Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blaming the media

I am scared by the recent stance of Republicans in government to blame the media for leaks (for example, this San Francisco Chronicle article titled House Condemns Media Over Reporting).

The U.S. Government is based on the separation of powers. There are 3 branches of Government so that no one branch has too much power. I am a strong believer that we need to have this balance of power, and have written about this before in this Blog.

But in the past few years years, the 3 branches have all been controlled by 1 party, meaning that there is not a separation of power. The President and those in power in the Republican party have been very good at controlling their party members and preventing any dissent. So, in effect, no one inside the government is really watching to make sure that the government acts correctly.

So this job falls to people outside of the government - and the role has somewhat been taken up by the media. What has been reported by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post is something that could validly be questioned as to whether what the government is doing is legal and correct.

It also smacks of politics that the government is chasing after the New York Times, but not the other two newspapers (though all reported the same thing). Are the politicians less worried about giving secrets away to terrorists, and more worried about covering up what they wouldn't want US citizens to know? I am sure Jack Abrahamoff, Tom Delay, and the other politicians under indictment would love to have stopped newspapers from reporting on their issues...

If rules are placed which limit the media, this in effect makes me believe the terrorists are winning. One of the things they don't like is how we have such a free society - we can say what we want, believe in whatever religion we want, etc. If we start limiting what the media can say, it would be another step away from a free society.

Does exposure to some of this information potentially make it harder for the government to fight its war on terrorism? Yes. But their fight must be done under the rules and requirements of a free society.

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