How Far Does Freedom Of The Press Extend?


David Gregory spars with Glenn Greenwald

NBC “Meet the Press” host David Gregory got a rise out of Glenn Greenwald on Sunday by asking the Guardian reporter why he shouldn’t be charged with a crime for having “aided and abetted” former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden.

Greenwald replied on the show Sunday that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies.”

Greenwald first reported Snowden’s disclosure of U.S. government surveillance programs. On Sunday, Ecuador’s foreign minister and the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said that Snowden was headed to Ecuador to seek asylum.

During his interview with NBC’s Gregory, Greenwald declined to discuss where Snowden was headed. That refusal seemed to prompt Gregory to ask: “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?”

Greenwald said Gregory was embracing the Obama administration’s attempt to “criminalize investigative journalism,” citing an FBI agent’s characterization of Fox News journalist James Rosen as a probable co-conspirator of a State Department contractor who was suspected of leaking classified information to Rosen. Rosen was not charged.

“If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal, and it’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States,” said Greenwald, a former constitutional and civil rights lawyer who has written three books contending that the government has violated personal rights in the name of protecting national security.

Gregory responded that “the question of who is a journalist may be up to a debate with regard to what you are doing.” Gregory also said he was merely asking a question.

“That question has been raised by lawmakers as well,” Gregory said. “I’m not embracing anything, but, obviously, I take your point.”

Later, Greenwald tweeted, “Who needs the government to try to criminalize journalism when you have David Gregory to do it?” and, “Has David Gregory ever publicly wondered if powerful DC officials should be prosecuted for things like illegal spying & lying to Congress?”

David Gregory is probably the wrong person to be asking that question, but it is a legitimate issue. How far does freedom of the press extend?

If members of the internet media are not members of the press, neither are members of radio and television media. Only those who use traditional dead-tree (or dead sheep) publishing methods would qualify. I think Glenn Greenwald qualifies as a member of the press.

But is there some line the press cannot cross without breaking the law?

Can they trespass onto private or government property to get stories?

Can they knowingly publish state secrets?

Can they aid and abet someone who is stealing/illegally divulging classified information?

What if Walter Cronkite found out on June 1, 1944 that the Allies planned to invade Normandy in a few days. Would he have committed a crime by reporting that information?

These are actually important policy questions. On the one hand we citizens need to know what our government is up to. On the other hand we don’t want to give away our thoughts and plans to our enemies.

I’m not talking about the Bradley Mannings and Edward Snowdens, I am talking about the Julian Assanges and Glenn Greenwalds. How much of a shield does the 1st Amendment provide for them?

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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50 Responses to How Far Does Freedom Of The Press Extend?

  1. myiq2xu says:
  2. HELENK says:

    Nelson Mandela now in critical condition

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Instead of debating that issue, or the issue of the government spying on its citizens, let’s only focus on this Snowden guy. See what I did there, I was pretending to be a TV journalist.

    Should the 1st amendment protect you from yelling squirrel on TV?

  4. HELENK says:

    something to watch this week.
    decisions could change a lot of things in this country

  5. HELENK says:

    Do we have a free press ? they gave up their freedom when they decided that blow jobs for backtrack were more important than the truth.
    Hide and cover up is all they do anymore. stenos not journalists

  6. HELENK says:

    schumer will still not love or respect republicans after screwing them on immigration

  7. HELENK says:

    backtrack will have a choice in the next few weeks. which civil war will he get us involved in>

    Egypt or Syria

  8. HELENK says:

    pardon petition hits 100,000 signatures now what does the backtrack bunch do?

  9. 1539days says:

    Of course, Gregory is the same “journalist” who presented the head of the NRA with an illegal 30 round ammunition clip 6 months ago and was quickly absolved of any wrongdoing. Was he given a pass because he was a journalist or because his illegal act was in support of Obama’s agenda?

    • Mary says:

      Gregory was also one of the journalists who proudly celebrated the details of the Bin Laden killing—-which secret details he received from a pro-Obama “leaker” in the White House.

      Should he be given a pass because he was a journalist reporting HIS leaker’s information?

    • TorchWood says:

      Sorry, Gregory lost my respect LONG before that. Does “MC Rove” ring any bells?

  10. HELENK says:

    sorry about this long post. i could not get the link to work

    3. NSA Spying Aided by Open-Source Software

    The National Security Agency has been using the top-secret program called PRISM to monitor online activity by accessing the servers of Internet companies.

