Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Palin’s Threats To The Press Puts To Question Her Judgement

Opinion by Dolores M. Bernal, NEWS JUNKIE POST

There is something to be said of Sarah Palin’s threat to sue reporters and bloggers who write about the reasons she may have unexpectedly stepped down as Governor of Alaska. And that something is: poor judgement. No public official in their right mind should ever even think of picking a fight with the press, unless, they’re asking for their careers to be over.

Just in case you may not know about what’s transpired since Palin’s press conference Friday, let me bring you up to date. Several bloggers and some mainstream media reporters wrote that Palin is resigning as Governor of Alaska because she may be facing a criminal investigation over materials used to build her home in Wasilla, Alaska and those used to build the Wasilla Sports Complex. Palin’s lawyer Thoman Van Flein issued a letter over the weekend to media and bloggers that were talking about this, and stated that the soon to be ex-Governor of Alaska “will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law.”

You see, these allegations about Palin and the building materials were brought to light to folks in the mainland by Alaskan radio host and blogger, Shannyn Moore, and there was also an article about this by Max Blumenthal of the Daily Beast about the potential criminal investigation. Many other blogs picked up these reports and MSNBC and other mainstream folks did their job by reporting about it, even if they were just “rumors.”

Word of these reports got to Palin faster than a lighting and just as she is quick to leave her job, she is also quick at making threats to people without considering the facts and the consequences of what she is about to do.

If state legislators in Alaska have been the ones talking about this potential investigation, then what Moore, bloggers, and news reporters did was NOT at all a crime and they shouldn’t be subjected to threats and intimidation by Mr. Van Flein. Freedom of the Press is alive and well in America and our rights as journalists cannot be tramped upon by some defensive third class politician like Palin.

I challenge Moore, bloggers, and all other reporters to not be sheepish about standing up and reminding Palin that the press’ job is to report information because the public has a right to know what may be going on, especially after her sudden resignation. I mean, what did Palin expect? She walks out of her job with a terrible press conference where she used a ridiculous basketball analogy and where every other sentence just didn’t seem to make any sense. And now she wants to sue reporters over defamation? Come on, give me a break!

There is something terribly wrong about Palin’s view of the media if she thinks she can make us just shut up. No self-respecting reporter should feel like they need to retract anything they said this weekend. I’m not going to. Moore shouldn’t either. There was no defamation of character in any of this. If Palin feels like the press is ruining her “reputation,” she’s got it wrong. The only one ruining anything is her own self by her actions and the puzzling things that come out of her mouth.

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