Toobin: “The word ‘journalism’ is not magical immunity sauce”

posted at 12:01 pm on August 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

CNN’s Anderson Cooper hosted an interesting discussion over the David Miranda detention at Heathrow and its implications for journalism between its senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Jesselyn Radack from the Government Accountability Project.  Surprisingly, Toobin not only insists that the British authorities acted rationally and properly, but that Miranda was fortunate not to be arrested for his activities in moving allegedly stolen material across the border, saying that our own prisons are filled with drug “mules” who did essentially the same thing.  Radack strenuously objects, claiming that Miranda was acting as a journalist, but Toobin argues that the argument is irrelevant:

“The word ‘journalism’ is not magical immunity sauce,” Toobin replies at the end, “that you can put on anything and eliminate any sort of liability.”  Of course, that’s an argument we will shortly have in the US over the liability of journalists who receive classified material from secret sources, but no one in the US has seriously suggested prosecuting journalists under that concept.  Oh, wait

In the end, though, British security officials didn’t prosecute Miranda — they just confiscated the materials after detaining him for a long time first, contra Toobin.  Miranda and Glenn Greenwald are now filing suit to get the material back:

The pair, who were interviewed together on CNN’s “AC360,” said late Tuesday that Miranda’s lawyers “have filed a lawsuit” in London.

“What they’re essentially seeking right now is a declaration from the British court that what the British authorities did is illegal, because the only thing they’re allowed to detain and question people over is investigations relating to terrorism, and they had nothing to do with terrorism, they went well beyond the scope of the law,” Greenwald said.

“And, secondly, to order them to return all the items they stole from David and to order that they are barred from using them in any way or sharing them with anybody else.”

Miranda’s lawyers, at the law firm Bindmans, said the items seized include a laptop, cell phone, USB memory sticks, a hard drive, a smart watch and a games console.

Do they have a discovery phase in the British court system?  If so, that would be fascinating to watch.


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I just think its fascinating that UK border control knew who Glenn Greenwald’s husband is.

MayBee on August 21, 2013 at 12:05 PM

How fitting that his name is Miranda, given the discussion is about people’s rights.

Christien on August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

This statist is just another goon.

MoreLiberty on August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective.

Schadenfreude on August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Mmmmm, immunity sauce. I bet that goes good on Portuguese Water Dog.

Flange on August 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

How fitting that his name is Miranda, given the discussion is about people’s rights.

Christien on August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

No coincidences, just the illusion thereof.

Schadenfreude on August 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

I wonder if Miranda was a reverse-sting run by Greenwald and the Guardian. Maybe he wasn’t a mule, they just wanted the government to think he was.

myiq2xu on August 21, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective.

He’s another Harvard Law grad.

myiq2xu on August 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

The Star Chamber (camera stellata) is an old English tradition…apparently recently revised.

coldwarrior on August 21, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective.

Schadenfreude on August 21, 2013 at 12:06 PM

And hardly ever right on how these things work themselves out.

Happy Nomad on August 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM

“The word ‘journalism’ is not magical immunity sauce,” Toobin replies at the end, “that you can put on anything and eliminate any sort of liability.” Of course, that’s an argument we will shortly have in the US over the liability of journalists who receive classified material from secret sources, but no one in the US has seriously suggested prosecuting journalists under that concept. Oh, wait …

Kudo’s to Toobin for taking a tack to the inflated balloon of the ego / self-worth of ‘journalists’. After decades of embracing progressivism, being ‘indoctrinated’ in progressive journalism schools, and believing that they are something special in world because of their role to ‘report news’ – they need to have someone shatter their hubris with a dose of reality. They aren’t special or different.

Athos on August 21, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Old and Busted: Awesome Sauce
Also Old and Busted: Weak Sauce
The New Hotness: Magical Immunity Sauce

Unlike Pace Picante, Magical Immunity Sauce is made in Neeew Yorrrk Ciiity?! Get a rope, boys…

Christien on August 21, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Obama’s War on Gay Journalists?

faraway on August 21, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for f*ckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.”

– Hunter S. Thompson

WhatSlushfund on August 21, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective.

He’s another Harvard Law grad.

myiq2xu on August 21, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Like, uh…Ted Cruz.

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Like, uh…Ted Cruz.

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Double agent

faraway on August 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I agree with Toobin here.
Well his point, anyway. And apt metaphor (though he could have chosen better).
Toobin makes an excellent poit…would folks in any way entertain Greenwald’s arguments over journalism if Miranda was carrying launch codes? Or personal details of undercover agents?

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Mmmmm, immunity sauce. I bet that goes good on Portuguese Water Dog.

Flange on August 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

LOL. Well done.

Throat Wobbler Mangrove on August 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Like, uh…Ted Cruz.

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Double agent

faraway on August 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Immunity sauce covered?

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Ya gotta love it when the Progtards can’t come to grips with the Government Ruling class’ brand of totalitarianism they are complicit in ushering in.
.
and they keep extending the “Blame Bush” statute of limitation.
.
Lets talk Killary instead.

FlaMurph on August 21, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Toobin makes an excellent poit…would folks in any way entertain Greenwald’s arguments over journalism if Miranda was carrying launch codes? Or personal details of undercover agents?

This is a good point. Moreover perhaps he was carrying this or other highly sensitive information. We don’t know.

Mason on August 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Miranda rights second paragraph of the warring needs to be worked out.

Claiming you are a journalist does not give you immunity to questioning in a criminal investigation of transporting stolen information.

tjexcite on August 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM

How about the word “philanderer”..?

d1carter on August 21, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Remember, unless you’re salaried, you’re not a real journalist.

patman77 on August 21, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective.

I agree. if this were Bush, he’d be outraged.

What I especially hate about the age we’re living through is the immediate assumption by Greenwald supporters that whatever happened at the airport was somehow made worse simply by the fact that these two are gay.

When it’s a conservative breaking press rules, they’re hacks, loathsome beings. When a liberal does it, he’s the savior of our freedoms. I will give Greenwald some bit of credit for being less partisan than a Krugman, but that’s about it.

bobs1196 on August 21, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Toobin is an arrogant azz, hardly ever objective

Toobin was on a CNN special Anderson Cooper hosted on the Philadelphia abortion clinic. Toobin was a bold enough liar to claim that non-coverage had nothing to do with media bias and the media’s support for abortion.

bw222 on August 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM

bw222 on August 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Not an abortion thread.

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Being a journalists gay lover doesn’t make you a journalist…….just gay.

Tater Salad on August 21, 2013 at 2:35 PM

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM

It’s a Toobin thread you frickin’ left-wing moron.

bw222 on August 21, 2013 at 2:37 PM

Toobin=POS

Destroying rights of others destroys ours and the rule of law……. go ahead sport… at least offer some kinds feeble attempt to uphold the rule of law.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on August 21, 2013 at 2:47 PM

verbaluce on August 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM

It’s a Toobin thread you frickin’ left-wing moron.

bw222 on August 21, 2013 at 2:37 PM

…it’s his new douche…it makes his brain vibrant!

KOOLAID2 on August 21, 2013 at 9:56 PM