Monday, October 11, 2004

Should I care? 

Here is an email exchange with a friend on the subject of Judith Miller of the NY Times being held in contempt of court:


I think the first amendment is healthy when journalists are practicing their trade and aren't mouthpieces for the corporate media. Judith Miller, and the NY Times, was one of the media whores who pushed this war in the pages of the NY Times, with her way too cozy relationship with Ahmad Chalabi. The corporate media helped in any way possible to get W into office, and now they are dealing with the consequences. I have little to no sympathy for them. They aren't my media. They aren't the people's media. The chickens have come home to roost.


From my friend:

You seem to believe that if you disagree with a reporter'soutlook and politics that reporter should be exempt from First Amendment protection. Is that what you believe, that civil liberties are only for progressives and pacifists?



You are asking me to care if a values bankrupt justice system goes after an equally bankrupt reporter writing for a devoid of values corporate media. This same justice system that has eviscerated our civil liberties from the beginning of this administration. (Where was the corporate media on this?) But this is nothing new. Different time different names, maybe. What Americans don't realize, yet, is that the ship is loaded on one end and has been for some time; American democracy is tilted dangerously away from those it purports to represent. How do we defend the corporate media's right to freedom of speech, that is, to push the monied elite agenda? I would be upset if they began attacking those of us on the internet. But so would many others, genuinely. But to have some feeling for Miller and Robert Novak? The Justice department going after the likes of the above mentioned is a form of cannibalism that is best enjoyed from the sidelines.


From another friend:

OK so you say Judith Miller is not worth the time of day. Fine, I'll take your word for it, but if it takes the miss treatment of one in the other camp to bring an issue that effects all to the forefront then so be it. I don't think the issue here is who is being persecuted but that someone can be persecuted for not bending over. We are definitely going down a road traveled before and the sheep are going right through the shoot hoping they won't be painted red.

My response,
I see the conflict as more of a game of musical chairs between the institutions of power in this country. You see it as a prime test, perhaps of the 1st amendment rights. Here is some background on the issue from the New York Times:
In 1974, a magazine called Counter Spy identified Richard Welch as the C.I.A. station chief in Athens. Eighteen months later, he was shot to death outside his home there.
Whether the magazine helped set the stage for Mr. Welch's murder, by a terrorist group called November 17, has never been established. But the practice of exposing covert intelligence agents, which became something of a cottage industry in the 1970's, certainly led to enactment of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 1982

Judith Miller did not expose Valerie Plame as an agent, but she apparently knows of the source. The CIA then is the third party in this...game. It is my belief that every day the FCC is in violation of 1st amendment rights, by allowing our media to be controlled by a corporate few. Allow that issue to be the central focus, and I think we'll make some headway in 1st amendment rights.


From J:

From my friend,

Not true, scorpiorising. I'm asking you to live up to the Constitution and support the rights of all Americans, and not just the rights of those whose opinions you like. If American justice has become "values-bankrupt", it's because partisans will only fight for the freedoms of their like-minded friends. But American justice is not values-bankrupt as long as the Constitution is in place and office-holders are sworn to uphold it.And my response:

And my response:

J, I sent some background information to C. As I said, I feel this is more of a conflict between various institutions of power, than a true first amendment case. When the daily first amendment violations of the FCC are the focus of attention, then I think we will make some headway on first amendment rights.