Sunday, November 30, 2008

The 6th Amendment

They wrote in plain English:

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Rarely do we see any attempts to undermine this right, though I would also relate this to the manners in which our 1st Amendment Rights are responsibly engaged.

As I mentioned in the article on the 1st Amendment, the Press tries our citizens in the Court of Public Opinion. We are the jury in that trial. The journalists play the role of prosecutors and defense and the editors act as the judges, determining what evidence, hearsay, or gossip is provided us.

There exist today objective news media and those that are little more than propaganda of a party, even to the extent of being propaganda of the enemy. See this article:

We are fortunate in that smaller newspapers seem to be more likely to be responsible in their reporting. The larger the newspaper, the less likely it seems to be, to report without bias. But the 1st Amendment does not allow the media to break the law to achieve their financial success. The news media needs to reel in its members. They need to return to responsible reporting.

Unnamed sources should be avoided.
But, there exist two primary means by which this can be implemented: The first is the media returning to ethical standards. The second is the public abandoning those news media that engage in unethical standards. The NY Times and others are already feeling the financial crunch of the realization of the public of their lack of objectivity.

If it ever becomes necessary for legislation to police the press, due to a lack of self-policing, then Our Congressmen must tread very carefully, rationally, not emotionally, ensuring that their laws enhance rather than undermine Our Right to a Free Press. But, if we the people (and the jury) tell our Newsmedia that we expect responsible use of the powerful right to a Free Press, with our words and with our dollars, they will likely respond in a positive manner.

Hopefully, it never becomes necessary for legislation to become involved.

TnTaylor©2008, Tennessee Taylor, all rights reserved.

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