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'They only came for WikiLeaks...'
'But now they came for me!'
JOURNOLAND (Rixstep) — 'Yeah he had holes in his socks. Sure he had some of the most important documents ever seen - but he wasn't a journalist! Sure he'd published more in a few years than we'd done in our entire history - but he's not one of us!'
'Sure they're coming for him now - but they're not coming for us!'
Old Media is Dead
Rick Falkvinge put his finger on it long ago when he coined the Swedish term gammelmedia - 'old media'. The old media are dead. Dead. Things have changed. And if journos of the old media still want jobs, they're going to have to find a new place in the big scheme of things.
But most of them resisted. Famously David Leigh, who longed for the analog days of old, went on a campaign to neutralise the newcomer, partnered on a book initially titled 'The Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks', and even penned a screenplay in secret about the demise of the digital era he hated.
But that was then and this is now.
From RCFP to EHH
It's the case of James Risen that finally got them to wake up. From Wikipedia:
Former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling was being investigated during the Bush administration. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, one of the few people in US history whose alleged contact with a journalist was punished under espionage law, part of Obama's crackdown on whistleblowers.
Risen was subpoenaed in relation to the case in 2008. He fought the subpoena and it expired in the summer of 2009.
In what the New York Times called 'a rare step', the Obama administration renewed the subpoena in 2010. In 2011 Risen wrote a detailed response to the subpoena, describing his reasons for refusing to reveal his sources, the public impact of his work, and his experiences with the Bush administration.
In July 2013 the US Court of Appeals from the Fourth Circuit ruled that Risen must testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling.
The court wrote: 'so long as the subpoena is issued in good faith and is based on a legitimate need of law enforcement, the government need not make any special showing to obtain evidence of criminal conduct from a reporter in a criminal proceeding'.
Judge Roger Gregory disagreed with the rest of the judges, writing: 'the majority exalts the interests of the government while unduly trampling those of the press, and in doing so, severely impinges on the press and the free flow of information in our society'.
Gregory's opinion, spookily enough, sounds like one of Barack Obama's whistleblower speeches back in 2008.
'The more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes.' - Barack Obama
And now the matter is before Eric Holder, not exactly an innocent in these troubled times, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have written to him, demanding he wake and shape up.
Although it's probably too late to help Risen, it's interesting to see who's behind the letter.
Fox News is there. Time, the home of Mike Grunwald who longs for a drone to take out WikiLeaks, is there. The three national TV networks are there. CNN is there. Forbes is there. Hearst is there. Daily Beast and McClatchy are there. The New York Fucking Times is there. The New Yorker is there. The Washington Post is there.
And so forth.