Partisanship Over Spying On Journalists Is Stupid: Spying On Journalists Is Bad, Period

from the stupid-partisans dept

I've said many times before that I'm not a member of any political party, nor a fan of partisanship in general, and that means most political parties are a ridiculous concept to me, because they're more focused on "beating the other guy" than doing what's right. This often becomes quite clear when power shifts from one party to the other, and people who used to complain about too much power in the executive suddenly want more power for "their guy" or vice versa. The latest example of this on display can be seen in the partisan response to the DOJ spying on AP reporters.

On the Republican side, politicians are reasonably up in arms about this, but they seem to ignore that when "their guy" was in the Oval Office, they were very much in favor of having the DOJ sift through reporters' emails. On the Democratic side, you have groups like Media Matters, ridiculously destroying its own credibility by coming out with talking points about how the DOJ did the right thing in spying on reporters. Basically, it's all about "defend your guy / attack the other guy" no matter what the situation is. This obviously isn't true across the board -- there certainly have been some party members "crossing lines" to express horror at this kind of surveillance.

Frankly, this kind of partisanship is part of why so few people trust Congress. It seems like a pretty clear case of what's good and right, and spying on journalists' communications is generally considered not right. A principled stance would be to oppose that, no matter which party is in power. When positions are staked out clearly based on partisanship, the public loses whatever little trust it has that the government has its best interests in mind.


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  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 23rd, 2013 @ 3:10pm

    "It seems like a pretty clear case of what's good and right, and spying on journalists' communications is generally considered not right."
    One could make the logical argument that spying on any citizen; regardless of their function in society; is likely a key step towards a martial-law/fascist governance...

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), May 23rd, 2013 @ 3:12pm

    I agree 100%. I've always held that Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin.

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, May 23rd, 2013 @ 3:17pm

    Would you go far as "Spying Is Bad, Period"?

    I doubt it. A general statement would put Google into the picture, as it's the biggest spy agency around.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Would you go far as "Spying Is Bad, Period"?

    trollololol

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 3:55pm

    Re:

    Anyone who thinks otherwise is either naive or in denial.

     

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    horse with no name, May 23rd, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    However

    While spying on journalists is bad in theory, in reality the line isn't that simple. Just being a journalist doesn't suddenly make someone morally perfect or unable to commit a crime.

    When a journalists encourages or helps with theft of documents or materials, are the being a journalist or being a thief? Are they participating in a whistle blowing operation or a conspiracy to steal?

    Journalists do get some special protections under the law, but they don't get a free pass.

     

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    Anonymous Hero (namefags are attention seekers), May 23rd, 2013 @ 4:22pm

    UpBoat please. My E-Penis and Ego needs stroking

    The media said nothing when the government started reading our emails and spying on us.


    Media NOW..... boo fucking Hoo they are spying on us


    Welcome to our world, media.
    Maybe if you had done your job, being our watchmen of government. Nevermind, I am sure the White House's Corespondent's dinner was nice, and you will get that access to politicians you lust after.

     

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    Michael, May 23rd, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    Re: However

    Just being a journalist doesn't suddenly make someone morally perfect or unable to commit a crime

    So what you are saying is that it should be ok for the government to spy on anyone that is morally imperfect? Morality is, by definition, subjective. Your standard makes everyone a surveillance target.

    This is not a case of "don't spy on the reporters that are suspected of criminal activity", this is a case of spying on them simply because they are journalists.

     

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    DOJ, May 23rd, 2013 @ 4:24pm

    Step 1: Control the media

    Mike, for not reporting favorably about us you can expect to be spied upon.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Would you go far as "Spying Is Bad, Period"?

    Idiot!

     

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    PRMan, May 23rd, 2013 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    Unless you have a warrant because the person is a suspected criminal...

     

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    Squid Lips, May 23rd, 2013 @ 5:23pm

    At what point is the Congressional approval rating low enough for us to decide that the partisan lockdown we've been in for the last 50 years is unacceptable? I would have said somewhere below 10%, but we've been below 10% for about as long as I can remember.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), May 23rd, 2013 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:

    or seriously stupid ... wait ... that would mean that over 90% of the voting population is stupid.

     

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    The Old Man in The Sea, May 23rd, 2013 @ 5:29pm

    Political Parties, partisan politics and we

    Political parties are there only to polarise the issues not provide solutions.

    Partisan politics are the polarisation of issues not the solution.

