Another brilliant column from National Review’s Rich Lowry at Politico. Lowry makes the indisputable point that the same media that have spent years attacking the Tea Party, and months savaging the NRA, are now revealing brazen hypocrisy when it comes to protecting their own rights. In spirit and goal, the media are now one with the Tea Party and NRA.
What animates the Tea Party and NRA is a legitimate concern that the government — especially under President Obama — has made a disturbing pivot from their Constitutional requirement to protect our liberties, to infringing upon our liberties. In turn, Obama and his media label us as anti-government crazies suffering from paranoid delusions.
But look at the reaction this week from that very same media in the wake of the Associated Press scandal. Suddenly the media don’t like Big Government doing to them what ObamaCare and background checks will do to the rest of us. Moreover, the very same media that suggest not trusting the government is a form of extremism, is now demanding a law be immediately passed to shield them from government intrusion.
The media don’t trust the government anymore than we do. Who is the paranoid crazy now?
At his briefing, Carney hung to the word “unfettered” like a drowning man. He said over and over again things like the president believes in an “unfettered ability to pursue investigative journalism” but that there should be “balance.” The implicit reaction in the room was: “Balance? Don’t give us any stinkin’ balance. Give us our rights.”
In this, the reporters exhibited a healthy impulse toward vigilance about liberty. The phrase “chilling effect” has been bandied about often. A chill comes not necessarily from what government is doing to you but from what it might do to you. Very few reporters will ever have their records secretly subpoenaed by the government, but it is intolerable to them that it could happen. On top of everything else, it is the principle of the thing — an infringement, or even a potential infringement, on the constitutional rights of even a handful of reporters is an affront to all.
There are lots of people who share this way of thinking about rights and government. Some of them gather every year at places like CPAC and the National Rifle Association annual convention.
We have just gone through a period when scorn was heaped on the NRA for opposing new gun rules out of the very same logic that compels reporters to react so strongly against the AP subpoena. The NRA will not abide an infringement on anyone’s legitimate right to bear arms, and it fears what could come of enhanced state power. Like the reporters, it casts a jaundiced eye on the reassurances of government. What they are to the First Amendment, it is to the Second.
Read it all.
At his Politico perch, Lowry is writing one of the best columns around. Keep an eye out for it.
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