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Poll results: How much is too much freedom of press?

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45. You may not vote on this poll
  • (Total Freedom) Let them publish it all, keep no secrets.

    29 64.44%
  • (Almost Total Freedom) Loose Lips Sink Ships, but if no one dies, it’s ok

    9 20.00%
  • (Medium Freedom) Only print classified stuff after it is released by the government

    4 8.89%
  • (Limited Freedom) Only print stuff that is in the best interest of the US, after it’s happened

    1 2.22%
  • (No Freedom) Only print stuff that has been approved by 2/3 of both parties in congress

    0 0%
  • Other, Please explain your self!

    2 4.44%
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Thread: How free should the free press be?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    How free should the free press be?

    The New York Times along with a hand full of other major national news papers posted information about a top secret operation and has published other classified or secret information that could be detrimental to national security and the war on terror.

    Should these papers be held legally accountable for the publication of top secret and classified information? Personally, if I know exactly where the troops are and other information that “if in the wrong hands” would be detrimental, you know that also have it.

    Many of us have information about developments that if leaked to the press would cause developers to back out, well imagine that but with the lives of people on the line.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Where's the poll? Oh there it is
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    Having a free and unbiased (just the news - no conservative or liberal slant) press is an integral part of our society which has been lacking for at least a decade. If the press does not report government wrongdoings who will?
    Satellite City Enabler

  4. #4
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Benjamin Franklin
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    .
    Quote Originally posted by Braveheart
    FREEDOM!!!!!!!!




    .......and here are some extra characters in order to post the above quotes

  5. #5
    Why does the press owe loyalty to the U.S. military?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Once it's restricted a little....it won't take long for it to be restricted alot.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  7. #7
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Why does the press owe loyalty to the U.S. military?
    What if you are the parent or spouse of a US Serviceman who is overseas in a “Classified Operation” to rescue some captured troops or to kill Bin Ladin. If the enemy knew where they were, each of them would be tortured and killed... and a bunch of News Papers published the story, along with their location. How would you feel about that?

    In cases where it will hurt someone’s political career I say let them publish, but when it is an approved military action and the publication of a location or even of their existence will get our troops killed, then that is manslaughter.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  8. #8
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    What if you are the parent or spouse of a US Serviceman who is overseas in a “Classified Operation” to rescue some captured troops or to kill Bin Ladin. If the enemy knew where they were, each of them would be tortured and killed... and a bunch of News Papers published the story, along with their location. How would you feel about that?

    In cases where it will hurt someone’s political career I say let them publish, but when it is an approved military action and the publication of a location or even of their existence will get our troops killed, then that is manslaughter.
    You're using an extreme example of what could happend if...

    1. The published information is accurate.
    2. It falls in the hands of the wrong people.
    3. Those people have the ability to use that information.
    4. The U.S. military (or any other group) is unable to prevent the disaster.

    I love my military to death, but I'm willing to POTENTIALLY sacrifice a few lives so that my media outlets can publish whatever the hell they want.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  9. #9
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage
    You're using an extreme example of what could happend if...

    1. The published information is accurate.
    2. It falls in the hands of the wrong people.
    3. Those people have the ability to use that information.
    4. The U.S. military (or any other group) is unable to prevent the disaster.

    I love my military to death, but I'm willing to POTENTIALLY sacrifice a few lives so that my media outlets can publish whatever the hell they want.
    If you know about it and you are not part of it, then your enemy will know about it. If it is even close to accurate, then the enemy will have an upper hand and US or UN troops may be killed.

    I think that a free press is great, but when classified information that endangers the lives of others is used to sensationalize a story and make a profit, then a line as been crossed.

    Quote Originally posted by Benjamin Franklin
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    He would also make up fictional characters to write letters to his, and other papers, in an effort to manipulate situations and push his agenda.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  10. #10
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    As a former member of the Fourth Estate, I do have a strong belief in a free and unfettered press. Freedom of the press is a constitutional right and with every right comes responsibility.

    Should the press knowingly expose our troops or government officials to increased danger. No.

    The sticky part is where it isn't black or white. Just because the Administration says it is a bad thing, doesn't necessarily make it so. Maybe the Adminstration is trying to cover its ass because it made mistakes. Screw up, then slap "classified" on it, and you don't have to be accountable.

