Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

The “Free” Press

    Last month the airways were filled with right wing conservatives with veins popping out of their neck, clamoring for the prosecution of the New York Times for leaking classified information.  They were up in arms over an article in the New York Times that reported that our government was tracing bank accounts in order to locate terrorists and their funding.  According to many in the hysterical right, such a story was treasonous and punishable by the death penalty.

Unfortunately, when that article came out we wondered what was the big deal.  After all, George W. Bush back in 2002 broadcast to the world and told all that we were going to use everything at our disposal to track down those terrorists and those that funded them.  He further went on to advise that one of the mechanisms our government was using was in fact the looking into bank records around the world, finding out the sources of the funds, finding out the disbursal of the funds, and that this was one of the many arrows that we had in our quiver.

How the New York Times can be accused of treason for revealing  governmental secrets is absurd.  First of all, your President revealed that exact same information nearly four years earlier.  Secondly, a good segment of the American population along with those throughout the world, would have known that this was occurring anyhow.  Also, even if we are mistaken and the general population did not realize that this is one of the tools that we use in the war on terror, anyone who has practiced criminal defense or criminal prosecution knows very well that that is one of the great sources of government information.  Simply, your bank accounts are not safe and they are not private.  Lastly, even if it wasn’t so obvious for those who have to deal with law enforcement on a daily basis, the terrorists themselves with their agents and sympathizers throughout the world certainly knew of this tactic before it was put in the New York Times.  Yet, the conservative hypocrites made a field day out of that article.

It is quite ironic, that these same fascist wannabees railed against the New York Times, but have given   Scooter Libby, Carl Rove, Robert Novak just to name a few in the Valerie Plame scandal a free pass.  It is more than hypocritical that these ideologs found nothing wrong in outing a covert CIA operative who happened to have just been working on weapons of mass destruction, but find it criminal for the New York Times to tell old news and to report news we already knew and should have known. 

Apparently, this country is so split on Democrat versus Republican; liberal versus conservative; that there is no longer any right or wrong on an issue, but rather who said it or whose in favor of it.  Apparently, we no longer are Americans but we are Republican Americans or Democrat Americans, liberal Americans or conservative Americans and the only thing that’s missing are the colored jerseys with the numbers on the back.  If your team does it, its good, if the other team does it, its bad.

If you have every watched a sporting event with someone who is rooting for the other team, you now have American politics and unfortunately, American journalism.  On those close calls, although you are both watching the same thing, what you see seems to be totally different.  “The ball was out on him” “No the ball was out on the other guy”, “It was foul, it was a charge”, “it was a cheap hit, it was a good tackle”.  And no matter how many times you watch that play over and over again, there still is that disagreement.  Such is the way in this country right now.  There is no right, there is no wrong, its just whose team was it.

Well, where did it start.  The answer is no one knows.  However, what is certain is that it has gotten worse in the last ten years than it ever was before.  It has gotten so bad that a friend of ours commented that he didn’t know who to believe when referring to the different news casts.  We always thought that news was news, facts were facts and that journalists were supposed to report them neutrally and unbiased.  Instead, we have a media today, that no longer is independent, but rather are the cheerleaders for their respective parties.  The news media no longer reports, it takes sides and it espouses. 

We may have freedom of the press, but we no longer have an independent press.  And as our other freedoms and rights get taken away, the blame will be on the media.  Because without a media as a watchdog, without a media that is respected, without a media that is unbiased, all we are getting are cheerleaders who simply view things based upon the team that they are on.  There are no true facts anymore.  There are just agendas.

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