Newsweek irresponsibility demonstrates why media needs a cooling off period

From the Second Amendment Foundation:

NEWS RELEASE

SAF CALLS FOR ‘WAITING PERIODS’ ON PRESS FOLLOWING FATAL NEWSWEEK DEBACLE

BELLEVUE, WA – More than 115 dead or injured, and now a lame “apology” from Newsweek; maybe it is time for the press to accept waiting periods before exercising i ts First Amendment rights in the same way the press has backed waiting periods on law-abiding Americans before exercising their Second Amendment rights.

That’s the observation from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) now that Newsweek has acknowledged its report about the desecration of the Koran by soldiers at Guantanamo Bay was bogus.

“I wonder if Newsweek, or its owner, the Washington Post, would submit all of their stories for FBI clearance before they publish,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “This irresponsible exercise of the First Amendment freedom of the press has killed and injured more people than Charles Whitman or the Beltway Snipers.

“How many times,” Gottlieb wondered, “have Newsweek and The Washington Post advocated waiting periods for law-abiding citizens, who have hurt nobody, before they can buy a firearm? A waiting period amounts to prior restraint by the government. How loud would reporters scream if they faced prior restraint be fore printing their version of the news? Their double standard is hypocritical.

“The Second Amendment is the only civil right in this country that Americans can’t exercise unless they get government permission,” he noted. “A Newsweek story just killed or injured more than 115 people, but they don’t have to face government scrutiny before turning on the press.

“Newsweek reporters and editors should be subject to the same kind of ‘cooling-off’ period they advocate for gun buyers,” Gottlieb observed. “In their heated rush to print a sensational story to discredit American soldiers and the Bush Administration, they started a chain reaction that ended in worldwide acts of violence.

“The blood is on Newsweek’s hands,” Gottlieb stated. “Their report killed and injured scores of people, yet it is the American gun owner who must endure waiting periods because of an irrational fear that they might commit a crime. Crimes were committed because of Newsweek’s story. People have died.”

The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San Francisco on behalf of American gun owners, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers & an amicus brief & fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an individual right.

One thought on “Newsweek irresponsibility demonstrates why media needs a cooling off period

  1. In my humble opinion, the SAF recommendations don’t go nearly far enough to promote “common sense journalistic safety.”

    All journalists should be registered, and should pass a journalist safety test.

    A special permit should be required, with a background check, if you want to carry a concealed journalist device like a notebook, pencil, or recorder.

    There’s no need for any journalist to publish a story longer than 5 column inches.

    Conversely, those little bitty stories are insidious, and too dangerous as well.

    No foreign imported stories should be allowed, unless they have no more than 10 foreign facts – US facts need to be substituted to bring the level up the proper count. Stories with foreign content must be approved by the Bureau of Journalistic Accuracy prior to importation and publication. If it takes so long to check out the story that it’s no longer news, well, that’s just the cost of a safe society.

    Journalists use too many words. There’s no reason to have a high capacity word feeding device. Journalists should be limited to a vocabulary of about 50, (aw, heck, I’m feeling generous) 60 words. But no assault words. Only friendly sounding ones.

    Modern inventions turn journalists into death spewing menaces to polite society. The Newsweek debacle couldn’t have happened back in Ben Franklin’s day – nobody could have foretold how dangerous a free press would become back when the Constitution was drafted, before the rapid dissemination of publications via high-speed print and the Internet. Journalists should be restricted to the use of quill pens and manual letterpress printing presses only. No computer typesetting. No internet publication. Type should be hand set, unless a special (and expensive) National Printing Press Act tax stamp is obtained to operate a Linotype machine. Ownership and operation of any printing technology newer than that should only be permitted by the military and law enforcement agencies.

    At least once a year, Congress should attempt to change the rules, necessitating a huge grassroots effort by journalists to attempt to maintain a toehold on what few Constitutional rights they have left.

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