    When we can see everything that the government does (every door opened, every document available, every meeting entered and every communication revealed) then and only then would we be able to trust them with spying on us. We would see exactly what is going on.

    This will never happen as there are "too many secrets". Movie reference anyone?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 5:41pm

    DOJ is Partisan

    When a "party" is put in the WH, it gets to pick it's Atty Gen/DOJ players.

    Thus, outrage of a DOJ that has the power to tap my phone without a warrant, tap 1st Amendment Protected reports, monitor this post & put me in jail for their reasons MUST go straight to the President's desk (R or D) for hiring the people who carry out such activities.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Would you go far as "Spying Is Bad, Period"?

    You don't know what spying is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds about right to me.

     

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    horse with no name, May 23rd, 2013 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: However

    So what you are saying is that it should be ok for the government to spy on anyone that is morally imperfect?

    I said that journalists are human like the rest of us, and shouldn't get a pass because they happen to have the magic press card. It the same thing as the police investigating other police for committing crimes, having the uniform doesn't mean that the person isn't capable of crime.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2013 @ 8:22pm

    Re: However

    Spying on journalists isn't only bad in theory, it is bad in reality.

    News organizations are referred to as "the Fourth Estate", which is from the Edmund Burke quote that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, "in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all."

    The role of the Fourth Estate is to keep the other three "estates" or "branches" of our government--the executive, the judiciary, and the legislature--honest. Journalists cannot keep the government honest if people are afraid to report wrongdoing on the part of the government to the Fourth Estate, which is exactly what this particular bit of spying was meant to do--frighten whistleblowers.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), May 23rd, 2013 @ 9:20pm

    Follow the "shoot all the lawyers" philosophy

    If we killed all the lawyers (except mine - I need him to play banjo in our bluegrass band), then we would get rid of 98% of the corrupt politicians in government at the same time... :-)

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 24th, 2013 @ 1:45am

    Re: Political Parties, partisan politics and we

    This will never happen as there are "too many secrets". Movie reference anyone?
    Unfortunately, even with a magic answering machine to decrypt all (apparantly american only) computer systems, politics and politicians are unlikely to change while our "democracies" are such that it is a de facto requirement to be beholden to corporations in order to get elected.

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), May 24th, 2013 @ 1:50am

    Re: Follow the "shoot all the lawyers" philosophy

    If we killed all the lawyers (except mine - I need him to play banjo in our bluegrass band)
    I'm pretty sure that won't do much about politicians (other than the ones that are also lawyers, which is a good start), but it's an excellent plan anyway. Yours can just have a lobotomy instead.... a bit of plastic surgery to enlarge his ears and he'll be good to go for the band and a far more useful member of society :-)

     

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  23.  
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    relghuar, May 24th, 2013 @ 3:44am

    Sounds good :-)

    "little trust ... that the government has its best interests in mind"

    I understand this is taken a bit out of context, but it came out so very nicely I couldn't resist... because I personally trust very strongly that the government has only its best interests in mind :-D

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 24th, 2013 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    The greatest trick the two parties every played on the voters was convincing them they were different.

     

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    toyotabedzrock (profile), May 26th, 2013 @ 10:10pm

    Technically it was the political arm of media matters, which is not written by the same people.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Really, Bonehead wants info on gov. spying on civiiians??? When I worked at EarthLink in 2000 we knew about the NSA program, all phone calls from overseas and all e-mails are tracked and have been tracked for decades by both Bush administrations as well as the Clinton Administration. Another separate program tracks the data from all calls and e-mails inside the USA. So you think the conspiracy theorists are pulling this stuff out of their imaginations??? It is not just Verizon, it is every company that provides wire, wireless / analog or digital and beyond. And they can zero in on individual calls if needed. This is not a TV show.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 6th, 2013 @ 10:43am

    listening to phones, etc.

    Really, Bonehead wants info on gov. spying on civiiians??? When I worked at EarthLink in 2000 we knew about the NSA program, all phone calls from overseas and all e-mails are tracked and have been tracked for decades by both Bush administrations as well as the Clinton Administration. Another separate program tracks the data from all calls and e-mails inside the USA. So you think the conspiracy theorists are pulling this stuff out of their imaginations??? It is not just Verizon, it is every company that provides wire, wireless / analog or digital and beyond. And they can zero in on individual calls if needed. This is not a TV show.

     

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