By Tim Hunt
Newspapers arguing for prior restraint.Uploaded: Feb 6, 2018
Is it just the height of irony that as the movie, The Post, plays at theaters across the country, The Post editorializes in favor of prior restraint.
Yes, the paper that printed the Pentagon Papers over government objections and legal challenges ran an editorial last week that urged the Trump Administration not to release a memo from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California. Nunes compiled the memo from documents his committee obtained after months of stonewalling by the FBI and the Justice Dept.
Mark Penn, a pollster for the Clinton campaigns, wrote an opinion piece in The Hill online before the document was released Friday.
Penn wrote in the lead, “Both the New York Times and the Washington Post yesterday ran editorials calling for prior restraint on a memo written by the duly elected chairman of the House Intelligence Committee after he and his staff reviewed classified documents related to the so-called Russia investigation. These editorials are a stain on American journalism, much like the Japanese internment camps were a stain on the record of the Supreme Court. They should — and, I think, will over time — regret them.”
Amen. The irony of these so-called pillars of American journalism opining that the public had no right to know is stunning.
Since when do defenders of the First Amendment favor prior restraint. What happened to the public’s right to know?
It casts the movie in a different light and makes you wonder what has changed in the last 50 years. The Post printed the Pentagon Papers when the Viet Nam War was still raging and there was some potential for damage to the United States’ war effort. That’s not the case with this memo.
Jay Newman, a former hedge-fund manager, wrote an interesting oped in the Feb. 3 Wall Street Journal about how cities, including Oakland and San Francisco as well as San Mateo County, are saying one thing in filings for municipal bonds and another in legal actions challenging oil companies for their role in causing climate change.
In Oakland’s suit against several oil companies, the brief argued that the city will be suffering from “a 100-year flood” every week because of climate change. The suit argues that rising sea levels will require replacement of the sewer system and other infrastructure “with a total replacement cost of $32 billion to $38 billion.”
The filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for general obligation bonds read, “The City is unable to predict when seismic events, fires or other natural events, such as sea rise or other impacts of climate change or flooding from a major storm, could occur.”
The prospectus goes on to say that the city cannot be sure “whether they will have a material adverse effect on business operations or financial conditions of the City or the local economy.”
Really? So, what it is: Climate catastrophe or something that may or may not affect the city?
One of the targeted companies, Exxon Mobil, has called out the disconnect in court filings and is seeking to depose the lead attorney along with 15 other officials involved in filing the lawsuits.