I just saw the movie “The Post” about the lead-up to and subsequent publishing of the “Pentagon Papers” by the New York Times & the Washington Post. While I found it moving and a triumph of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press, it also displayed what a difference 47 years make, in the political climate of this country.
Richard Nixon’s Justice Department sought and got a restraining order against the New York Times after its first release of a story based on those leaked documents. Almost immediately Daniel Ellsberg gave the Washington Post copies of all the documents he had obtained. The publisher and editor were both in danger of being held in contempt and possibly prosecuted under the espionage act, if they moved forward with publication of those documents, even though they were not named in the restraining order. They felt the public had a right to know, and boldly published the first round of stories based on the contents of over 4,000 pages of documents they had received. The New York Times quickly appealed the restraining order to the Supreme Court and along with lawyers from the Post, convinced the SCOTUS to rule 6/3 in favor of the First Amendment.
In the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the right’s of The New York Times and The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, Justice Black said…
“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.” (Emphasis mine) this quote was used in the movie; however the full paragraph went on to say…
The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” (Emphasis mine)
Now we fast forward to these past 9 years, we now have a press that is so biased to the left-wing, that the Obama Administration literally committed murder and countless other unlawful acts, with nary a peep from the press, and what they did report was designed as much to protect Obama and his administration, as it was to deceive the public. The freedoms that were so well preserved in 1971 are but a travesty today, where the covering up of corruption on the part of Democrats, and the tearing down of the sitting Republican President and his administration are job one.
Journalistic ethics are a thing of the past, any lie or innuendo that can tarnish the President is printed instantly, without the slightest effort to validate the facts of the story. When caught publishing outright lies or innuendo, any retraction is buried on the back page if it is retracted at all.
It seems to me that we are fast approaching a turning point in our history, where if we the people do not make a stand to force our government and the press itself to uphold the values this country was founded upon and report the facts of the news, and not their ideological editorials as though they were news. Our republic is in grave danger, for no country can stand if the press itself is complacent in the over through of the government from within by members of one party over another.