Free Speech

Sometimes the Headline Says it All

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"Tabloids don't deserve the 1st Amendment: Our respect for freedom of the press shelters their illegal conduct."

Thanks to Ken Basart for the link.

NEXT: SF Reasonoids: Gillespie & Welch in Town on Sunday July 24, Monday July 25

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  1. Crime is crime. Tabloid journalism uses illegal tactics, and it does not deserve absolute protection from the 1st Amendment.

    What part of ‘illegal’ don’t you understand?!1!!?!?!!1

    1. Having RTFA, I tend to agree with the sentiment. The headline really doesn’t say it properly at all.

      Freedom of the press covers the right to publish, it doesn’t give you carte blanche to use extortion, hacking, theft, etc. to go after the story. That is, it protects the ends, not the means.

      But that also applies to journalists who think that they shouldn’t have to give up their sources when subpoena’d — press freedom is something that everyone has, so either the legal measures used against them are invalid altogether, or they get no special protection.

      1. Don’t blame the author for the stupid headline. He does not make the claim of the headline.

  2. Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a former tabloid reporter who now practices criminal and media law.

    And then this says what’s left.

    1. Apparently he wasn’t paying attention in con law.

  3. “There oughtta be a LAW! And if the law doesn’t work the way I want, fuck it. We need a dictator!”

    1. Give us a call.

  4. What a fucking moron. What business are you in, dude?

    Obviously, illegal conduct, like wiretapping, theft, whatever, is punishable as such. Even with speech, one can sue over certain varieties of false statements.

    1. And in Britain, where this went down, they can sue for true statements if they huwt thew woyoh feewens.

      1. And no absolute bar against the government restricting speech, either, of course.

        1. i took a hate crimes investigator (train the trainer ) class with some canadian cops and they were AMAZED at the speech in the US that is legal, that is illegal there. canada has a system much like england, when it comes to speech – if it upsets “civility” or makes “people of color” feel badly, it can be prosecuted. heck, even TRUTH is not a defense (that’s case law).

          they were simply astonised that, for example, a guy can walk down the street in full nazi regalia and that;s legal.

          we really are the last bastion of free speech (at least that i am aware of)

          1. Pretty much. I don’t think any other comes close. One of the reasons we stay relatively high on those freedom indices.

            1. Reality? Not so much.

              Ever try wearing a t-shirt that reads, “bong hits for jesus”?

              Ever hear of the “commercial speech” doctrine? Funny, you can’t find it in the First Amendment?

              Ever try telling a judge that both he, and his courtroom, are a joke?

              Ever attempt to provide the media and other citizens with video tapes of the Regime’s mass murdering of Iraqi women and infants?

              Pro Lib, you have come too far to buy any kind of bullshit which purports to smell like the very eden of liberty.

              1. All I said was “relatively high.” We’re nowhere near where I want us to be.

              2. Ever try telling a judge that both he, and his courtroom, are a joke?

                This right here. You could be in the middle of a free speech case, but if you say something the judge doesn’t like he can throw you in jail for contempt of court??? The only thing that upset me about the Casey Anthony trial was when some guy got 6 days in jail for flipping the prosecution the bird.

          2. that’s only true to a degree, when you consider certain types of speech. Free Speech in general? Not so much compared to other countries concerning some sexual speech, considering the unprotected status of obscenity, how it’s completely defined after the fact (and subjectively so) and many cases that have gone on so far.

    2. “Obviously, illegal conduct, like wiretapping, theft, whatever, is punishable as such.”

      I think his point was that, while it technically is prosecutable as such, prosecutors didn’t want to pursue it for fear of being labeled as attacking freedom of the press. If most people (journalists in particular) properly understood what press freedom did and did not cover, this would not be an issue.

  5. Although the law provides us with the tools we need to punish crimes related to free speech, the judicial system is too quick to bow before the 1st Amendment, and as a result we end up shielding criminals who misrepresent themselves as journalists and activists.

    Damn cowards hiding behind their “rights”.

