I’m trying to understand where the line between the 1st Amendment and a person’s right to privacy is. Tonight in my Intro to Political Science class we just started covering mass media and very briefly mentioned the incident about The Pentagon Papers. I tried to talk to my teacher after class but she wasnt very clear in her answers. The way she made it sound a member of the Press could steal my mail or break into my house, hack into my computer, and publish any documents he found without any reprecussions (a la The Pentagon Papers). So my question is, obviously, where is the line?
Also, what about medical information? Suppose a person had some condition, lets make one up and call it Bob’s Disease. Now suppose they hadn’t made the fact that they have Bob’s Disease public and you couldn’t tell to look at them, it wasn’t like a broken leg or anything. This brings up two questions, 1) Can the papers just start running stories about the person having Bob’s Disease, regardless how they got the information? Wether they stole the records or what not? 2) What if you had a close friend and you told them, them being so close and all. If you piss em off can they go on TV and tell everybody or go blab to the papers and then they run a story? It seems to me that people have no real privacy, at least thats how my teacher made it out. In fact she told me after class, “They can write whatever they damn well please.” Can anyone shed some light on the facts of this matter?