Democracy Series: ‘Fighting for the Press’ with James Goodale

Congressional hearings have produced headlines and raised hackles over whether the Justice Department has misused its powers in going after The Associated Press and a Fox News reporter’s telephone records. We were privileged to host James Goodale, famed First Amendment attorney and author, to discuss his extremely timely and best-selling book Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles.

Where does freedom of the press supersede national security? Is the current administration too aggressive in shutting down leakers and potential whistle-blowers? Should there be new legislation to protect the press trying to report on the government? As the government also looks to prosecute Julian Assange for the largest series of leaks in the nation’s history, these questions will become even more important and pressing.

An engaging work which underlines the importance of fighting for a free press. Without press freedom, informed public debate is curtailed and democratic accountability diminished.
— Kofi Annan
The most detailed and honest inside account yet of the successful judicial fight to publish the Pentagon Papers by the uncompromising lawyer in the middle of it. Goodale and his colleagues won the right to tell the American people that their government – and their President – had lied, manipulated and cheated their way into a disastrous war … while the war was still being waged. This history could not come at a more important time.
— Seymour M. Hersh
James Goodale is an American treasure and so is Fighting for the Press. This is a story worthy of John Grisham, except this one actually happened; it is fact, not fiction – and it’s still unfolding.
— Dan Rather

James C. Goodale is a leading First Amendment lawyer with Debevoise & Plimpton. He has represented The New York Times in every one of its cases to go to the Supreme Court. These were the Pentagon Papers case (The New York Times Co. v. The U.S.), The New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (libel), Branzburg v. Hayes and The New York Times Co. v. Tasini (digital rights).


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