Freedoms are not free

They come with attendant duties and responsibilities. And as the mainstream media is beginning to find out, far too late, if those who claim specific freedoms and rights refuse to uphold those duties, then they do not deserve those freedoms:
New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those who refuse to play along “will be punished.” 
Poynter reports that Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism , communication and government professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America. 
In a speech kicking off the conference, Risen claimed that the Obama administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting” and “create a path for accepted reporting.” Those who stray from that path, he cautioned, “will be punished.” 
The result is a “de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen explained, making the current White House “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” And the media has been “too timid” in pushing back against the onslaught. 
Some of that timidity was on display at the conference. Jeffrey Toobin, a writer for The New Yorker, denied that any constitutional protections for his profession even existed. “It won’t take me long to alienate everyone in the room,” he declared. “For better or worse, it has been clear there is no journalistic privilege under the First Amendment.”
I have no sympathy whatsoever for these poltroons in the Fourth Branch. None whatsoever. These people were supposed to hold the Obarmy Administration accountable for its galactic levels of stupidity and its transparently absurd promises to the American people. For the past six years, they have done exactly nothing of the sort. From the Grey Lady to CNN to the New Yorker, people are turning away from the liberal media in droves because they are beginning to realise- however belatedly and slowly- that they simply cannot trust these fools to do their jobs.

On the broader subject of rights and responsibilities, I must say that the neo-reactionaries of my acquaintance are making ever more sense every day. One of the basic positions of the neoreactionary movement is that there is no such thing as a "natural" right. Their view is that rights must always be balanced by responsibilities- an idea made brilliantly and perfectly clear in a certain classic work of fiction which I hold in the highest regard:
Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal - else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority... other than through the tragic logic of history.
The freedom of the press to report what it pleases, however it pleases, comes with the attendant responsibility to hold those in power accountable for their words and their actions. Modern "journalists"- the vast majority of whom I think of as talentless hacks with very little real interest in truth- who fail to recognise their responsibilities to hold the mighty and powerful accountable are not worthy of the freedoms about which they whine and bleat so loudly. Institutions that worship at the gilded altar of press freedom, such as the New York Times and others of its ilk, have allowed the Obarmies to get away with all manner of craziness, ranging from absurd interpretations of Constitutional law, to gun-running scandals, to attempts to ram through amnesty, and now to its willingness to use drones to hunt down and kill American citizens without due process.

If they will not carry out the duties that come with their freedoms, if they will not hold even those with whom they are ideologically aligned to task, and if they will not do all in their power to resist those who would take their freedoms from them, then what possible right do they have to those freedoms?

And as for that ridiculous assertion above that there is no Constitutional protection for freedom of the press, here is what the language of the First Amendment actually says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
I'm no lawyer, or Constitutional scholar, but that seems pretty clear to me. Not only is the Executive branch radically overstepping its authority and encroaching on the responsibilities of the Legislature, it is acting in direct contravention of both the letter and the spirit of the Law. Is that really so difficult to figure out?

Apparently, it is, at least if you work for the New Yorker. Which also probably explains why I don't read it.


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