The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

But Is The Reverse True? 

I'm certainly not live blogging the confirmation hearings... in fact I'm pretty jaded about the whole thing. But I did see this article on MSNBC regarding questions about media access:

The government should not bar the media from recording events to which the public has access, such as the government’s response and recovery effort from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, chief justice nominee John Roberts told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"There is great difficulty whenever you try to distinguish between public rights and media rights," Roberts said, responding to a question from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. during his confirmation hearing.

"If it's a situation in which the public is being given access, you can't discriminate against the media and say, as a general matter, that the media don't have access, because their access rights, of course, correspond with those of the public," Roberts added.

Of course what wasn't covered, or possibly even asked, was whether the reverse was true. If the media has the exact same rights as the general public, does the public have the exact same rights as the media? What does Roberts think about a media exemption to campaign finance laws that might affect bloggers?

Sadly, the original question posed to Roberts was in regards to Katrina... and was obviously a politically motivated jab (I'll give you a moment to get over your shock at such a thought):

Leahy, the committee's ranking Democrat, said he is concerned generally about the Bush administration's policy toward media access. He cited reports that government officials had restricted members of the media from reporting and photographing the cleanup and rescue efforts in New Orleans.

"Suppose (administration officials) felt that the rescue operations of the government, whether it's state, local or federal, was being handled in an inept way, or evacuees are being mistreated," Leahy asked Roberts. "Does that give them a right to bar the media, who may want to expose that?"

Or maybe its because someone in the chain of command thought that family members who lost someone in the hurricane would rather not find out about it by watching their relative's body floating across their television screen. Could it be that simple? Leaning Blue thinks the ban on photographing bodies was wrong, and that the media should have made that decision for themselves. I do actually agree with that. The part I have a hard time swallowing is the one where I know the media will make the wrong choice, and having to live with that.

Maybe I wouldn't be so jaded about the whole thing if the Senators wouldn't try to frame every question in terms of current events that are so obviously politically motivated. Come on guys... just pretend you're not doing this for grandstanding points and ask questions from a broader base. Please? With cherries on top?

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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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