The Escalating Assault on Citizen Journalism

In December 1997, after the FBI arrested independent journalist James Sanders for investigating the destruction of TWA Flight 800, not a single reporter at a post-arraignment press conference managed to frame even one First Amendment question.

In fact, the Newsday reporter argued the government’s case, insisting the Justice Department found insufficient evidence to declare Sanders a journalist. The fact that Sanders had already written two successful investigatory books did not count. By challenging the media’s defense of a Democratic administration, Sanders all but sacrificed his First Amendment rights.

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