Freedom of the Press?
Posted by Sal on November 25, 2006
Most everyone agrees that Freedom of the Press is a fundamental necessity for a functioning Democracy. Yes, even the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Washington Post are entitled to this basic freedom, which is necessary to preserve a functioning democracy. Yet all freedoms have limits (yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, to use the cliché), so where does one draw the line?
Michelle Malkin is tracking a story where the New York Times is appealing to the Supreme Court against the Bush administration. The Bush administration is attempting to subpoena the phone records of two Times reporters in order to determine who leaked classified information to the Times. A federal appeals court has already ruled that shield laws do not apply to this type of case. The Times is appealing on First Amendment grounds.
The First Amendment does not protect leakers of Classified information. It may in fact protect the Times from prosecution, despicable as they may be, as the Times can print anything it wants so long as it has a factual basis. However, the people who leak classified information to news organizations are not journalists, and not protected from the law. It is about time we as a nation took a common-sense approach to interpreting the First Amendment to allow for maximum freedom of the press, but harsh prosecution of those who leak classified information that can harm this nation in the current War on Terror.