    The press need to be free and unfettered. They need to dig and dig and expose wrongdoing. Having found the fact, the press then needs to temper releasing those facts with good and sound judgement.

    I trust the press' judgement better than our president's, on the whole.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    What if you are the parent or spouse of a US Serviceman who is overseas in a “Classified Operation” to rescue some captured troops or to kill Bin Ladin. If the enemy knew where they were, each of them would be tortured and killed... and a bunch of News Papers published the story, along with their location. How would you feel about that?
    I don't feel any better about torturing and killing "the enemy" than I do about anyone else. If the media makes it harder to kill people I say all the better.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Should these papers be held legally accountable for the publication of top secret and classified information?
    Probably not. (See imaplanner's post as to why.) However, they should burn in hell and with any luck it is their own flesh and blood who end up dead on the front line so they can figure out what a##holes they are being.

  13. #13
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    My question: Why is everyone attacking the press on this one?

    Those classified papers came from somewhere in the administration... who had the loose lips here? It wasn't the press...

    Bush should be going after whoever it was in his little "circle of trust" that, apparently, isn't so trustworthy.

    The newspapers did their jobs, IMHO.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    My question: Why is everyone attacking the press on this one?

    Those classified papers came from somewhere in the administration... who had the loose lips here? It wasn't the press...

    Bush should be going after whoever it was in his little "circle of trust" that, apparently, isn't so trustworthy.

    The newspapers did their jobs, IMHO.
    So, if you think the press "did its job", why don't you think the person who leaked it was doing something constructive?


    Not trying to pick a fight, I just always hate that logic: we don't arrest the johns cuz men are allowed to get laid but we arrest hookers because they are immoral, engaging in criminal activity, blah blah blah. Pick one: EITHER prostitution is BAD and all parties who were involved did something BAD and should be punished OR it is okay for men to pay someone to meet those needs and no one did anything wrong and let's decriminalize prostitution and butt out. Same thing here: EITHER the people who made it available to the public did something "good" OR they did something "bad". I'm not comfortable with saying "One party who was involved in making this information available is a shining example of freedom of speach and more power to them BUT the lowlife snitch who leaked this information is scum of the earth...blah blah blah"

    Just my opinion.

  15. #15

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    michaelskis: you are simply too trusting of government in general-especially the current adminsitration. Given that they have lied and lied repeatedly about many important things, why do you still reflexively agree with them. Maybe as a young planner you're not cynical enough?.

    I think Arthur Silber, my favorite "real libertarian" writer on the web, sums it up pretty well.

    When you strip away the numerous distracting details and irrelevancies, people exhibit one of two basic perspectives toward government (including a particular administration that holds power), and toward authority in general. One group, composed of people some might consider skeptics but whom I regard as realists, consistently questions and challenges any concentration of power. Such people recognize one of history's primary lessons: that power seeks to protect its own prerogatives, as it simultaneously seeks to extend its reach. The realists recognize that people who routinely exercise great power should always be held to account for their actions, and there must always be restraints against abuses of power. They reject out of hand anyone's demand for unquestioning loyalty and obedience, a demand often expressed in the form: "Trust me." The realists know that it is precisely the person who makes such demands who is never to be trusted. Honorable people do not demand or expect unquestioning obedience.
    More directly relevant to the question at hand, I frankly agree, overall, with Mr. Silber's take on our free press:

    The press in this country has voluntarily placed itself in the role of abject dependent for several decades. Many members of the press will rush to reassure us of their independence and their willingness to challenge power -- and they will point to their treatment of the Clinton presidency as a notable example. But what did the press challenge in that instance? Not matters of state, and not anything remotely connected to the power government exercises or the policies it pursues -- but irrelevant business deals from the remote past, or private sexual behavior. In the same way, if Bush should declare martial law after another terrorist attack and begin to exercise full dictatorial powers, the press will rise to the challenge of questioning absolute power in the new environment in its usual fashion. Our press will offer numerous articles and commentary about whether our President for Life (under an emergency law passed in both houses by large margins) should speak to us more often, to explain how he is protecting us and why we shouldn't be concerned about those friends, acquaintances and even relatives who have mysteriously vanished from our lives. Our President for Life knows what is best for us, our press will tell us repeatedly and with many variations, and he's the only one who can keep us safe. But it would be so much nicer if he reassured us more often. Unlike the members of the press itself, ordinary citizens often don't understand the wisdom exemplified by our leaders, and by our President for Life. They tend to worry unnecessarily. The President for Life should calm their fears, and talk to them regularly in his soothing, folksy way. He should make clear that, although he holds the power of life and death over all of us, he's really a "regular" guy. He just happens to be a dictator -- but that last attack showed that's what we need now.
    http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.com/
    Last edited by BKM; 26 Jun 2006 at 5:22 PM.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I read an interesting article some months back about the press, leaks and the actions of the current administration. It was partly in the context of the Scooter Libby debacle, but the central points remain pertinent:

