Obama has now insisted that he does not want to jail journalists for “doing their jobs,” but many don’t find his claim to be credible.

I think this is a teachable moment for Conservatives because Conservatives have insisted on all sorts of penalties for “Wikileaks.” In the United States legal system, a government can fire and prosecute government employees for releasing classified documents. What it cannot do, however, is prosecute any reporter or journalists who receives such information from printing it.

Since we all know there are times when the government might have a legitimate reason for keeping a secret, why are reporters and newspapers not liable to punishment for publishing those secrets?

The reason has to be that, even though the government may have a legitimate reason for such a secret, the only way to be sure that the government is not abusing its power is to allow the society that is under the government to, essentially, spy on its own government. This is especially essential in a democracy because voters need information. If a president can keep his actual decisions a secret then how can voters know whether or not to elect him to a second term? But in any government, allowing the government’s agents to persecute or jail people for giving us information means we can live under a tyranny and not even realize it.

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