From Mises Wire:
Steven Greenhut of R Street Corporation and a former editorial writer for the Orange County Register has been covering California politics for many years and never is surprised at the latest outrage from the nation’s most progressive state.
Not only does California give us the ill-fated “Bullet Train,” but it also has become the national “leader” in homelessness, out-of-control housing prices, and regular natural disasters such as the huge wildfires that burned throughout the state in 2018 causing much death and destruction. And, unlike their predecessors — political liberals who at least championed freedom of the press and due process of law — progressives have no problem using police state tactics to muzzle journalists and suppress free speech.
Greenhut writes of three especially egregious episodes in which officials in very progressive San Francisco had police raid the home of a journalist to find how he had come into possession of what, frankly, was a public document that already should have been released. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is attempting to imprison independent journalists for undercover work in attempting to find wrongdoing at Planned Parenthood, which has become a modern symbol for progressive politicians, who almost to a person declare that they “stand with Planned Parenthood. He also has threatened to criminally prosecute reporters who publicize public documents even though the law supports the journalists. Greenhut writes :
Early in the year, reporters from UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program made a public-records request to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training for a list of the 12,000 California police officers, police applicants and former officers who were convicted of crimes, many of them serious. POST did the right thing and provided the records.
When…Becerra found out, he threatened to criminally prosecute the reporters unless they destroy records that were provided by a public agency. Becerra claims the information is confidential even though it involves public records about official verdicts. And to reiterate, state law forbids prosecution of reporters merely for receiving records — and they received the info from an agency within Becerra’s own department . (Emphasis mine)
Greenhut also adds that many of these same progressives have condemned (rightly, in my view) President Donald Trump’s attack on the American news media but are silent on what Becerra and the San Francisco police have done. I would add that there is no contradiction here regarding what progressives believe and how they engage in such heavy-handed and legally-questionable antics: progressives for more than a century have opposed individual rights and have no problem using criminal law to imprison political opponents, including those that have committed no crimes.