DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" ""> PELICANPOST.BLOGSPOT.COM: The mainstream media and journalists believe they are above the law & should have protections other citizens do not have....

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The mainstream media and journalists believe they are above the law & should have protections other citizens do not have....

The liberal elite mainstream media and journalists are pushing for federal shield laws to protect them from punishment for accepting and publishing/broadcasting illegally leaked documents---actions by the MSM that literally aid and abet the illegal leaking of the information or government documents.

Just what, exactly, makes the media a privileged class that deserves protections other citizens do not have? If a government worker leaked those same documents to a spy, both the government worker and the spy would be guilty of a crime. So why should the media be able to accept and print or broadcast illegally leaked and illegally obtained information without being held accountable?

There are laws and processes in place for the reporting of any wrongful activities by government and whistleblower laws to protect those who reveal those wrongful activities. The laws already on the books are sufficient.

A federal shield law is a big mistake, no matter what the polls and MSM say. We don't govern by polls or change our laws to accommodate polls---all of which can be manipulated to obtain their desired results.

And most of the polls are conducted by the liberal elite media themselves or the media, in alliance with polling companies. They give you the poll results they arranged for by altering the variables, such as wording of questions, order and content of questions asked, and so on. Even one word can change the entire meaning and intent of a question to produce an answer sought.

Bottom line: The mainstream media and their employees are not above the law---any more than you and I are. And state shield laws should be investigated thoroughly to make sure they are not in conflict with federal law or the U.S. Constitution. States may not pass laws that are in conflict with federal law or the constitution.

More info below and at foxnews.
Journalists Press for Protection in Wake of Plame Prosecution

"Bolstered by public support for the ability to guard anonymous sources after a high-profile case sent one reporter to a federal jail, journalists and their advocates say they are hoping Congress will successfully step in on their behalf.

"The momentum has been building and is continuing to build, with the jailing of [New York Times reporter] Judy Miller being the latest push," said Irwin Gratz, an editor with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The "push" is upon legislation recently proposed in the House and Senate that would provide a shield for journalists who do not want to disclose their anonymous sources at the request of federal prosecutors.

In twin bills sponsored by Sen. Richard Lugar and Rep. Michael Pence, both Indiana Republicans, the Free Flow of Information Act would prevent prosecutors, with some exceptions, from compelling reporters to testify about their sources or face possible jail time....

[Judith] Miller, a Pulitzer Prize Winner, has been serving jail time in Alexandria, Va., since early last month after she refused to testify in front of a grand jury about her source for an unpublished story on the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame....

On Monday, House Democratic lawmakers wrote to vice presidential Chief of Staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby asking him to grant Miller a personal waiver releasing her from any pledges she made to him promising anonymity.

"New information has come to light that indicates that you met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller on July 8, 2003, and discussed Mrs. Wilson. ... Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has reportedly determined that it may well be relevant to the ongoing probe.

However, according to the same report, his investigation has been impeded by your lack of cooperation, specifically your failure to produce a personal waiver to Ms. Miller," wrote Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Rush Holt of New Jersey and Louise Slaughter and Maurice Hinchey, both of New York.....

Meanwhile, recent cases in which reporters have been jailed may have already curbed the use of anonymous sourcing. In another AP poll in June, nearly 25 percent of editors among 419 news organizations said they have banned the use of anonymous sources completely....

The editor at the Cleveland Plain Dealer told Editor & Publisher Magazine in July that it scrapped two investigative pieces "of profound importance" because they were based on illegally leaked documents and the paper feared prosecution like the Plame case....

The Case for Imprisoning Reporters
According to the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, in 2001 freelance writer Vanessa Leggett was the first reporter to go to federal prison since at least 1984. Leggett served nearly six months in prison for failing to reveal her sources relating to a murder case. Prosecutors argued she enjoyed no constitutional protection because she was a freelancer.

At the July Senate hearing, the Department of Justice weighed in against the Lugar and Pence proposals, asserting in written remarks that "the bill would create serious impediments to the department's ability to effectively enforce the law and fight terrorism...."

Forty-eight representatives have joined Pence's revised bill. Nine senators have signed on to Lugar's newer legislation.

But at least one law enforcement official is siding with the Justice Department. Jim Pasco, a 27-year veteran of law enforcement and executive director of the national Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, told that Miller is "clearly breaking the law" by showing contempt for the court, and that journalists far too often see themselves as above the law.

"The idea that journalists are somehow a privileged class of citizens that can make their own constitutional decisions is wacky and a shield, using this case theoretically, what it does is allow reporters to keep prosecutors from finding out whether someone may or may not have committed a crime," Pasco said.

Pasco added that the First Amendment should be enough to shield reporters who have legitimate reasons for protecting their sources, but a blanket shield law would "allow reporters to continue to shield criminals." "A shield law that allows people to obstruct doesn't serve the public justice," Pasco said....

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