    1) This administration has labeled so many pieces of information as "classified" that it makes getting even good ole regular adminstration PR out a herculean task. Almost any story that members of the admin. want to get out violates some sort of classified document. Note also that this classified-mania has gone so far that the admin. was actually removing historical documents from the national archives! They would have kept going, too, if a few of those all-powerful historians hadn't complained...

    2) It used to be that "leakers" were often seen as people bucking the system to get an important, though classified, story out. The implication (as with Deep Throat) was that these were people responding to their conscience. Today, these "leaks" are just as often coming from those within the "company" so to speak (ie. Scooter and the gang) who must seek the protection of confidentiality with journalists to get their own pro-administration propaganda out. Its crazy.

    If the administration thinks that stories like wire tapping and bank transaction monitoring are a REAL threat to national secirty, they must be living in a cave (oh, wait, that was that other guy - ole what's-his-name ). I think one must be seriously daft to think that it has not occurred to terrorists that we might be listening in on their conversations or tracking their financials. Heck, one of the first things we did when we invaded Afghanistan was to try and freeze bin Laden's assets abroad.

    To me, this posturing is in the same light as calling someone a "commie" (or commey, if you prefer...) or "unpatriotic" because they have the gall to question the government's actions.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  17. #17
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    So, if you think the press "did its job", why don't you think the person who leaked it was doing something constructive?


    Not trying to pick a fight, I just always hate that logic: we don't arrest the johns cuz men are allowed to get laid but we arrest hookers because they are immoral, engaging in criminal activity, blah blah blah. Pick one: EITHER prostitution is BAD and all parties who were involved did something BAD and should be punished OR it is okay for men to pay someone to meet those needs and no one did anything wrong and let's decriminalize prostitution and butt out. Same thing here: EITHER the people who made it available to the public did something "good" OR they did something "bad". I'm not comfortable with saying "One party who was involved in making this information available is a shining example of freedom of speach and more power to them BUT the lowlife snitch who leaked this information is scum of the earth...blah blah blah"

    Just my opinion.
    I get what you're saying and, honestly, the prostitution analogy pretty much shows the flaw in my arguement. My arguement was more toward this particular case than broad policy, but I see your point.

    I just think this particular case is blown out of proportion in terms of how much affect it will have on terrorist methods and the liklihood that international banking will cooperate with investigations. There have been far worse things leaked than this, yet this is the first I've seen this administration really flip-out about the press.

    None of the major news agencies have asked the question "what about the person that leaked it?" This is really bothering me and should bother you too. If I was President Bush, this would piss me off a lot more than the people reporting it. The press didn't violate his trust; someone in his administration did.

    I will still argue that the press did their jobs in that they are showing that people within the administration are leaking information on a somewhat routine basis. If that's not a security issue for Bush personally (not necessarily national security), I don't know what is. This could be a story about over-classifying documents and lack of transparency, or it could be a story about irresponsible people in the administration. They are telling that story without actually telling it.

    I agree that there have been A LOT of examples of irresponsible journalism related to terrorism and Iraq (regardless of how I feel about it). However, I don't buy that this incident about the banking system was criminal. Terrorists have known for years that we tracked transactions like that--this is not news to them.

    I also feel that the bank tracking was a "non-story". How many Americans routinely transfer money internationally? I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say less than 1%. By contrast, the cell phone thing was newsworthy since so many people carry them, but I personally feel that disclosing that was bordering on or possibly going over the edge of criminal. That was a case in which the press should have been reprimanded, but it didn't get the rhetoric that this story did. By that same token though, I am highly concerned about proper channels and checks & balances when it comes to the government acquiring that information.

