Let’s see if I can explain it, without wandering off on a tangent.
In this country, there is a concept of “freedom of the press”. It is a supposedly guaranteed “thing”, and it was put into our constitution, in order to keep the voting public informed about the deeds or misdeeds of our officials. It was also supposedly a way to keep and maintain a certain openness and transparency in the government. This freedom is especially important whenever a government tries to cloak what they do in secrecy, claiming “national security”. If it were not for the press, would anyone have ever found out about Abramoff’s deals, or Libby’s involvement in security leaks? Go further back to the Watergate burglars or the Pentagon papers. A free and unfettered press is a sort of safety valve, which “releases the pressure” of too much greed, incompetence, and corruption in government. It does this by reporting it.
This country is a republic, a form of representative democracy. The people elect their leaders. To do so, they must know the facts. Not the government approved spin, not their poltical party’s sound bites, the facts. They need to know which candidates will serve their interests of philosophies, and also which incumbents have failed or refused to do so.
The press is not supposed to be the government’s mouthpiece. It is not supposed to print or broadcast only those things that are favorable to or authorized by the government. That is manipulation and censorsip. It is misinformation. It is collusion.
As to this latest “project”, I take it this is the program that watches and records our banking activity. This could have been done before, on an as needed basis, by getting the necessary search warrants or authorizations. This program however, is yet another “fishing expedition” into the private and personal business of American citizens without probable cause, or warrants/affirmations/blahblahblah. It is the financial version of the illicit wiretapping that the government has been doing. That was done in a blanket fashion too, and was also done without warrants or authorizations from a judge.
It is the duty of the press to report such things. It is what they are supposed to do. If the press does not report things of such magnituded that effect every citizen, then it has no reason and no right to exsit.
*“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” - The First Amendment
Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political, and religious rights. - Junius
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost. - Thomas Jefferson
“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington
The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure. - Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette
“No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defence. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth whether in religion, law or politics. I think it as honorable to the government neither to know nor notice its sycophants or censors, as it would be undignified and criminal to pamper the former and persecute the latter.” --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792
The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. - Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp
To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves. ~Claude-Adrien Helvétius
The test of democracy is freedom of criticism. ~David Ben-Gurion*