Patterico's Pontifications


Why Big Media Is Better Than Mere Bloggers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:30 am

They have the guts and judgment necessary to interrupt a Congresswoman discussing the NSA’s phone data program, so that the network can cover Real Breaking News about Justin Bieber:

Thanks to Ken White on Facebook.

As far as Justin Bieber goes, my opinion is that I’m going to interrupt this discussion about Justin Bieber to discuss the NSA’s phone data program. So it was recently news that an independent board recommends scrapping the program entirely:

An independent executive branch board has concluded that the National Security Agency’s long-running program to collect billions of Americans’ phone records is illegal and should end.

In a strongly worded report to be issued Thursday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) said that the statute upon which the program was based, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, “does not provide an adequate basis to support this program.”

But does the Constitution prohibit it? So far, lower courts have come to differing conclusions about the matter. It seems headed for the Supreme Court at some point, as President Obama seems unlikely to scrap the program (much less “end the NSA,” as MSNBC’s moronic lower third states).

As always, I come at this issue torn. I see on a regular basis how access to phone records and cell site data can be used as tools in criminal investigations. As a rule, prosecutors and police are interested in solving crimes, and not in abusing their access to information. That said, any database is subject to abuse. It does not generally mean that we should scrap databases as a result.

On the other hand, I don’t trust this government and this administration. Maetenloch at Ace’s collects some suspicious coincidences (via Instapundit):

Coincidence: Hollywood’s only conservative group is getting close IRS nonprofit scrutiny

Another Coincidence: James O’Keefe Group Being Audited by NY. Again.

Yet Another Coincidence: Dinesh D’Souza Indicted For Election Fraud

Still Another Coincidence: IRS Proposes New 501(c)(4) Rules That Just Happen to Cover Most Tea Party Groups

Conservatives are not immune to abuse of power; lefties in a land ruled by a President Nixon would have reason not to trust their government and administration. There is a lot of potential for abuse here.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. You can count on the professionals in the media to be right there, providing informative analysis and perspective . . . unless, of course, Justin Bieber gets arrested for egging his neighbor’s house.

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