    The software the NSA uses is anything but top secret, however. The agency relies to an extent on open-source software — which makes the collection of computer instructions known as source code available to the general public with relaxed or nonexistent copyright restrictions.

    “In this era of open-source software, the NSA gets direct access to the inventions of thousands of the smartest computer-science minds on the planet for free,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports in an article headlined “Spies Like Us: How We All Helped Build PRISM.”

    Google created its own open-source software programs to collect and analyze data, and Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo! were among those that followed suit.

    The NSA disclosed in 2009 that it was building a system based on Hadoop, a data processing software program that Google and Yahoo! had popularized, and set up its own open-source data mining project called Accumulo.

    “Among the citizen coders who’ve contributed to the NSA effort are employees of Silicon Valley startups, cybersecurity firms, and federal contractors (you guessed it: Booz Allen Hamilton),” Businessweek disclosed.

    Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the NSA’s electronic surveillance program, worked for the technology consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

    The article concludes: “When you hear about the NSA sucking up petabytes of information every hour, you can be sure that programs developed by your favorite Web companies are helping to power the effort.”

  11. swanspirit says:

    David Gregory has had his Obama’s arse skin to David Gregory’s lips transplant , and the transplant has fully taken .

  12. HELENK says:

    our favorite judge

  13. HELENK says:

    The comparison of congress to drunken idiots is so right

  14. DeniseVB says:

    How far should the media go? Well, let’s start with vetting our Presidents more than the Palins, Snowdens, Deens and Kardashians ! How did that work out for us Mr. Gregory?

  15. votermom says:

    • DeniseVB says:

      Back to Paula Deen, this gets curiouser and curiouser …. Kevin Jackson (The Blacksphere) gives his take ….

      Loved the part of the complaint on the “sexist” charge that Paula “pretended to use a chocolate eclair as a sex toy”. I mean, really, what woman hasn’t ?? 😉 You should hear the noises I make when I walk into a real NYC bakery /snort.

      • yttik says:

        LOL! 🙂

      • t says:

        Not defending Paula Deen, but I have one word for those who are OUTRAGED!!!

        That is… HOOOTERS! a restaurant that is pretty much a mecca of all the media charges against Ms. Deen…And not only do they do all of those things, they’ve corporatized and institutionalized the acts.

        A restaurant that indulges daily in sexual exploitation and inuendo — check.
        And which asks a certain sect of the human population to dress in a demeaning way for the amusement of others — check.

        Of course Hooters is okay because they are exploiting womens instead of African American males.

        It’s always okay to do that sheet to the womens.

        • t says:

          But just think if the requirements to work at Hooters was to be African American male and dress in a white suit….OMG the outrage that would ensue. I know the argument — but these women do it voluntarily! So would the men.

          Of course, I’m outraged either way. I would never step foot in a Hooters and wouldn’t allow any man who wants to be part of my life to do so either.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I only go there for the hot wings, I swear!

        • DeniseVB says:

          Oh, I agree t. Let those who cast the first stone, etc, etc.

          It’s definitely a media problem here also, they’re not going after the gal who’s suing Deen (it was over a year ago btw), lots of, uhm, baggage in that young lady’s past, but WHO put her up to a 1.2 million dollar lawsuit for a “hostile” workplace ?

          Day-um, the whole Deen thing seems to just be a case of a randy older southern woman’s off-color jokes than the employee being threatened with shackles, chains and/or lesbian sex or you’re fired type of crap.

          You would think Paula was running for President?

      • Erica says:

        Okay, I just spent the evening with some really funny women and that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all night.

    • DeniseVB says:

      oops, my Deen comment wasn’t meant to nest under the Attkisson tweet, but I hit reply to respond to you, but decided to respond to the tweet instead. Forgot to cancel reply and…oh, nevermind….thinking of chocolate eclairs tends to do that to me 😉

  16. HELENK says:

    why is this not a surprise?

    we are still finding stuff slipped into obamacare that the congress had to pass without reading

  17. yttik says:

    Freedom of the press should extend long and far and they should be given the benefit of the doubt, especially with gov secrets. I would have few exceptions, perhaps a handful of nat’l security issues related to war, such as when Geraldo was discussing troop locations and future battle plans.

    Also, people like paparazzi should at some point be charged with harassment, but only when they run someone off the rode or endanger lives. LOL, on the other hand, it should be perfectly legal to hit them when they do get in your face.

  18. Anthony says:

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