    1. “[M]isrepresent themselves as journalists and activists?” Is he kidding? So, what really matters is that the speaker is speaking for great social justice and isn’t unmutual like, say, someone over at Fox News. Or at Reason.

      1. Golly, wonder who’ll get to decide that in the great future.

        1. like liberals who support the fairness doctrine, this attitude is entirely unsurprising. many of these people do truly believe that ONLY the right ideas deserve protection and that it is the job of govt. to determine who are the proper gatekeepers of those ideas.

        2. A Commission of the Very, Very Committed.

      2. Unmutual! I nominate you for Instant Social Conversion!

      3. No, I believe he means that they are trying to sneak non-press/speech activity (like bribery or assault) under the umbrella of press/speech protection, and right or not, the judicial system often lets them get away with it.

    2. I know, everyone knows that you should only be allowed break the law if you are a Super Duper Official Journalist. If any jackass who makes content public could start acting as though they have “freedom of the press”, how would J-School graduates be legally recognized as more equal than the other animals?

  6. I’m reasonably certain bribing a prosecutor to gain access to evidence in an ongoing investigation is illegal, no matter who does it.

    1. It’s not illegal if The Los Angeles Times does it.

    2. no matter who does it.

      nah 60 minutes is allowed to do that.

  7. Can I just say that although I am not a Rupert Murdoch fan, my respect for him increased today?

    I mean, his cute young Asian wife, who I assumed was just a gold digger, stepped up to the plate to try to kick protestor ass when somebody hassled her husband.

    He’s gotta be doing something right to inspire that kind of loyalty. After all, by all lights his wife should be hoping for someone to punch him into a coma, and not jumping up to try to STOP somebody charging him.

    1. Can I just say that although I am not a Rupert Murdoch fan

      Breaking laws to report government secrets to the public…

      I am becoming more and more of a fan of his everyday.

      1. Shit, I always knew that celebrities and “celebrities” were the real shadow government.

        1. Shit, I always knew that celebrities and “celebrities” were the real shadow government.

          I read something above or in the article about hacking into police and prosecutor’s files.

          1. There was some of that, but I think they were just looking for information about bullshit tabloid stories.

    2. “He’s gotta be doing something right to inspire that kind of loyalty.”

      Maybe hiding his transgressions as well as Arnold did when Maria stepped up to defend him during his run for Governator? We know how well THAT turned out.

  8. Non-left wing news outlets don’t deserve the 1st Amendment

    Corrected for accuracy.

    1. Um, he was whining about all the liberal anti war protestors he wasn’t able to throw in jail too. Why does this have to be a team red/team blue thing; this guy is just a fucking statist. He hates tabloids because, unlike the establishment media, they don’t do whatever the government tells them to.

      1. Why does this have to be a team red/team blue thing

        Cuz this whole circus is a politically motivated attack. To point this out is not making it Red vs Blue. I am only observing what it is.

        Also my comment was more of Team red vs everyone they don’t like rather then a team red vs team blue thing.

        The Sun is not a strictly team blue rag. It was pretty supportive of Labour and Tony Blair in his day.

        1. I actually didn’t know he was a political hack until I read “journalists and activists.” Pretty clear which way you bat when you say things like that.

          1. Not a statist could be correct and Jeffrey Scott Shapiro may be sim-ply an all around statist with both left wing and right wing authoritarian instincts. I have not read the article nor do i know who the guy is.

            My comments mostly center around the double standard being applied to News Corp vs other media companies and outlets.

            NYT had pretty close ties with Wikileaks yet i do not see calls being made to drag the NYTs executives and owners before the senate.

            1. Murdoch is associated with Faux news. Faux News is the devil. Get with the program. This is a win for all reality-based people.

            2. Didn’t the NYT publish the Pentagon Papers which Ellsberg (sp?) broke the law to get?

        2. Also my comment was more of Team red vs everyone they don’t like rather then a team red vs team blue thing.

          opps i mean team blue vs everyone else.

          Of course in England the Reds are team red so I might be forgiven that mistake.

      2. No, he was “whining” that judges treated people that tried to assault public officials as if they were simply exercising their first amendment right to protest. I’m taking him at his word about the facts of the situation, of course, but that was his argument.

