Jewish World Review Nov. 6, 2013/ 3 Kislev, 5774
'Shield' for journalists? Thanks but no thanks
By Paul Greenberg
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Here we go again. Every time an administration is caught spying on the press, it professes to be "shocked, shocked." As shocked as Captain Renault in "Casablanc"a on learning that Rick's Café Américain is actually a gambling joint. The captain's order to shut the place down is interrupted only briefly by an obliging waiter. ("Your winnings, sir.")
It's a scene cherished by every movie buff and connoisseur of irony. Just as every long-time
Benghazi? What difference at this point, as
The sleepy watchdogs of the press managed to doze through all that without interruption. But then the administration's gumshoes were turned loose on the press, too. And finally, finally alarm bells went off.
Uh oh. All hell broke loose. Well, sure, this was our ox that was being gored.
Even the most kneejerk members of a once adoring press corps awoke. The usually docile
Caught abusing the press and unable to deny it, the administration threw it a bone. A shield law designed to exempt the press from just the kind of abuse this administration had made its specialty was swiftly thrown together to protect journalists. Or at least those the administration was willing to recognize as such. You know, the certified, the professional, the official kind. In short, Our Sort.
As for the other sort -- bloggers, amateurs on Twitter, the kind of troublemakers
It's hard to imagine the colonial pamphleteers who started the American Revolution -- and without a license from the Crown at that! -- qualifying as Protected Journalists under this law. What, that riff-raff?
So thanks but no thanks. I'm already covered by the best shield law ever conceived by the mind of man. It's called the First Amendment to the Constitution of
This administration's clumsy attempt to protect journalism only limits it. As grateful as I am for being treated like a privileged character under the terms of this proposal, I'd rather not be. For the thought occurs that any government able to license journalists can also un-license us. And that our rights, like those of all Americans, stem from a higher Authority than government. The same Authority that created all men equal and endowed us with certain rights like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And even the pursuit of journalism.
Besides, I still remember a lesson I was first taught many years ago in a little basement
Love creative work.
Do not seek dominance over others.
And avoid intimacy with the ruling authorities.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.
© 2010 Tribune Media Services, Inc.