Thursday, April 20, 2006

Information and Access

I want to talk about bit about access to information. It's one of the reasons I became a librarian. Jack Anderson was an 'old school' journalist. He went truth hunting in the highest places without fear. He stood his ground against the best the government could throw at him, including J. Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy. He was the kind of journalist who would have used Nancy Grace and her ilk to run errands until they learned how to do something significant like get the facts straight. Now that he's gone, it's not surprising the government is seeking to do a eminent domaintype grab of all his papers.

It's ironic that the biggest and most important library in the country is government owned because traditionally librarians and government have a rocky relationship. Librarians believe in access to information. The government believes in The Patriot Act. And again, not so surprisingly, we learn of a secret list of prisoners being revealed for the first time today. Even our allies didn't know they had prisoners being held there--not officially anyway.

Another example from this week is the McCllelan debacle. According to an NPR interviewer, the feeling in the white house press corps is that McClellan was fed the wrong information. For those of you who don't know, McClellan was the Bush mouthpiece that repeatedly told the press corps that Rove and Libby had nothing to do with leaking Valerie Plame's identity. Of course we know that to be a lie now. There's so many correlations you can draw between the lives of these two men. Both newsmen, yet diametrically opposed in their career paths. How can two people be in the same field but do such different work? Do you see the irony also?

Even more ironic is it that a government which seeks to prevent access to information at every turn, wants full access to Jack Anderson's papers, and that given the right information, ex press secretary McCllelan might still be employed.


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