Thursday, September 30, 2004
Lazy Media Hacks and their agenda
As I noted in my post below, a recent decision of the Southern District of New York struck down part of a 1986 law known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. How does the press report the decision? No mention of the 1986 law, of course. Instead, the press is reporting that the court struck down a major part of the Patriot Act, in a blow to the Bush Administration's overzealous response to terrorism. As I trace the history of the statute, this is quite inaccurate: the basic law was implemented in 1986, almost 20 years ago. To be fair, the Patriot Act did amend some language in this section; just not in a relevant way. As best I can tell, the court's decision does not rely on or even address anything in the Patriot Act. (See page 14-22 of the Court's opinion for the details of the statute's history.)
But of course you don't get that from the mainstream press, which likes to report everything related to terorrism as if it were the Patriot Act. Here is the New York Times:"
Judge Strikes Down Section of Patriot Act Allowing Secret Subpoenas of Internet Data
By JULIA PRESTON
A federal judge struck down an important surveillance provision of the antiterrorism legislation known as the USA Patriot Act yesterday, ruling that it broadly violated the Constitution by giving the federal authorities unchecked powers to obtain private information. The ruling, by Judge Victor Marrero of Federal District Court in Manhattan, was the first to uphold a challenge to the surveillance sections of the act, which was adopted in October 2001 to expand the powers of the federal government in national security investigations. The ruling invalidated one piece of the law, finding that it violated both free speech guarantees and protection against unreasonable searches. It is thought likely to provide fuel for other court challenges.