Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Further Pondering the First Amendment

From the previous post we can see that, indeed, the government is moving against a newsperson and a news organization.  Further that it is doing so under the Patriot Act designed and promoted for use against foreign and domestic enemies.

Hmmm, a reporter is not an enemy but then what are any of them doing with classified information?  They need to back their stories with fact... I get that.  They need to follow an elusive trail... I get that.  But there is a line there somewhere that says a reporter is acting in the same manner as a spy for ill purposes instead of reporting.  It is not clear that either reporters or the Department of Justice knows where that line might be.

Seeking phone records is not the same as listening in on conversations.  That is a large step (or, perhaps, many steps) from what DOJ has done here.  If a reporter is ding the same job as a spy and showing little or no discretion in how those gathered facts are used does that elevate the criminal side of the job? 

Once again, hmmm, what test of fact would be required to say that our first amendment rights have not been trampled?  Before we are neck deep in the swamp, what level of indiscretion is required to say that a reporter is effectively a spy?  Keep in mind that there are five parts to the First Amendment, one of which is the freedom of journalistic pursuit.

1.)  Freedom of Religion

2.)  Freedom of the Press

3.)  Freedom of Speech

4.)  Freedom of Assembly

5.) Freedom to Petition the government to Express Grievances

There are exceptions to every single one of these parts.  You cannot yell, "Fire" in a crowded theater, for instance.  You are not allowed to assemble on private property for unlimited protest without the owners consent.  There are limits to the words used in freedom of speech... and so forth.  So, this freedom of the press must have somme limits as well in all likelihood.

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