Article: Is 1st Amendment on life support?

Very good article from National Press Club perspective.

I took exception to Ms. Smith’s statement in the article:

….My point is that the very thing the people who advocated blocking Sinclair’s press conference said they feared – widespread media coverage – simply didn’t happen because no credible news outlet would publish those kinds of allegations without first verifying them….

My response:

The problem is that No Credible News outlet has tried to do either – verify or disprove Mr. Sinclair’s allegations.

Published: June 22, 2008 6:00 a.m.

Is 1st Amendment

on life support?

Commentary by Sylvia A. Smith

Commentary by Sylvia A. Smith
Washington editor

WASHINGTON – After a week of relentless e-mails and phone calls from people who were outraged at the prospect of a guy scheduling a press conference to make allegations about Barack Obama, I’m not sure extreme CPR could resuscitate the idea of free speech in some Americans’ minds.

The message they sent was that the guy is a crackpot and a felon and therefore should be prevented from speaking.

Let me fill you in on what happened.

As you might know, I’m the president of the National Press Club this year. The Press Club is a major venue for newsmaking in Washington. We invite lots of interesting, provocative and newsy people to speak here.

But we also rent our meeting rooms to people and groups. They might have a private event (a wedding reception or a conference limited to their own members). Or they might rent space to conduct a press conference.

When that happens, the NPC functions essentially as a conference center.

A couple of weeks ago, one of our meeting rooms was reserved by a customer for a press conference. As it turned out, Larry Sinclair wanted to say he had done illegal things with Obama.

There’s lots of stuff going on in Washington that competes for journalists’ time and attention. The likelihood of much media coverage for this fellow was pretty low because of the outlandishness of his claims and (if anyone had done a Google search on him) his dicey background.

But then a few blogs got wind of the event. They huffed and they puffed that Obama was being unfairly attacked. They detailed Sinclair’s allegations. They stoked their readers to try to force the National Press Club to silence him….

The underlying message I got from the callers and e-mailers was that the First Amendment and free speech are an impediment to the way they think things ought to be. Or that while some people are free to speak, others should not be.

That way of thinking is a lot scarier than allegations from Larry Sinclair…

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2 Responses to “Article: Is 1st Amendment on life support?”

  1. sisterrosetta Says:

    curiously timed charges

    Friday, June 20, 2008…8:28 am
    The Daily Variety, Hollywood’s Trade paper, covers Larry Sinclair.

    http://obambi.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/the-daily-variety-hollywoods-trade-paper-covers-larry-sinclair/

    Daily Variety, Hollywood’s Trade paper, covers Larry Sinclair.
    D.C. police arrest Larry Sinclair
    Reporters bewildered by odd press conference
    By TED JOHNSON
    Promising to unveil a host of scandalous information about Barack Obama, Larry Sinclair has been largely ignored by the media, given a rap sheet of crimes like forgery, according to the Politico.So Sinclair, angling for attention, rented out space at the National Press Club on June 18.
    Reporters who attended were a bit bewildered at why he left the press conference so quickly and seemed to disappear from the scene.
    Soon they found out where he went: D.C police arrested him on an outstanding warrant.

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987850.html?categoryId=2526&cs=1

    Montgomery Blair visits Larry Sinclair, Larry is fine, Larry’s message
    Posted by citizenwells on Sunday, June 22, 2008

    http://larrysinclair0926.wordpress.com/2008/06/22/montgomery-blair-visits-larry-sinclair-larry-is-fine-larrys-message/

    Montgomery Blair Sibley visited Larry Sinclair on Saturday, June 21, 2008. According to Mr. Sibley, Larry is fine.

    Larry mentioned several things:

    The Press Conference video can be seen at:

    http://larrysinclair.org

    Larry would appreciate any contributions to his legal fund as he now has additional legal expenses to what appear to be curiously timed charges.

    “He is O.K., the charge is bullshit and I will return soon.”

  2. diogenes2008 Says:

    It’s hard to get the truth out, slowly but surely it is coming out and the whole world is watching and learning.

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