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Nixon’s spokesman upholds requiring journalists to reveal their sources “in judicial and legislative proceedings.” March 15. It is now apparent that Nixon is lighting fuses in the ghettoes. At every level of government it is clear that federal funds are being cut off for programs serving the public, especially the poor and the handicapped. Meanwhile, prices continue skyrocketing as the price-colluding corporations take fullest advantage of their power. In Washington, Nixon announces he will not put controls on food prices and opposes organized consumer boycotts. Double the stakes Senator Frank Church of Idaho, chairman of the new senatorial investigation of the multinational corporations, made a smooth and politic speech about worthy enterprise in Houston the other night, warning U.S. corporations that they are running head-into rising nationalism and that if they are not brought into conformity with the U.S. national interest, they are increasingly endangered abroad. But what Church’s speech made me want to know is why the Senate is not also simultaneously investigating the evolved nature of the major domestic corporations. It’s the same subject; we are just as much in the dark about the operation of our economic power structure at home as we are about its activities abroad. Senator Lee Metcalf of Montana has spoken of fostering such a domestic investigation, and I hope he will go forward with it. Church and Metcalf investigations could work together for the enlightening of the people on what has From a recent Dallas newspaper: “For Sale or Lease: Famous Historic Dallas Landmark* previously occupied by Texas School Book Depository at 411 Elm Street \(at Houston according to the Warren Commission Report, that a sniper fired the shots that killed President John F. Kennedy and wounded former Gov. John Connally Nov. 22, 1963.” BIG THICKET MUSEUM Saratoga, Texas Open Saturday through Thursday, morning and afternoon. Support Your Big Thicket Association gone wrong with our country. Another speaker in Houston \(during a convocation of the Fund for the Center of was Ramsey Clark. Discussing his subject of special concern, crime and social justice, Clark delivered, without a note, one of the half dozen or so most powerful speeches I have heard in my life. As I understand he has many other audiences, he held this one silent and spellbound for about an hour. One could not make any mistake about this: here is a man who is educating thousands of Americans that it is possible and necessary to care deeply and to make others do so. I am told that in conversation in Houston, asked why he does not run for office in Texas, Clark replied that the citizens here are not ready for what he has to say, and that if he is to run for the Senate, New York may be the state for him to do it in. In the course of the Houston program, Fagan Dickson, the Austin attorney, said extemporaneously, “We may easily fall into a police state as far as public information is concerned.” Robert Hutchins and other speakers paid tribute to the liberal Houston oilman J. R. Parten as the man without whom there would have been no Fund for the Republic and no Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Hutchins said Parten persuaded the Ford Foundation to stake the Fund to $15 million even as the foundation was breaking away from the fund at the outset of the fund’s defense of citizens’ rights in the McCarthy and early desegregation period and that Parten, with “one trip to Washington,” saved the Fund from right-wing attacks aimed at cancelling its tax exemption. Part of the Center’s Houston program was devoted to presentations of analyses of the energy situation that comported with the viewpoints and special pleadings of the oil companies. This surprised and disconcerted many in attendance, including me. Whose shield? Let the members of the legislature and congress know that no so-called “shield law” for journalists is worth the paper it’s written on unless it protects reporters’ rights to refuse to divulge sources under any circumstances. The Constitution does not prohibit Congress from passing any law abridging freedom of the press because the founding fathers had a quixotic preference for journalism over the other professions. Without a free press there is no free country. Require journalists to divulge their sources and we become a police state. Make exceptions and they become the government’s club against the press. A “shield law” that makes exceptions is a shield law that shields the government from the people. R.D.
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