2/19/2007

The Media and The U.S. Government



"Josh Wolf, an admitted anarchist, shot video of recent G-7 demonstration. The Federal Grand Jury wants the tape for its investigation of possible crime committed -- attempt destruction of a police car. Wolf refuses and was jailed. The national debate over journalistic rights versus the Courts."

I don't normally make it a point to say what direction I think that the government is going, but I find myself tempted on this occasion. Investigators believed that Josh had filmed the beating of an officer and also the destruction of federal property. Josh has testified under a sworn oath that his tape did not show anything about the incident that they were investigating.

On a personal note this does scare me quite a bit. Now, first of all I don't believe that Josh is this wonderful person who is sticking up for journalistic rights. If you investigate the matter and look at part of the film in question which Josh posted on his blog, you can hear Josh provoking a police officer while the officer is arresting a suspect. Josh is perhaps a grand example of having egotistical vested interest in the matter at hand. People like him do upset me with their victim mentalities, wondering what they did to merit police intervention while dragging newspaper stands into the street.

He is not a saint, but he is technically a journalist and has journalistic rights, and this is where I'd agree with what he has done. When the Federal government steps into a situation and pushes it this far, whether because of a prosecutor's ego or because of its want to put together a database of possible terrorist suspects (as Josh seems to believe) it's gone too far. There are proper ways to go about this and bullying a small time big-mouthed punk is not one of them. I hope that journalistic freedom continues and journalists (who seem to be wrapped up in Anna Nicole Smith right now) begin to do their jobs correctly.

If journalists do not begin to cover things that really matter, we will soon be a society in which doublespeak and censored journalism may exist because the interests of the American people will have taken them there, unless we begin to insist on hearing about issues that matter and not about how 7 stupid climbers were lost on a mountain or how Killer Bees are taking over the U.S. or even how Michael Jackson is raping kids. These stories are not news. Journalism in America has become tabloid-like in its approach and if it does not reverse its progression, we will soon live in a world (if we don't already) where we are only distracted by the media and not informed by it.

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