BOSTON (CBS) – This is a moment that reminds us of why we value freedom of the press, as it should. If you aren’t appalled by what those thugs did in Paris, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.
But once the guilty are rounded up and the dead are buried, will the righteous outrage fade along with the story?
You’d have to think it will, based on some other non-lethal but also disturbing challenges to that freedom right here at home.
As Northeastern University journalism Professor Dan Kennedy points out in a blog posting, while we’re venting about the terrorism in France, there will be no cameras in the federal courtroom for the trial of our very own accused terrorist, you know his name. As Prof. Kennedy puts it: he “may be sentenced to die on our behalf — yet we are being denied the right to watch the justice system at work.”
The First Amendment doesn’t guarantee cameras in all courts, but it does protect public access to what’s said in open court, a right a Maine District Court judge just tried to ignore by banning coverage of testimony by a defendant.
And if there’s a good reason why a member of that St. Louis grand jury that let the cop in Ferguson walk shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it now that the case is over, I’m all ears.
Prof. Kennedy writes: “What all of these cases have in common is the belief by some government officials that the press and the public should be treated like mushrooms: watered and in the dark.”
And we all know what happens to mushrooms when someone decides to trample all over them.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.
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