A Look at Sarah Olson and Other Journalists Under Fire

Utne Reader online notes "the case of freelance journalist Sarah Olson has been largely overlooked by mainstream outlets, but her recent victory is one worthy of big-type headlines. Prosecutors representing the US Army had tried to force Olson to testify in a court martial against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, whom she had interviewed shortly before he refused deployment to Iraq. On January 29, the US government dropped two of the charges against Watada, and withdrew their subpoena of Olson. ... 'It is clear that we must continue to demand that the separation between press and government be strong,' Olson said in a news release, 'and that the press be a platform for all perspectives, regardless of their popularity with the current administration.' "


We must not delude ourselves that the supoena was withdrawn because the Feds suddenly had an epiphany, realizing that what they were doing was wrong. Indeed,the reason the supoena was dropped is that Lt. Watada affirmed the veracity of the material Susan had reported, essentially letting her off the hook. This was a wise decision on Lt. Watada's part because the flap about Susan Olson threatened draw attention from Watada's material case and get lodged primarily in a freedom of the press issue. It is VITAL that the American people understand that Lt. Watada is doing something even more radical than Ms. Olson's resistance. Lt. Watada is doing precisely what Americans went to the polls for last election - "Support our Troops" and Stop the Criminal War! I hope the press gets out there, challenging the attempts of the government to turn the media into its mouthpiece. I live minutes away from Ft. Lewis where Lt. Watada is being tried, and I was shocked to see that foreign media picked up, with FAR more coverage than the American media, the significance of the trial and the extent of national support of Lt. Watada. It astonished me that the few people who came out to counter the thousands of those who supported Lt. Watada were rewarded coverage disproportionate to their numbers. Now, more than ever, journalists and reporters have to stand firm with their management and owners, insisting that ALL the news is accurately reported. Do it for Molly!