        It’s almost like a lot of people read the headline (which was probably written by someone else), decided he was an asshole, and then framed everything he said in order to confirm that suspicion.

    2. And the rest of Americans don’t deserve the others.

  9. I take this opportunity to promote a Medal of Freedom award for Larry Flynt – the true First Amendment warrior in my lifetime.

    His outhouse parody of Jerry Falwell truly was a seminal moment in SCOTUS history.

    Thanks, Larry.

    1. Flynt is trying to open a Hustler store here in Minneapolis.

      The neighborhood is going crazy even though there is a gay fetish store and a lezbo (they’re cool chicks) boutique in the same ‘hood.

      1. By the way, shriek, I think Hef is the standard-bearer for free speech over Flynt.

    2. Every time Obama opens his mouth, I have a seminal moment.

  10. 99% of all blogs, 100% of all ICP songs, and over half of what’s on television doesn’t deserve the First Amendment. But “deserving” doesn’t come into play when liberty is at stake, you fucking douchenozzle.

    1. You’re arrogant enough to deny these top men the right to force their frame of reference on the internets? BAHBAHRIK

      1. Wait, not just the tubes! oh well.

  11. I note from the article that this guy’s OTHER complaint about the 1st Amendment is that while he was a DC prosecutor it prevented him from getting the death penalty for crimes like dancing at the Jefferson Memorial.

  12. Tabloids don’t deserve the 1st Amendment

    By the way a tabloid in England is not protected by the first amendment…

    England has no 1rst amendment.

    1. Dammit! When are they going to get around to amending that Magna Charta?

    2. Weekly World News keeps covering bat-boy!

    3. it also has no right to remain silent (it CAN be used against you), no automatic exclusionary rule, much broader search and seizure powers, etc.

      and god knows, no right to self-defense, let alone keep and bear arms

      1. Hey man you will get no argument out of me.

        England fucking sucks.

        1. We should liberate it. I mean, swords are illegal in Scotland?

          1. I mean, swords are illegal in Scotland?

            Don’t forget they also outlawed glass beer pints.

            When the Mcgruffs and the McBeths can’t shatter glass over each others heads in drunken rages there can be no liberty.

          2. I am replying to ProL…I want to be clear that I am replying to ProL’s comment here.

            The fact that the English government doesn’t “recognize” the inherent rights of its citizens is irrelevant to the fact they still have them. Calling something a 1st amendment right and continuing to speak as if the only rights one has are ones that are recognized by the government belies the true belief of the speaker, that of statism. When the speaker is a “person” who works for the State this goes truly to their mindset and one should take care to not encourage or associate with someone who believes you have no right but those granted. Else you run the risk of oppression by these same individuals. Only derision and contempt should be held for those who support such notions and who act on behalf of the state in a capacity to enforce these abhorrent beliefs.

            1. No argument here. Even the Constitution, adhered to strictly, is an imperfect document. If I choose to accept it and the government it permits, it’s a choice I make every day. No government grants me rights–I have them already.

            2. I am replying to ProL…I want to be clear that I am replying to ProL’s comment here.

              Why don’t you want to reply to me?

              sad face

              =(

              1. Join me, lad, in removing the English pestilence from the shores of fair Scotland. FREEEEE-DOOOOOMMMMMM!

                1. I am still replying to ProL and maybe jc:

                  I know you agree…not why i said it.
                  For ProL

                2. Join me, lad, in removing the English pestilence from the shores of fair Scotland. FREEEEE-DOOOOOMMMMMM!

                  The fact that the Scotts are neighbors to my ancestors and speak the same language and share considerable amount of history and tradition with my ancestors I cannot join you.

                  As any descendant from the isle of Britain can tell you, your neighbor is your enemy and they must die bloody and horrible deaths.

                  1. Well, okay, provided that swords and food based on dares are involved.

  13. Although the law provides us with the tools we need to punish crimes related to free speech, the judicial system is too quick to bow before the 1st Amendment, and as a result we end up shielding criminals who misrepresent themselves as journalists and activists.

