Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Tue, Apr 13 2004

The Constitution In Action

I'm still confused. Did Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia order a deputy U.S. marshal to seize the tapes of two journalists in Mississippi, or did he not? And how do you erase tapes that aren't tapes? Or was only one journalist using tapes and the other using digital hardware to record? (I believe that's what has been established in more recent stories). And, as the deputy marshal's boss, Nehemiah Flowers suggested, could such an obvious move to prevent journalists from doing their work really have been handled with "a little more finesse"? I'm not sure how that could happen, since we do have freedom of the press in this country. If a sensitive guy like Justice Scalia doesn't like his public remarks recorded for posterity, that says a lot to me about how stuff rolls downlhill. If the guy doesn't like to be recorded, why is he giving speeches in front of crowds? The two journalists weren't doing anything but their job. Everybody else involved in this fray needs a good clue, and that begins with Justice Scalia. Maybe he should just stay home and send in a clone next time, especially if he's planning to talk about the ideals of our U.S. Constitution. On the other hand, the students at that school certainly learned a lot more about the Constitution now that there's a public outcry defending it. In the end, maybe this flurry of power-grabbing wasn't such a bad thing to have happened.

I've noticed that sometimes, rather than jumping on a story and writing, it's fun to just sit back and wait until a whole lot of other people pounce on an event like this one and dash off editorials and stories full of facts and opinions. Then I watch the verbal pummeling begin. When all the flaming settles down a bit, the recurring truth generally rises to the top. I'll bet Denise Grones and Antoinette Konz will never forget this incident and will never again allow themselves to be bullied into giving up their journalistic responsibility and rights. Their future stories will ride atop an undercurrent of personally tried-and-tested freedom of the press for the rest of their careers. It's nice to know that when even a U.S. Supreme Court kind of guy screws up that Americans (including journalists) everywhere can be heard standing up for the principles of the Constitution. It says a lot about how really privileged we are to be Americans.

posted at: 09:17 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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