I get concerned when people speak of suing media for honest, truthful reporting.
One supermarket with the practice of rewrapping packaged meat that had reached its Sell By date was exposed on a TV show with hidden camera video taken by a staff member who was hired to work there using a phony identity. The issue of the truth of the TV show's message was not the issue when a court decided the supermarket chain had the right to sue the television network.
When 60 Minutes ran a story about a tobacco industry insider exposing the practices of the industry, CBS was threatened with a lawsuit that would have been in the billions of dollars had they lost (a risk few corporations would gamble on).
So I felt uncomfortable when the current administration made threatening statements about the New York Times publishing articles about secret Eastern European jails, data on American citizen phone calls, and banking transaction records. If someone is calling Al Qaeda, the president likes to explain, the government should be aware. And since I don't make any phone calls to terrorists, why should I care? I just keep thinking about the young man in Dearborn Michigan who calls his parents and friends in Pakistan or Syria being viewed with suspicion or maybe picked up for a little questioning.
I enjoy my CNN.com and MSNBC.com. I balk at even free registration on local TV station web sites. I enjoy seeing the NYTimes.com articles, and didn't mind their free registration to get to the well-written articles from around the world and on technology. Although it cost $49 for a yearly subscription, I went ahead and paid, thinking I was helping with a kind of contribution to something I felt was an important check-and-balance to the administration and something as important to the definition of the United States government as the First Amendment.
What I didn't expect was the overall fun it is to see surprisingly clear video on technology, movie reviews, and news as well as thoughtful insights from Thomas Friedman on the different attitudes in Lebanon and Israel before the war, the cry for help in Darfur, and other thoughtful stories from around the world.
So for the cost of about a dollar a week, I'm really enjoying understanding what is happening here in the United States and around the world. The only downside, I no longer feel I did a good deed.