Freedom of the press — is it really free?

Ongoing U.S. government involvement in the Associated Press’ phone records and emails has caused quite a stir. Additionally, the co-conspirator title lavished upon a Fox News reporter has further strained the symbiotic relationship between the Obama administration and the working media.

Let’s face it: Government needs the media, and the media needs the government. So, when a tiff such as this occurs, it is easy to point to the umbrella of First Amendment rights as a reason to side with the media. However, in this case, the administration has some strange bedfellows: conservative talk show hosts and right-wing hawks.

An array of conservative think-tank types are suggesting that national security trumps some First Amendment rights. Why? Because the government needs to ferret out potential terrorist threats, and hence, threats to our national interests. Interesting.

I didn’t know George Orwell personally, nor did I play him on TV, but some would argue that we’ve arrived at a time when our government has become an intrusive, uncontrollable and scary overseer of our private lives, all in the name of national security.

To me, there has to be a balance. We want to keep our families safe and our shores secure, but at the same time, we don’t want the government intimidating the press nor peering into our bedrooms.

Let’s just say that Dylan is right. The times are changing at hyper-speed, and our laws, policies and even the Constitution are having a hard time keeping up with this.

I’m not sure there is a right answer here. The working media need the freedom to do its job as the watchdog of government, but we cannot have reporters disclosing national secrets nor playing email tag with someone out to harm us.

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