Saturday, January 30, 2016

Journalism Under Attach—Again

1/30/2016—See if this sounds familiar. Investigators with an ax to grind against an industry lie about their identities to expose practices that will embarrass the industry before the public. The industry fights back, claiming the reports are selectively edited and seeking criminal prosecution of the investigators.

You may be thinking of the indictments in Texas of the two individuals who were involved in making secret recordings of Planned Parenthood that were released to publicly discredit the group. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were indicted for tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony, and Daleiden was also indicted on the count of prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs, a class A misdemeanor, according to the Harris County district attorney.

But I’m thinking of the efforts by Agribusiness to get undercover employees indicted for taking videos of what goes on inside factory farms. See Agribusiness Wants Cruelty Investigators “Prosecuted to the Fullest Extent of the Law”.

Daleiden and Merritt insist the actions they took, including the creation of false identities, were part of a legitimate journalistic investigation of the “abortion industry.” The charges against them are flimsy. A felony charge for altering a driver’s license? And how can anyone be charged with procuring human organs when they had no intent to actually procure them? They were pretending.

The same people ready to cheer the indictments of the Planned Parenthood investigators presumably understand the threat of the agribusiness campaign to get investigators prosecuted. But these are basically the same cases. Criminal law is no way to treat people who are trying to inform the American people about abuses in government, business or any other important sector of American life.

Businesses that have nothing to hide—have nothing to hide, including Planned Parenthood.

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