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Press Freedom according to MSNBC and The Atlantic

February 11, 2019

Jill Wine-Banks, a frequent commentator at MSNBC, was a member of the staff of special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, during the Watergate hearings and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as General Counsel of the Army.

Jill Wine-Banks knows the law but last week in a discussion about the National Enquirer’s publication of private-mail between Jeff Bezos and a woman with whom he was conducting an extramarital affair, Ms. Wine-Banks suggested that the type of journalism practiced by the National Enquirer was not protected by the First Amendment.

At 11:45 AM on Monday, February 11, that argument was repeated on MSNBC by The Atlantic’s David Graham, Graham is described by the Atlantic as having reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

It’s extraordinary that a skilled attorney and a journalist who publishes in The Atlantic should argue that a journal should not receive protections of the First Amendment, except for the fact that their arguments are made on MSNBC, a cable “news” service that is committed to bringing down Donald Trump.

Also writing in The Atlantic, New York University School of Law scholar, Bob Bauer, writes:

“As The Washington Post, owned by Bezos, editorialized, AMI should face the consequences of not engaging in “legitimate journalism” in threatening Bezos. And Bezos, in his Medium posting, put this same emphasis on AMI’s departure from standard journalistic practice. He wrote that “no real journalists ever propose anything like what is happening here.”

Forgive me, but isn’t it dangerous to selectively decide what journalism is “legitimate” and what is not?

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