Doug Robinson: Memo to the government: Feel free to spy on me

Published: Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:55 p.m. MDT

Spying on the press is more bad news for reporters, although most of them are out of work anyway so they don't care. This government intrusion on a free press could affect our ability to gather news and serve as a "watchdog."

Johanna Workman

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SALT LAKE CITY — Recently, we learned that the government seized phone records of reporters hoping to discover leaks and "sources" and perhaps a recommendation for a good sushi place.

We reporters are always receiving exciting phone calls and emails from "secret sources," that is, when we aren't meeting them in underground parking garages in the middle of the night in our matching trench coats and giving each other clever nicknames. (In journalism school there's an entire class devoted to creating nicknames for sources who can tell us top-secret things, such as President Barack Obama's hat size.) It's the kind of stuff that would give any government snoop a thrill.

Spying on the press is more bad news for reporters, although most of them are out of work anyway so they don't care. This government intrusion on a free press could affect our ability to gather news and serve as a "watchdog." Sources will be reluctant to come forward, thus making it nearly impossible to report on important issues such as government corruption, IRS shenanigans or whomever Jennifer Aniston is dating these days.

In the spirit of cooperation, I am publishing my emails here to save the government the trouble of searching for them. Hope they enjoy the read. I'm sure it will be extremely helpful.

Email: Hey, Robinson, your an idiot. — Reader.

Dear Reader: I'd like to offer a friendly correction: It should read, "Hey, Robinson, you're an idiot." Your welcome.

"Doug, where is your column? Deadline was an hour ago!" — Editor.

Dear Editor: What!? You didn't find it? ! Are you sure? Must be a computer glitch. I sent it hours ago, honest. I'll resend it just as soon as I figure out what the problem is.

You call yourself a reporter?? A real reporter reports about something that he actually should know something about. — Reader.

Dear Reader: Oh, well, there's the problem. I'm only a pretend reporter who does this gig as a hobby. I would prefer to report things I actually know something about, but no one cares about pog collecting. (P.S. I won't call myself a reporter anymore.)

Your article (if it can be called an article) was the most pathetic and uneducated piece I have ever read. — Reader.

Dear Reader: Wait, I can do a lot worse. Give me a chance! You should see what I write about the BYU football team. I don't know a tight end from a loose end. (P.S. I won't call it an article anymore.)

It is obvious you don't have a clue about how complex air travel is. — Reader.

Dear Reader: How about this for some clues? I pay hundreds of dollars to hire a business to deliver my person and my suitcases from Point A to Point B at or near a certain agreed upon time. When they fail to deliver any or all of the above because they don't have pilots or a mechanic ready or because they overbooked or because they gave away my seats without bothering to check if my connecting flight was on time, they owe me a full refund, an apology and a free flight to Hawaii. Seems pretty simple to me.

Could you pick up a loaf of bread and some milk on the way home? — Your Wife.

Dear wife: Who is this, really?

(Memo to government snoops: I hope you're getting all this. This is good stuff.)

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