Scott Shackford writes:
This morning, Matt Welch took note of the Senate’s bipartisan effort to stop amendments to the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 that would make the domestic surveillance program more transparent and require compliance with the Fourth Amendment.
The traditional media response to the reauthorization battle has been remarkably nonexistent.
Compare the lack of response to the way people react to privacy breaches connected to Facebook or Twitter. Media outlet after media outlet carried reports about a private picture of Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, accidentally being made public somehow through social media channels. And how many of your Facebook friends posted that silly, pointless “privacy notice” on their walls?
The easy response is to blame the media for not keeping the public informed. And while Congress’ and the Obama Administration’s palpable disdain for both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments should horrify all Americans, it should be fairly clear by now that maybe it doesn’t for large swaths of people. Media outlets are responding to their respective markets. Those who are covering FISA are doing so because their readers have expressed an interest.
Read more on Reason.
Scott raises some good points. I don’t blame the mainstream media. When they thought they had a sexy news story in the Petraeus scandal, they ran with it – and along the way, perhaps some people got a bit more educated about government searches and e-mail privacy. When the media had a human interest story about how a privacy breach involving Kate Middleton was followed by the suicide of a nurse who had put the call through, they ran with it. And the public thought about it all and talked about it all – for a while. And eventually there will be more discussion and likely hearings.
The media will cover the news that sells. Maybe it’s on us privacy advocates to come up with more “dead body” stories to get the public to take note. Hopefully not in the literal sense, but you know what I mean.