Wednesday, April 14, 2004

It's impossible to know how many guilty secrets the White House is hiding in documents they refuse to turn over to the 9/11 Commission. For all anybody knows, there's nothing "guilty" about them, and withholding them is just spiteful stubbornness. Sure, I know it's unlikely to be only spiteful stubbornness, but it's possible. Just remember what we saw last week in the judiciary branch of the White House when a federal marshal confiscated reporters' tape recordings of a public speech by Justice Scalia. What? Scalia was speaking about the Constitution when the incident occurred! Bob Herbert of the Times consulted a professor of media, ethics, and the law. He says Ms. Kirtland felt it was an affront to the Constitution to seize those tapes and also a violation of the Privacy Protection Act of 1980. The Act "'protects journalists not just from newsroom searches,' she said, 'but from the seizure of their work product material . . . like these tapes or digital recordings.'" Herbert concludes that "[T]he power brokers have gone mad. They've deluded themselves into thinking they're royalty, not public servants . . . ."

Scalia did apologize this week for the incident, though. He wrote to one of the reporters, "I was as upset as you were." Uh-huh. Last year he prevented radio and television coverage of a ceremony in which he received an award for supporting free speech. Talk about irony-challenged. No, if he was upset, it was because of the bad press. I don't know who did the finger-wagging, but I'd guess somebody got in his face and told him that confiscating those tapes was beyond embarrassing, it was probably illegal.

These right wingers--Bush, Scalia, Cheney, et. al.--treat information like money. Something to be withheld from the lower classes.


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