NC Media Watch

A quest for reason and accuracy in letters to the editor, guest editorials and other issues of interest to the citizens of Western Nevada County.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Saving our freedoms

Jeff Ackerman, Union Publisher, "Let's not lose freedom in the fight," July 12, 2005

Jeff is worried about protecting the freedom of the press, and wonders:
As much as we ought to fear terrorism, there is an even greater threat today. Free speech and freedom of expression have been under attack for several years now, and the public doesn't seem to mind much. They think it's just a "media" problem and that it's time nosy reporters got tossed into jail, anyway.
One reason the public might think it is a “media” problem is that we have been bombarded by reports of the “media” making up the news. From Dan Rather on CBS, to AP Reporters adding words not spoken, to Bee Columnist Diana Griego Erwin who made up 43 sources.

These are people we are suppose to trust. Our trust in all the press is eroded when reporters we know make up sources, or make up the story and attribute it to an anonymous source. That is why the public is not too concerned when one goes to jail for an anonymous source. If it was anyone but Judith Miller, who used anonymous sources to promote WMDs in Iraq, I would be more sympathetic.

That said, Jeff is right. We need to protect the First Amendment guarantee of free expression. But, we need to protect all Amendments. But, the press likes to be selective, picking those freedoms they like, ignoring challenges to those they do not. The right to bear arms for example. Or, the lack of outrage by the press over the taking of private property by the government to generate more tax revenue. Fifth Amendment is protection from the taking of private property, that was seriously eroded by the Supreme Court, yet we see little press outrage.

When defending freedom you cannot be selective! Protect them all, or lose them all!

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Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Again,this makes a good point about people wanting to be anonymous: If you are not willing to take responsibility for your story or your opinion or whatever, why are you telling? The only people who deserve the cover of being anonymous are people who's very lives would be in danger had there names been used in a situation where their information leads to an arrest or something, ya know?
Otherwise, news reporters should not use anonymous sources in sensational stories. Not only does it look fishey but it's not trustworthy and it's not important enough to go to jail for.
People need to be responsible for their stories.

Tue Jul 12, 04:26:00 PM PDT  

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