On January 25, 2017, New York Times writer Jonah Engel Bromwich posted a piece entitled Felony Charges for Journalists Arrested at Inauguration Protests Raise Fears for Press Freedom. In it he reports the arrest of a large group of protesters that included some media personnel; which he posits is a contravention of the US Constitution.
However, the First Amendment to the US Constitution says that
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Contrary to popular belief, “NOTHING” in this language confers any rights on anyone. Article I of the US Constitution vests “all legislative power” in congress; and the First Amendment restricts that power by prohibiting congress from enacting legislation imposing a national religion on the states or suppressing the voices of the people or the press of the several states.
The US Constitution does not confer impunity upon the press so that when media personnel choose to insinuate themselves on one side of a conflict they are no longer observers; they are participants and as such are subject to the same consequences as any other participant.They are nothing more than spokespersons for the side they have chosen; self serving, not serving the public’s interest.
In the days when the press adhered to an ethical code and proactively confined its opinions to the editorial page, it enjoyed the public’s trust and was accorded a high degree of latitude in its pursuit of information.
However, inasmuch as media today are unapologetic biased, partisan, unprincipled, unscrupulous advocates and instigators, its credibility is dubious; integrity nonexistent; and the quality of its product is touted only by those in the media and the recipients of its favor.
Some people blame Barack Obama for dividing the country; some blame Donald Trump, but the real culprit is media. Just as it tried to scuttle Donald Trump’s campaign it would attack any politician for supporting a view to which it did not subscribe. Fear of such attacks is the reason congress is essentially dysfunctional.
Media is not sacrosanct and the media people arrested with the protesters should explain their presence with the protesters to a judge and convince him or her that giving the protesters media attention did not exacerbate the situation. Failing to do so, they should be appropriately penalized.