Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
ANOTHER VIEW | ADAPTED FROM ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

Editorial: Short takes: A victory for journalists, and UFO sightings taken seriously

  • 0

Two short takes on recent news items:

Victory for journalists and their sourcesIn an important policy shift and major victory for journalists’ First Amendment rights, the Justice Department announced a ban on the use of government subpoenas, warrants or court orders to force reporters to hand over notes, records and other communications. The policy change ends a practice used aggressively under the Trump administration to go after leakers. The policy particularly targeted The New York Times, Washington Post and CNN in an attempt to identify sources used by reporters for stories that embarrassed the administration or were deemed to endanger national security.

Attorney General Merrick Garland cemented the order as part of department policy. It would still take an act of Congress to make the policy unchangeable from one administration to the next.

Garland stated: “These regulations recognize the crucial role that a free and independent press plays in our democracy. Because freedom of the press requires that members of the news media have the freedom to investigate and report the news, the new regulations are intended to provide enhanced protection to members of the news media from certain law enforcement tools and actions that might unreasonably impair news gathering.”

The attempted seizures reached such a bizarre level that Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger was put under a court gag order in 2021 that prevented him from sharing with the newsroom why the seizures were occurring and what was being sought. But compliance was not up for negotiation.

Taking UFO

sightings seriouslyNASA has formally begun its own investigation into the sightings of unexplained flying objects that have been reported by military pilots. The Pentagon and other government agencies have already been looking into it, but the space agency presumably will bring the much-needed legitimacy of sober science to the often-controversial topic.

What are popularly known as UFOs — but which officials today call unidentified aerial phenomena — have been getting taken seriously by scientists and the government in recent years. That’s because sightings are coming not from cranks and conspiracists but from pilots and other reliable sources.

The NASA project, expected to last nine months, will bring experts from an array of scientific fields. The agency says it will be “nearly impossible” to definitively explain the sightings because the data is so limited and that the more realistic goal is for the study to “inform NASA what possible data could be collected in the future to scientifically discern the nature of UAP.”

That’s right: NASA can make even this topic sound nerdy and dull. Which is probably what’s needed.

0 Comments
* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

When Richie Neal was mayor of Springfield, in Western Massachusetts, in the 1980s, Donald Trump was a lying Manhattan real estate promoter who routinely cheated those who were foolish enough to do business with him. God knows what Trump’s tax returns looked like, but those suspect documents were a matter only between Trump and the IRS. Neal is now chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee ...

The shortage of doctors in Virginia and across the country is a serious health-care problem that is only going to get worse without strong, concerted action. The shortage is not just looming in the future. It is with us now, as many who have tried lately to get an appointment with a general practitioner or specialist can tell you. The long wait times can mean that a patient’s illness or injury ...

Just as it’s a good idea to child-proof a home before having toddlers over for a birthday party, congressional Democrats should be doing what they can during the current lame-duck session to prepare for the incoming Republican House majority — a crowd that has literally announced its intention to threaten America’s fiscal stability, block election reforms and abandon Ukraine. The current Democratic majority, working with whatever responsible Republicans they can get on board, can extremist-proof Congress in some important ways between now and January.

A top Russian oligarch and ally of Vladimir Putin openly stated that his country has engaged in U.S. election meddling and would continue doing so in future elections. That’s not exactly news, even if it’s the first such admission by someone so close to Putin. But the methods of meddling are what merit more congressional scrutiny because a gaping hole for exploitation remains in the U.S. election system: dark campaign money.

Groomers, they shout. Freaks. Pedophiles. The names and slurs are familiar. Their intent? To demean and belittle, to intimidate and threaten. The implications are unmistakable: People who identify as LGBTQ aren’t entitled to share the same spaces as other Americans. They don’t deserve the same legal protections. They shouldn’t exist. Far from being at the margins of our national political ...

Good news: It looks as though the giant wind farm project off the coast of Virginia Beach is back on track. Dominion Energy, the Office of the Attorney General, environmental groups and advocates for ratepayers have hammered out what looks like a creative, equitable agreement on how much Dominion can pass cost overruns on to consumers. The new agreement must be approved by the State ...

It may be a bit late in the game, but the Biden administration could benefit by creating a new Cabinet position: The Secretary of Thinking Things Through. If the president had such an adviser, the White House wouldn’t be in the position it is now, informing those applying for student loan debt relief with the web site message: “At this time, we are not accepting applications.” That sotto voce ...

Politicians often hold their noses to cut deals with people they wouldn’t normally speak with in order to advance their agenda, or their own political futures. The question each politician must ask is: How much nose-holding can I tolerate before I have to open a window and catch a breath of fresh air?

NASA’s Artemis program is edging toward a return to the moon — this time to stay — with its successful launch this week of an uncrewed rocket. Some Americans looking at the Earth-bound problems all around us might reasonably ask: Why? The answer is not just about the scientific discovery that a permanent presence on the moon promises but also the much-needed sense of national purpose it could ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert