Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is a liberty all aspiring reporters stand behind. We—journalists—do not approve of any form of censorship that hampers the dissemination of valuable information. It is the job of the press to deliver information vital to a free society.

Editors at the Northern Light, and around the nation, are appalled by the action of Tea Party Senatorial Candidate Joe Miller and his refusal to speak with members of the local press.

The dilemma started when Miller announced he would no longer answer questions about his personal life; specifically questions regarding actions he carried out during his occupation as a Fairbanks North Star Bureau lawyer.

The dilemma escalated tenfold when Miller’s hired bodyguards — working for the firm Drop Zone Security — detained local news site editor and founder of Alaska Dispatch Tony Hopfinger.

After probing Miller to answer some difficult questions, Hopfinger was in a mild scuffle and handcuffed. This all occurred following a public town hall meeting at Central Middle School.

Miller and his personal security violated this crucial liberty. His campaign asserts the incident is distracting from the real issues.

Issues, such as government spending, which Miller aims to restore by prescribing limits set out by the Constitution.

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This selling point of Miller’s campaign is contradictory to the recent detainment of Hopfinger. Miller, a graduate of Yale’s law school, surely knows that the First Amendment protects the freedom of the press.

It is a journalist’s job to seek the truth and deliver his or her findings to the public. People argue the press is being too pushy, unfair or going over the line, but information on a public official’s past is very important.

By examining and analyzing past decisions, the public can clearly determine the character of a political candidate. Miller sees the press as an enemy because he wishes to keep his past private.

The question to pop up in any curious journalist’s mind is, “Why?” Thus, we start asking tough questions.

Alaska residents can only benefit from meticulous investigative reporting on any political candidate. The press is focusing more on Miller than Murkowski or McAdams. This is true. It is Miller himself, however, which has perpetuated the level of coverage he is receiving to a whole new level.

Search the Internet for articles about Miller. Read “Left-Wing Blogger Starts Fight at a Joe Miller Rally” at Redstate.com and then read an article on Alaska Dispatch.

Make the decision for yourself, and keep in mind that any journalist who has vowed to stick by the established ethics of the profession will aim for nothing but the objective truth. The information is out there.

Other information has been harder to obtain. Journalists asking critical questions of Miller at a public town meeting somehow instantly became trespassers on private property when exercising their freedom as members of the press.

Journalists need to be forceful in certain situations if we are to deliver our social service.