Somebody calls the FBI about a young bearded guy reading lefty literature in a coffee shop. The FBI contacts the young bearded guy, who consents to be interviewed. Agents visit him and he is taken aback to discover that they look and talk like cops rather than ironic twenty something bookstore employees. They ask him some questions, explain why they are interested, and leave. He later telephones one of the agents to provide more information about what he was reading in the coffee shop. That’s it. Then the guy publishes an online column in which he frets about the dire state of our country.
His article is actually more revealing about his own dire intellectual state, and perhaps that of self-identified future journalism students generally. The person who reported him to the FBI may have been malicious or foolish, and most such tips about possible terrorists are undoubtedly smoke, but how is the govt supposed to know which tips are bogus? There is no alternative to checking them out. The FBI has done a lot of bad things but this isn’t one of them. If it really were a police state they would have done more than ask him a few questions and leave, and he probably would not have written publicly about the experience.
On the other hand, a published article about a run-in with the feds looks good on the aspiring journalist’s resume.