"The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know."

"For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

“Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed."

"No President should fear public scrutinity of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.”

“I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers-- I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.”

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First (emphasized) Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution-- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

”This means greater coverage and analysis of international news-- for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security...

"And so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of mans deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news-- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."
(John F. Kennedy 1961)

The Best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of Openness. (Neils Bohr 1885-1962 Danish Physicist)

Comments

rs allen 13 weeks 5 days ago
#1

When exactly were those days of Camelot that you're writing about happen?

You must be talking about some other country or reviewing the story book feature of some la la land but it's certainly not about the usa.......ever.

Gaius's picture
Gaius 13 weeks 3 days ago
#2
Quote RS Allen:When exactly were those days of Camelot that you're writing about happen?

1961-1963. Although for you that might have been 1971-1979 in Uganda, as Idi Amin was the only world leader to share your attitude. Are you the King of Scotland too?

Roland

rs allen 13 weeks 2 days ago
#3

Ah, another little Jackie Paper. Still living in Honahlee are you?

It's ok to grow up ya know, most of us do survive while being adults.

61---63 was any and everything but transparent, open or honest. Grow up.

carolyncoastbound's picture
carolyncoastbound 13 weeks 5 hours ago
#4

This is a great post, and good points. It's sad when people (such as commenter above r s allen) are so cynical they can't grasp the magic of having a president who truly believed in democracy, understood the constitution and the beautiful dream of America--even if we clearly did not perfectly attain it--and, frankly, we never will perfectly attain it. BUT WE HAVE TO TRY! . Please don't do these ad hominem attacks like telling a poster to "grow up" here. But consider that, yes, sometimes basically good people do rise in power. They make mistakes, but they have noble goals. JFK did so many things opposite of, for example, Donald J Trump, that it's almost impossilbe to list them all. He accepted responsibility for the Bay of Pigs. He gathered a group of people, even those he disagreed with, to solve the Cuban Missile Crisis, putting country far, far, above party. He risked his own life in a war that he easily could have wealthy-manned out of. He used speeches to inspire and teach, rather than to pat himself on the back, play victim, or attack those who challenged him for power. The contrast is so extreme it's unbelievable. Insted of attacking r s allen, how about going on youtube and playing a few lesser-known JFK speeches. Then play a few trump speeches. Then explain why you would tell someone to "grow up" who longs for a president and a sensibility like we had with JFK. Thanks!

rs allen 12 weeks 5 days ago
#5

Wow, referencing trumkoph is really setting a high bar pollyanna.

Yes by all means go ahead run on back to the days of your innocence of youth polly.

" oh to live on sugar mountain, with the barkers and colored balloons,

You can't be twenty on sugar mountain,

though you're thinking your leaving it too soon." (Neal Young)

Bought myself a red balloon and got a blue blue Surprise: (Tim Hardin)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as_vtFDWJVo

Read some history and grow up for crying out loud you sound like a sixteen year old.

Upgrayedd's picture
Upgrayedd 12 weeks 4 days ago
#6

I don't think I'd want to relive 1961-1963 if I were African American. Or a woman.

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