The week just ended featured three assaults on the First Amendment. Today I want to cover the least publicized one and hopefully will get to the others in the coming days.
New York State Superior Court Judge, (in New York State, Superior Court is the court of entry or lowest ranking court – don’t let the name mislead you), Charles D. Wood issued a temporary injunction against the New York Times prohibiting them from reporting on Project Veritas. That alone is enough to make my blood boil. With all the less than legitimate news sources out there spewing in many cases life threatening disinformation this judge enjoins the world’s most respected newspaper.
Let’s take a little dive into some of the players in this story.
Judge Wood is a Republican who it appears really cut his political teeth on the staff of then-State Senator Nicholas Spano, a Republican. In 2012 Spano was found guilty of federal income tax evasion and sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
Project Veritas is a right wing organization largely funded by dark money and headed by James O’Keefe. They both are currently under Justice Department investigation which has included raids on O’Keefe’s residence. Veritas has a history of deceit and deception. Few, if any, of their claims have stood the test of time, but they can rally the less well educated that comprise much of the extreme right wing’s base.
The idea of even temporarily stopping a news organization from reporting the truth is simply un-American! Last week was a week when the First Amendment was under open assault from the right wing, including their political arm – the Republican Party. Among other things the First Amendment insures freedom of the press with the guardrails of protection against liable and slander. The Times is simply reporting facts; real facts not the Trump era alternatives.
America, its democracy and Constitution barely escaped the Trump administration. If we are not vigilant there will be another (although the name may not necessarily the same) and we may not be as fortunate next time. That future administration might add a new department to the Executive Branch – the Department of Though Control and Disinformation. On second though they wouldn’t be that honest.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A republic if you can keep it.”
We collectively are responsible to guard America! The last sentence to the prologue of George Parker’s book, Last Best Hope is: “We are the last best hope.” I agree with him.
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