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Synopsis: Live Panel – Zoom
July 29, 2021
12:00 PM EST

Zoom Link (click on the title of the panel below to go to the live panel):

The Ramifications of the Pentagon Papers—Today

On July 3, 1971 the New York Times published what is now known as the Pentagon Papers, which prompted a series of events that ultimately resulted in the resignation of Richard Nixon and changed the landscape on American journalism due to a landmark decision on freedom of the press. This informative panel will examine the long-term impact of the publishing of the Pentagon Papers on free speech, whistleblowing, investigative journalism and American society overall.

Gene Policinski (Moderator), Freedom Forum
Mark Zaid, Whistleblower Attorney
Lynn Overlander, Media Attorney at Ballard Spahr
Eleanor Clift Former, Daily Beast / McLaughlin Group
Ken Jost (Invited), Supreme Court year book

Director's Bio

Gene Policinski (moderator) is Senior Fellow for the First Amendment for the Freedom Forum, where he contributes to the weekly “First Five” commentary on First Amendment issues, responds to news media inquiries and participates in various Freedom Forum programs. One of the founding editors of USA Today, he also is a trustee of the First Amendment Museum being developed in Augusta, Me. A longtime proponent of diversity as an essential element of a free press, he is a member of the board of directors of Journal-isms, a regular news column on diversity in the news media. As a veteran multimedia journalist, he writes, lectures and is interviewed regularly about the news media and First Amendment issues. Policinski joined the Freedom Forum in 1996 after a 27-year daily journalism career, mostly with Gannett Co. Inc.; and retired in 2020 as president and chief operating officer of the Freedom Forum Institute. He has hosted, produced and directed a variety of online, audio and video programs and series throughout his career; and was director and narrator for more than ten years of a touring multimedia, live musical program, “Freedom Sings,” about free expression in music, supported by the Freedom Forum.

Mark S. Zaid is a Washington, D.C. based attorney who has been representing whistleblowers, particularly high-profile national security clients, for 25 years. Since 2009, he has annually been designated a Washington, D.C. Super Lawyer, and in 2020, the Washington Metropolitan Employment Lawyer’s Association named him “Attorney of the Year” for his work on the Intelligence Community Whistleblower’s case. Earlier this year Washingtonian Magazine named him as one of D.C.’s Most Influential People in 2021 for Legal Intelligentsia. As the National Law Journal once wrote, “if Agent Mulder ever needed a lawyer, Zaid would be his man.” He teaches the D.C. Bar CLE class on federal whistleblower claims, and in 2017, Mr. Zaid co-founded Whistleblower Aid, a non-profit law firm that provides pro bono legal representation to whistleblowers, particularly in the national security arena. He also frequently represents media outlets and journalists, particularly in Freedom of Information Act litigation, including USA Today, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, Yahoo News, Politico, Daily Mail, Daily Beast, Gawker and

Lynn Oberlander is a leading media attorney and advocate for journalists. Now in private practice after a long career as in-house counsel, she is with the law firm of Ballard Spahr LLP. Oberlander was a Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Media, for Univision Communications Inc., from 2018 through 2020, while also serving as Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Univision’s subsidiary, Gizmodo Media Group (GMG), from March of 2017 through July 2019. At GMG, she oversaw the legal operations of one of the nation’s largest digital news companies, including the websites Gizmodo, Jalopnik, Deadspin, The Root, and Splinter. From 2014 through March 2017, she was the General Counsel, Media Operations for First Look Media Works, the publisher of national security website The Intercept and documentary film project, Field of Vision. She founded and led the company’s Press Freedom Defense Fund, which provides funding for cases in support of the First Amendment and other press freedoms. Prior to that she worked at The New Yorker, Forbes and NBC. She is a frequent speaker on freedom of expression and media law topics and testified this year before the House Judiciary Committee on “Secrecy Orders and Prosecuting Leaks: Potential Legislative Responses to Deter Prosecutorial Abuse of Power.”

Eleanor Clift is a Daily Beast columnist writing about Washington power and politics. A former Newsweek correspondent, she covered every president since Jimmy Carter and was a panelist on the long-running McLaughlin Group. She is the author of Founding Sisters and the 19th Amendment and Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Politics. She has appeared as herself in several movies, including Dave, Independence Day, Rising Sun, and the CBS series, Murphy Brown.

Kenneth Jost (Invited) is a journalist, author and columnist who has covered legal affairs for more than fifty years. He’s been a writer and editor for Sage Publications since 1987 and for the last 29 years has authored The Supreme Court Yearbook; Supreme Court from A to Z. Jost serves as a contributing writer for CQ Researcher and was a member of the CQ Researcher team. His health reporting has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists and his legal affairs reporting by the American Bar Association. The ABA awarded him the 2002 American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and his blog, Jost on Justice, is listed among the top legal blogs by the ABA Journal. Jost teaches media law at Georgetown Law School.

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