Phone hacking and the journalist

May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Flickr photo by Jamiesrabbits

Flickr photo by Jamiesrabbits

I had briefly heard about the phone hacking debacle from a few tweets and what not. What most people don’t know about journalists is, we really do live by the motto “keep calm and carry on.”

So, the government hacked the Associated Press’ phones? That’s crappy! But now I have to go cover the council meeting/children’s play/downtown march and I don’t have time to sit here and spew hate against the government. I HAVE NEWS TO COVER!

And then two weeks go by, and we think, “What was that phone hacking thing again? The IRS is trying to defame our good name in Benghazi?”

Though, in all seriousness, this issue, on top of the other scandals bursting at the seams, is just another violation that needs to be addressed.

I stand by the First Amendment rights, even when I am upset and angry at the other point of view, even when that other point of view might be wrong or someone just trying to be popular/make money/be a troll. (Westboro Baptist Church, anyone?)

And what I care about, REALLY, REALLY care about, is freedom of the press. Maybe it is because I love my job so much, and maybe because yellow journalism is a thing of the past (right?), but we are civil servants who try to educate and inform the populace. Journalists don’t get paid very well (at least in newspapers), so we must REALLY love our job to stick with it for 20, 30, 40 or more years. (I have NO idea how long my boss Jim has been a journalist, but I could totally be his granddaughter.)

So, what the Department of Justice violated a law — a very old law that has been here since the beginning of our great nation, and the FIRST law, of all things!

And I am not the only person who is angry: Many news organizations are coming out with statements condemning the actions, including the Society of Professional Journalists. The Miami Herald wrote an editorial stating that the hacking is a violation of the First Amendment.

Despite my griping about it being against the First Amendment, (though, listening in on phone calls IS illegal in the United States,) apparently law enforcement agencies need to do very little to get my phone records and other digital information. ProPublica published a descriptive list of what law enforcement can get away with with just a subpoena or not even that.

So, where do we go from here?

Well, punish those who did the illegal activities. Cops chase down DUI drivers, drug dealers and robbers, to name a few. They are punished, and so should these people who hacked the phones.

Another things we must do is push for better legislation to protect our rights, such as the Telephone Records Protection Act.

I stand firmly by my profession and all the progress we have accomplished through the years, in order to protect the greater good and the truth.

Here is another awesome article I found, titled “What it takes to be a great journalist today.” 

Let’s hope this issue doesn’t get dusted under the rug, as if journalists don’t even matter.

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