The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 09, 1973, Page PAGE 4, Image 4

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editorial g
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Not too long ago, Peter Bridge, a reporter
for the Newark, (NJ.) News, spent 20 days in
jail for refusing to reveal his news sources to a
judge. Yesterday he told an Omaha group that
It's time to start working in state legislatures
for the passage of journalistic shield laws.
The type of statute to which Bridge
referred would enable newsmen to legally
maintain the confidentiality of both their
sources and unpublished information.
In recent years private citizens as well as
government workers and officials have grown
Increasingly reluctant to co-operate with
reporters in the news gathering process. Their
reluctance, sometimes due to fear of official
reprisals for public statements, has given rise
to changes in reporting procedures. The
"Informed sources" and "officials close to the
White House" quoted in the daily papers and
news broadcasts are real people-real people
who for one reason or another have agreed to
talk with newsmen only if they are not
quoted by name.
As Bridge and other reporters have
piognantly found, news stories occasionally
result in court actions. In most states the
concept of journalistic privilege currently is
not recognized legally. So recent court cases
and grand jury proceedings have forced
newsmen to choose between losing their news
sources by giving testimony and going to jail
if they don't.
In a recent ruling concerning shield laws,
the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the issue
of journalistic privilege falls within the
domain of the individual state legislatures.
The Nebraska Unicameral currently has
before it for consideration a Free Flow of
Information Act.
LB380, introduced by State Sen. John
Savage of Omaha, asks that the Legislature,
make it the public policy of the State of
Nebraska "to insure the free flow of news and
other information to the public." Sen.
Savage's proposal states that "compelling
(news reporters) to disclose a source of
information or disclose unpublished
information is contrary toithe public interest
and inhibits the free flow of information to
the public."
As Bridge pointed out during his remarks
in Omaha, "the issue here is not the reporters'
rights. It is every citizen's right to have free
flow of information."
The Legislature should pass LB380. If
newsmen are inhibited in any way in their
efforts to gather and disseminate information
one of the purposes of the First Amendment
guarantee of a free press has been defeated.
The gay life
In today's friday magazine, the Daily
Nebraskan examines homosexuality. The
content of the magazine is meant neither as a
statement of endorsement nor opposition to
the legalization, or the concept itself, of
homosexuality. However, it is important that
UNL students understand the meaning and
life-style of the homosexual. This issue of
friday was produced as an effort to promote
such an understanding.
Tom Lansworth
TAfiiC:(Specifica11y)SL16HT oFHAHS
1 A Hician is i&tm&ly a person, with
One of more simple deceptions is the
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The long and bitter fight between Nixon and Congress
ended at last when Nixon merely impounded the funds
Congress had appropriated to run Congress.
"Pat and I," Nixon soberly told his television audience,
"have always had a warm spot in our hearts for Congress.
Q(rje.. ,oJ out best friends . over the years have been
Congressmen. " - '
"But there can be no room for sentimentality when it
comes to making the lonely and agonizing decisions of where
to cut spendthrift programs in the budget I have proposed to
"As I have said, 'You can't solve problems by throwing
money at them.' And when I considered the problems we were
throwing money at, one led all the rest."
"Congress, my fellow Americans, has simply outlived its
usef u I ness
The political experts were forced to agree. Congress had
long since abdicated its powers to make war or peace. Its
legislative programs almost always required money, which the
President merely impounded if he disagreed.
Any investigation into the executive branch was pointless as
witnesses invariably cited "excutive privilege" and remained
silent. And while the Senate still had the power to ratify
treaties, no Presidents negotiated any, preferring "executive
agreements" with foreign powers instead.
Thus Congress, having lost its war-making, appropriating,
legislative, investigative and ratifying powers, had little to
show any more for its labors.
When the President impounded congressional funds for
salaries, staffs, telephones, postage and particularly air travel,
Congress had no choice but to go out of business.
The public reaction to this development was best summed
up by a Gallup Poll which asked the question, "Will you miss
not having your congressman in Washington to represent
The response was, "Yes," 6.2 per cent; "No" 4.3 per cent;
and "Who?" 89.5 per cent.
Congress, of course, was not about to take the President's
fiat lying down. A delegation of congressional leaders tottered
over the the White House to demand, at the very least, air fare
"Don't ask what your government can do for you," said the
President sternly, "go find a job."
But this was easier said than done. After years in Congress,
few members are qualified for honest work. As one business
executive said, "Who wants to hire a middle-aged has-been
without any practical experience or any record of
A group of misguided constitutionalists made an abortive
attempt to take the case to the Supreme Cout. Unfortunately,
the President, angered by the court's decision on abortions,
had impounded the dry-cleaning funds for the Justices' robes.
And they had naturally voted unanimously to hold no further
'First of all, Mr. President, we want our dome back I'
Actually, the elimination of the legislative and the judiciary
seemed to make little difference. The President governed, as he
mostly had during his administration, by issuing executive
One of his first was to declare the Capitol an historic
landmark "in tribute to our precious heritage of democracy."
And thus Congress, even with the congressmen gone,
continued to carry out its major function of recent years-that
of serving as one of Washington's three leading tourist
(Copyright Chronicle Publishing Co. 1973)
page 4
daily nebraskan
friday, february 9, 1973