Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What Country Do We Live In?

If the press cries about this as loudly as they did about Judith Miller, I'll start taking the latter issue more seriously. Josh Marshall:

Perhaps there could be guidelines about photographs which in any way clearly identified the deceased. No one wants to get first confirmation of the death of a loved by seeing their bodies on the nightly news. But a blanket ban serves only to prevent the public from knowing what really happened. And the right of FEMA or the federal government at all on American soil to issue such a ban seems highly dubious to me. It's one thing with military casualties: the military operates under its own legal code and not under normal civilian rules. But this is happening on American soil. It's not a war zone. It's recovery from a natural disaster.

Now comes this post from Brian Williams, which suggests a general effort to bar reporters from access to many of the key points in the city.

Take a moment to note what's happening here: these are the marks of repressive government, which mixes inefficiency with authoritarianism. The crew that couldn't get key aid on the scene last week is coming in in force now and taking as one of its key missions cutting public information about what's happening in the city.

This is a domestic, natural disaster. Absent specific cases where members of the press would interfere or get in the way of some particular clean up operation or perhaps demolition work there is simply no reason why credentialed members of the press should not be able to cover everything that is happening in that city.

Think about it.