    ***

    At this point though I'm going to step back as an observer in this thread since it looks like its getting beyond my heady-ness and into an area that I have not fully developed my political opinions. I see value in the press being able to report based on "leaks", but at the same time I see the need to assure something threatening to life & limb at that particular moment is restricted. I see value in privacy and that right in the constitution, but I also see the need to infringe in some circumstances. It's a balancing act I haven't fully figured out yet.

    The one thing I am sure of is that I don't trust a single branch of government (or two of the three, for that matter), to decide when infringement into civil liberties is warranted. There must be more careful consideration of when it is appropriate to challenge civil liberties--which I feel is not occurring in this administration. Had they involved the judicial branch in their decision-making process, I would be far more comfortable.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    At this point though I'm going to step back as an observer in this thread since it looks like its getting beyond my heady-ness and into an area that I have not fully developed my political opinions. I see value in the press being able to report based on "leaks", but at the same time I see the need to assure something threatening to life & limb at that particular moment is restricted.
    Hey, if I can express a smart-@ssed opinion about them burning in hell, you can express an opinion. I really don't follow politics and have found some of the arguments here interesting. If the admin is really going apesh*t with classifying EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink, then leaking stuff may well be a service to the country. I just think if the press did a good deed, then so did the guy (or gal) who leaked it. And if they did the wrong thing, then, yeah, I stand by my smart-@ssed remark that no law should interfere with freedom of the press but folks in the press who abuse that freedom and casually put lives at risk so they can break a story and get some literary award really deserve some serious bad karma raining down on them.

    later.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I like Oregon's constitution, which says, in effect, you can say or print anything you want, but you are responsible for the consequences. So if the government can prove that your story on the CIA's reviewing the oil change records of every Jiffy Lube in the county ended up costing them millions in the war on terrorism, I guess you'll have to pony up.

  20. #20
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Hey, if I can express a smart-@ssed opinion about them burning in hell, you can express an opinion. I really don't follow politics and have found some of the arguments here interesting. If the admin is really going apesh*t with classifying EVERYTHING and the kitchen sink, then leaking stuff may well be a service to the country. I just think if the press did a good deed, then so did the guy (or gal) who leaked it. And if they did the wrong thing, then, yeah, I stand by my smart-@ssed remark that no law should interfere with freedom of the press but folks in the press who abuse that freedom and casually put lives at risk so they can break a story and get some literary award really deserve some serious bad karma raining down on them.

    later.
    Don't worry, I wasn't offended or anything... I just can tell when a discussion is going to lead to me gripping the sides of my skull yelling "my brain hurts!!!"

    I may chime back in more later. You and I may be close to being on the same page--the admin is a little classification crazy. Its not that I care about the guy leaking it that much... I'm just more shocked that the administration isn't getting all huffy about that.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  21. #21
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    It's an essential freedom; they should publish.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Its not that I care about the guy leaking it that much... I'm just more shocked that the administration isn't getting all huffy about that.
    As a general rule of thumb, no matter what people would like to believe about themselves, you can tell what they actually value by watching their actions. Perhaps the admin kinda wanted this leaked? <shrug>

  23. #23
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    This is Orwellian. War allows censorship. The Times should not speak out because we are at war. We really didn't have to be at war in Iraq. We chose to start the war anyway. We can't win the war because the tactics and civilian leadership have not worked. The tactics and civilian leadership have not changed in five years. That's the formula for war without end. War without end. Censorship without end.
    Last edited by Wulf9; 27 Jun 2006 at 1:33 AM.

  24. #24
    You said it best Wulf9. And Iraq is in such great shape now. Democracy forced on a country is not democracy. Freedom of the press!

  25. #25
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    michaelskis: you are simply too trusting of government in general-especially the current adminsitration. Given that they have lied and lied repeatedly about many important things, why do you still reflexively agree with them. Maybe as a young planner you're not cynical enough?.
    Maybe I should clarify my statement. When the government does something stupid such as Watergate, Monaca Gate, or other similar cases, then yes, by all means the press should publish that information. There are plenty of stupid things that this administration has done that I feel should get published.

    However, specific information about covert operations dealing with our troops in other places where the publishing of information will result in direct harm or death, then they press should wait until those specific troops are no longer in harms way before they publish.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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