Police Suspend Investigation Of U.Va. Rape Claims Made In 'Rolling Stone' : NPR

Honestly, I think the option has, depending on how it's implemented, either no teeth or way too much potential for abuse. First, I'm not sure how it would work. If the information is secret and the media has to ask the police or the state to ask you to let them use it, there's already too much potential for abuse. Otherwise there's no way to be sure, from a reporting standpoint, that the person wants to be secret versus someone else wants it that way.

The first scenario is that the information has to be out there, just not reportable, under penalty of law. Which means basically that any dumbass with a twitter account, if they find out about it, is free to speculate and bullshit and the media can't call them on it until the truth is so far behind that when you finally authorize them to report on this, no one cares anymore. You haven't protected someone's name--you've only silenced the media outlets with some kind incentive toward decent reporting. By the time NPR does an in-depth piece, it's too late, you're a murderer. If a future employer googles you, they'll still see the social media speculation.

If you found a way to plug that hole--if you silenced everyone, which I strongly believe would be a first amendment violation anyway--it would basically mean enhanced reputation protection for the political class. We know that people in positions of power--police, local government, state government, federal government--have used their position of power to make cases go away. But if you can't even report on something without a conviction if they say you can't, Bob Smith for President could have had sixteen different individuals accuse him of crimes ranging from extortion to excessive use of force to sexual assault back when he was a cop, and the news can't say so because his daddy was the DA and made the cases go away.

Finally, if you go all the way to secret--no one knows your name unless you sign a document the police or the prosecutor hand you saying they can release it--you end up with the nightmare scenario. Steve blows the whistle on what he believes is illegal and unconstitutional overreach of government power. Whistleblower Steve is suddenly accused of child porn. Does he want everyone--including his wife and four kids and his wife's mom and his kids' friends and every job he will ever apply to if he gets off? Or does he want to be railroaded in a secret trial? What is it going to be, Steve? Can you imagine your wife crying when we tell her? If secret is an option, this could happen a dozen times and no one would see a pattern.

I think the idea that if you're not guilty, you don't have anything to fear from the government having additional powers to pressure secret trials is a really naive one. It's the same one that underlies the idea that if you're not guilty, you don't have anything to fear from surveillance or from any other abuse of government power. The system has to protect everyone, including those who might be guilty and those who simply piss someone important off. If the system doesn't protect the rights of the people whose rights most need protecting, what's the point?

/r/TwoXChromosomes Thread Parent Link - npr.org