s. “workshops” on this subject. A shield law is an important step towards cartelizing journalism under federal control. Once you have a shield law, you have to define what a journalist is and is not. This becomes a judicial (and regulatory) question that requires input from all sorts of lawyers, academics, and other “experts.” The process alone will exclude the blogger (*cough*) who simply wants to bring greater transparency to the state and its harmful interventions.

This is a special-interest power grab, one that would alter the First Amendment by decree. Sturm wants “freedom of the press” to mean “privilege of government-licensed journalists.” This would bring journalism closer to a university model of “academic freedom” -- special rights for tenured elites -- while doing nothing for the people that Sturm says he wants to better inform.





Latest Economy
- Barack Obama Promises That Events In Greece And Puerto Rico Will Not Cause A Global Financial Crisis
- Oregon Legalizes Pot this Week -- But Thanks to the Liquor Control Commission, You Can't Buy It
- Greece Illustrates 150 Years of Socialist Failure in Europe
- VIDEO: Americans Refuse to Purchase 10 oz Silver Bar Worth $160 for 10 Bucks
- The 'Recycling' Scam Falls Apart
- Which Countries Prefer Capitalism?
- DC's First Cat Cafe Opens Tomorrow (No Thanks to Regulators)
- The Miracle of Air-Conditioning









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

Despite Crying In Court, Deputy Gets 10 Years For Crash Which Killed Teen After Judge Questions His Sincerity - 06/30Illinois Police Scream "Stop Resisting" and Tase Unresisting Man on Train for Using Foul Language - 06/30Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From - 07/01Nail Salon Owner Sues For Return Of Life Savings Seized By DEA Agents At Airport - 06/30Video: Maniac Cop Straps Handcuffed Man To Chair And Tortures Him For "Resisting" - 07/01Love of Power Wins -- Now the Yezhovschina Can Begin - 06/30The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech - 06/30Newsday Editor: Carve Hate Speech Out Of First Amendment, Hold Websites Responsible If Users Post Hate Speech - 06/30

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up
(more)

 
Top