Welcome to America, in the year 2013.
We have a president who recently said, when discussing the government’s prosecution of information leakers, that we “need to strike the right balance between our security and an open society.” He also has talked about Americans having to compromise a little freedom in exchange for security.
The president was referring to people such as Edward Snowden, who revealed the National Security Administration’s sweeping surveillance of Americans’ cellphone activity. This revelation sparked a firestorm of criticism of the NSA and Obama’s administration.
Let there be no mistake — Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are under attack.
They have been for quite some time, but the attack has become more apparent and vigorous this past year. There was Snowden, then there was the federal seizure of Associated Press phone records, and situations around the country where journalists were ordered to reveal sources or face “indefinite imprisonment.”
Recently, Jana Winter of Foxnews.com faced down this threat by refusing to reveal to a Colorado judge the sources who told her about how the Aurora theater shooter sent a notebook full of details of his murderous plans to a university psychiatrist prior to the attack. The judge demanded she reveal her anonymous sources or go to jail indefinitely. She refused.
An appellate court backed Winter and the First Amendment by ruling in mid-December that she will not be forced to name her sources.
That’s one win in a long line of recent government infringements on the First Amendment.
This erosion must stop.
Quoting from a prior Tribune editorial, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin hit the right note when he said, “People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both."
We stand for freedom and support those who hold the line.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to email@example.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.