    I look forward to taking the journalists and activists state licensing exam.

  14. It’s a Fourth Estate mentality. If some government official “leaks” classified information to the Washington Post to explain “official policy,” than that’s okay, because it ostensibly serves to order society. Tabloids on the other hand, only serve to entertain, which for a Fourth Estater can never be a lofty goal.

    1. “Tabloids on the other hand, only serve to entertain, which for a Fourth Estater can never be a lofty goal.”

      John Edwards disagrees.

    2. Good point Jerry. Don’t “leakers” and “whistleblowers” often violate laws pertaining to confidentiality, trade secrets, etc? Are reporters who receive these illegally-leaked materials “criminals?” If not, why not?

      And aren’t reporters who refuse to disclose their sources when directed to do so by a judge acting “illegally” too?

  15. Oh, I love false dichotomies.

    You know, it just might be possible to be a criminal and a journalist or activist at the same time. These are not mutually exclusive by any means. And I don’t think that the news of the world people were just pretending to be journalists to help their cellphone hacking careers.

    1. ^^^^THIS

    2. it just might be possible to be a criminal and a journalist or activist at the same time.

      I.F. Stone?

  16. “Tabloids don’t deserve the 1st Amendment: Our respect for freedom of the press shelters their illegal conduct.”

    The First Amendment was written only for us, the true priests… uh, sorry, Journalists.

    1. “We are the journolist, of the temple, of SYYYRNINXXX!”

      1. Temple of Syrinx having the bake sale of the year.

    2. “accused criminals don’t deserve the 4th, 5th amendment. our respect for limited govt. intrusion into people’s affairs shelters their illegal conduct”

  17. In this day and age if your phone gets hacked because you failed to change the PIN or used a PIN like 1234 then you suck, you were going to get hacked by somebody eventually, you likely got off light with just personal VM’s being hacked, and you have nobody to blame but yourself. A Murdoch is as a Murdoch does, and scumbags will hack you if you let them. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to people’s transgressions and change your damn default PIN

    1. Her phone was dressed provocatively. you could tell it wanted to be hacked.

    2. my pin is 1111. I hate having to type odd strings of numbers on a tiny keyboard. But when they hack into my phone, they’re going really get the shit on me. VMs from people I don’t want to talk to, VMs from my wife asking me to pick up some brussel sprouts, old text messages that say “be there in few minutes”. Yeah, my life will be destroyed.

      1. VMs from my wife asking me to pick up some brussel sprouts

        If your wife serves you brussel sprouts, you don’t HAVE a life.

        ;P

        1. Are you kidding? Properly prepared (e.g., thinly sliced and stir-fried with balsamic vinegar, chopped bacon and light seasoning), brussels sprouts are truly delicious. My wife serves them to me (prepared as described above and in several other tasty ways) and not only do I have a life — at those moments, I enjoy the GOOD life.

  18. Threadjack:

    Tristane Banon’s mother is going to say she was raped by DSK in 2000.

    Also Socialist Party officials were involved in advising her mother and Banon not to report it.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2…..ailed-24h5

    1. She and that African slut probably have the same pimp. No one can trust women about rape, bitches lie.

  19. Freedom of the press–properly understood as the freedom to publish without fear of government censorship or reprisal–is important. Unfortunately in the United States we do not have a government-recognized “right to privacy” per se (I believe that no rights can come from the government; however much of the U.S. might disagree and therefore a Constitutional right to privacy is essential).

    The circus that is Nancy Grace and Co. during the Casey Anthony trial is absolutely disgusting and a direct slap in the face to what “freedom of the press” is supposed to be. Tabloid journalism infringing on people’s freedoms to do what they want is appalling. We need a social contract similar to the one envisioned by Heinlein in For Us, The Living in order to truly appreciate our rights. A social sphere and a private sphere respected by all people. Let gays be gay. Let polygamists prosper. Let people who practice santeria do so freely. As long as they are doing so in the private sphere, what business is it of crotchety grandfathers and over-caffeinated soccer moms?

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