GOP Trying to Silence Left Wing Media – Starting With Fascist 1st Amendment Exemptions
The Trump Administration has long maintained that the real problem in the Russia scandal — and every other concurrent scandal — is that of leakers who have revealed information about these items to the press. In this light, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced at a recent White House press conference that the Department of Justice would be reviewing its policies regarding issuing subpoenas against media organizations for potential situations where the government may wish to force them to reveal the identities of leakers.
Sessions’ announcement was unsurprisingly met with by a significant amount of criticism, with at least one media personality — MSNBC’s Chuck Todd — asserting that he would ignore any potential subpoenas against him.
Sessions, however, has found support in the number two Republican in the Senate, Texas’ John Cornyn. Writing on Twitter this Saturday alongside a link from the Washington Post exploring Sessions’ aforementioned recent subpoena announcement, Cornyn asked:
Should journalists, bloggers, and pundits be exempt from laws that apply to all citizens? Yes or no? https://t.co/SBlnZT4mkk
— JohnCornyn (@JohnCornyn) August 5, 2017
Quite simply, the loaded question that Cornyn asks here is inappropriate.
Just because Sen. Cornyn and his allies don’t like certain pieces of information being published in the media doesn’t make it illegal. If the information is out thanks to leakers, there is no reason to hold journalists legally accountable for publishing the information. The First Amendment makes sure of that.
Beyond the First Amendment, the very link that Cornyn posted undercuts his argument, since it cites a Supreme Court case — New York Times v. United States — that establishes that journalists are permitted to publish classified information they receive. That case dealt with the controversial publication of the Pentagon Papers, classified documents which detailed American involvement in the Vietnam War.
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski replied to Cornyn on Twitter by noting that him postulating whether or not journalists should be held legally accountable for leaks “seems very different from the opinion [he] expressed in 2013. [He] said focus on leakers not journalists.”
— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) August 5, 2017
Cornyn replied back at Kaczynski by writing, “Still makes sense to me.”
Kaczynski obviously wasn’t alone in his criticism of Sen. Cornyn for jumping on the Trump Administration’s bandwagon of attacking the press.
As POLITICO reporter John Bresnahan put it:
This is not the right question. Do you want government agents trying to hunt down people who expose the truth? https://t.co/zZ7kugjcQv
— John Bresnahan (@BresPolitico) August 5, 2017
Check out his and other replies below.