Is a Judge’s Order a Threat to a Free Press?

James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, in 2020.
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Judge Upholds Block on The Times’s Coverage of Project Veritas and Adds Order” (news article, Dec. 25) and “Appeals Court Allows New York Times to Keep Project Veritas Memos, for Now” (Business, Dec. 29):

Justice Charles D. Wood has issued an ominous ruling that is clearly breaking with the tradition of a free press that has been established law stemming from the Pentagon Papers case.

In this current case there is not even a hint of a national security breach, yet the judge has allowed Project Veritas to stop The Times from publishing the organization’s memos. We should all be up in arms at what this means to the future of a free press. Only the most sensitive information that could endanger the country should be considered under prior restraint. This case most certainly doesn’t rise to that bar.

Given its name, Project Veritas, it is ironic that the organization is intent on preventing the truth from being printed. But truth may not be its goal.

Ellen Silverman Popper

To the Editor:

Re “A Dangerous Court Ruling” (editorial, Dec. 27):

The court’s determination that attorney-client privilege trumped any First Amendment rights of the journalists appropriately recognized a court’s obligation to protect the attorney-client relationship, which is the heart of our judicial system, from improper invasion.

The notion that journalists should be the arbiters of what to publish and when ignores the importance of the attorney-client privilege for purely selfish reasons, improperly cloaked in First Amendment jurisprudence. Justice Charles D. Wood’s decision should be affirmed by the Appellate Division.

Steven Harfenist
Lake Success, N.Y.
The writer is a lawyer.

Carlos Chavarria for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “With Holmes, an Era of Faking It Meets Reality” (Silicon Valley Memo, front page, Jan. 5):

Only an environment of mendacity like Silicon Valley can explain Elizabeth Holmes and her film-flam blood testing company, Theranos. One can only marvel at the gullibility of the best and the brightest who invested almost $1 billion in the failed venture, made her a fixture on the covers of the financial magazines and added their all-star credibility to her governing board.

Thankfully, Tyler Shultz (grandson of former Secretary of State George Shultz, a Theranos board member) and the journalist John Carreyrou had the common sense and integrity to blow the whistle on the scam. A true cautionary drama of greed, hubris and societal dereliction of duty.

Dennis L. Breo
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Barton Silverman/The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Bonds and Clemens Belong in Cooperstown,” by Jeff Novitzky (Opinion guest essay, Dec. 31):

Is there such a thing as an asterisk in the Hall of Fame?

Was our anger at the failings of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in part a misplaced disappointment with the system that enabled the use of performance-enhancing drugs and with ourselves for turning a blind eye? Have we done these two a grave injustice?

Or is the hubris of possibly the two greatest players of their day, maybe of any day, the ultimate basis for denying them entry into the pantheon?

I have struggled to reach my own conclusion, as I long felt that the Hall of Fame exclusion was the only retribution, the only punishment that fit the crime committed by two men who received adulation and riches while bending the rules of the game. But maybe I now can see that the fault was as much with ourselves as with the stars.

So let me now cast aside my doubts and grievances and cast my vote, with an asterisk, for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Robert S. Nussbaum
Great Barrington, Mass.


To the Editor:

Re “With Biometrics, Your Face Is, or Will Be, Your Boarding Pass” (Travel, Dec. 24):

We shouldn’t be so quick to accept the argument that biometrics are “the future.” While the technology may serve the interests of the Transportation Security Administration and the airlines — large bureaucracies that process people on an industrial scale — it’s far less clear that they serve the full interests of individuals.

Biometrics, especially face recognition, allow people to be recognized and tracked en masse not only at the airport but outside it as well. They lead to racially disparate arrests and threaten to chill our freedoms through the total loss of anonymity in public. Cheerful assurances that their application will remain voluntary are not to be believed.

As the dangers of face recognition have become increasingly clear, cities and towns across the United States have enacted bans on government use, and major companies like Amazon and Microsoft have halted sales to law enforcement.

There’s nothing inevitable about this technology. The future is ours to create, and that future shouldn’t include mass biometric tracking.

Jay Stanley
The writer is a senior policy analyst with the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Photo Illustration by Andrew B. Myers for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Instead of Relying on Diets, Learn to Train Your Brain” (Well, Science Times, Jan. 4):

As a stay-at-home mom of a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old stuck in the dead of a cold Ohio winter, I long for a day where I could step out and take a three-mile walk. (I know: Choices, right?) I find it ridiculously hard to work out and to constantly make healthy choices, yet I know that it’s essential.

I’m usually eating a handful of “something I found” over a sink as my lunch. Some days it feels as if being “truly healthy” is a luxury that some of us just can’t make work.

Stephanie Bergman
Medina, Ohio