CNN Contributor and "Journalist of the Year": Why Do People Need to Know So Much Darn News that the Government Would Rather They Didn't Know?


The DOJ's gun-running "Fast and Furious" operation raises such tender feelings toward government secrecy in the part of people in the news business!

See LZ Granderson writing at CNN's web site with an absolutely award-winning lead sentence for a work of journalism by a journalist–a "journalist of the year" no less, according to the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association:

We are a nosy country.

Though to be fair, it's not entirely our fault. Between the 24/7 news cycle, social media and reality TV, we have been spoon fed other people's private business for so long we now assume it's a given to know everything. And if there are people who choose not to disclose, they must be hiding something. Being told that something's "none of your business" is slowly being characterized as rude, and if such a statement is coming from the government, it seems incriminating.

Our congresspeople's weird desire to learn all the details of a botched operation that killed a federal agent is then analogized to obsessions over Lindsey's collapses or Snooki's pregnancy:

I know that's hard to digest in a society where pregnancies and marriages of D-list celebrities make the cover of People magazine, but there comes a point where the public's right to know needs to take a back seat to matters like national security and diplomacy.

Granderson goes on to say its the very fact that the government has a steady pattern of these idiot gun-running schemes that raises them to the level of obviously superimportant national security secret–and makes the government's desire to keep it all on the downlow not just, you know, a way to make sure no high government official has to lose his phoney-baloney job.

And you know what? Reagan did it (tried to keep secrets) too! So there, Republican congresspeople!


You see, freedom isn't entirely free.

And as for these various pre- and maybe post-"Fast and Furious" gunrunning programs"

Were they legal?

Hell no.

Were they effective?

Who knows?

Well, then, shouldn't we want to know? Nah. You know why?

Were they done as a way to keep America safe?


Thus, there is no need for us to know much if anything about anything government does, unless it chooses to tell us. It would help "save journalism" as well by the great cost-cutting in D.C. bureaus.

And in conclusion, Granderson sums up the news, and in the great tradition of "a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary:" tells us what it all means:

We have allowed weapons to cross the Mexican border and into the hands of criminals for years. Many of these weapons were involved in killing innocent Mexicans. There's nothing very admirable about that. But the truth is, it's very American….

And maybe it's better for us not to be so nosy, not to know everything because, to paraphrase the famous line from the movie "A Few Good Men," many of us won't be able to handle the truth.

You know? Maybe it is better for us to "not be so nosy"! I remember what I learned in journalism school, where alas I got too many "C"s: "The business of the journalist is to cover up for the corrupt criminals in government, and to give each other awards. Comfort, affliction, blah de blah." 

See Reason's fightin' Nick Gillespie taking on Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher on the same topic last week: