Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Journalists under attack, by the government and public

Journalists should get a well-established legal privilege to protect their sources and them

Former US President Trump has the doubtful honor to have spearheaded an unprecedented, almost Medieval, attack on the free press. He had the audacity, not shown before, to call the free press ‘the enemy of the State.’ After Louis XIV, the French King who famously explained: “L’état, c’est moi, the State, that is me.” His attack has borne fruit.

First, there is the recent shocking revelation that Trump’s AG Bill Barr had obtained the phone and email records of a prominent CNN journalist. Sounds very much like an abuse of power.

However, the boss of CNN objects to this ‘infringement on free speech.’

But, should not Freedom of the Press be more than just Free Speech?

Methinks that journalists should receive a well-established legal privilege, similar to the attorney-client privilege or doctor-patient privilege, to protect their sources from the government and from the courts.

Otherwise, a free press is an empty slogan.

***

Another battlefield has just opened up in Israel. A couple of journalists have been assaulted at work by members of the public that didn’t appreciate their reporting. Some of them needed police protection.

This, though IMHO the Israeli society is much less violent than the US one.

The advice not to shoot the messenger has very long and wide historic roots. Also, In the olden days, after a good play, theater-goers could wait for the actor who played the villain to emerge from the theater to beat him up. The human being evolves really slowly (if at all).

Assault on people who give you unwelcome news is also not restricted to violence against reporters. Also, physicians have been attacked by patients or family. (In a man-bite-dog attack, also the opposite can happen.)

I feel tempted to say that if you’re pleasant enough, it won’t happen. But that sounds much like blaming women’s ways to dress for sexual assault while the problem clearly lies with the men and not with ‘provocations.’

***

And this all on top of the longstanding dangers journalists are exposed to when investigating powerful violent people and organizations, operating in a war zone, or working in countries that lack human rights and freedoms.

Democracy can’t exist without free elections and free election can’t exist without a free press. There’s no free press without democracy and no democracy without a free press. This is so much bigger than free speech.

 

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To find his earlier blog posts on a certain subject XXX, among his over 1200 ones, go to the right-top corner of the Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". His second daily active less tame blog, to which one may subscribe, one may find here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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