Interested party

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Let’s talk about “public interest” journalism. Public interest is not the doin’s of Paris Hilton, although that interests the public. That’s gossip. Public-interest journalism is when journalists research and publish information that’s in the public’s best interest to know.

Lately, the big to-do is over the New York Times publishing information about our government spying on International financial matters. Members of our government have called for the prosecution of journalists. “Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Homeland Security Committee chairman, declared the leaks ‘treasonous’ and asked the attorney general to investigate ‘the recent actions of the reporters, editors and publisher of the New York Times … for possible criminal prosecution under the Espionage Act,” as reported by William Powers in the National Journal.

Punishment for espionage can include execution.

Is there anyone who didn’t know the government is monitoring banking information in this country? I’ve seen a thousand stories about this in relation to the PATRIOT Act. Is there anyone who doesn’t know our government spies outside the country?

I know the government monitors financial activity in this country and abroad. I know the government lied about WMDs to get us into Iraq. I know the government “fixed” the intelligence to take us over there. I know the government is monitoring phone calls and Internet traffic. Those “leaks” were only additional verification of facts that had already been reported.

This administration doesn’t give a damn that journalists know this stuff. The government knew before publication that the Times knew about the international spying. The government doesn’t care that terrorists know it’s watching them because if terrorists know they are being watched, they are less likely to act.

You know who the government wants uninformed? You. Why? Because if you know the government is acting in ways you don’t think it should, you might do something about it.