newspresstapesmallNever argue with someone who buys her duct tape by the carload. The First Amendment protects a newspaper publisher from any consequences for what would be illegal union-squelching by a non-media employer, a federal appeals court has ruled in a case involving the Santa Barbara News-Press.  The losing employees in the labor relations case saw themselves as fighting to uphold basic journalistic integrity; the publisher saw them as trying to usurp her editorial sovereignty  The decision is given a close reading on a liberal/progressive news and opinion website, remarked with astonishment by a blogger for The Guardian and LA Observed, and given national attention only by the Associated Press. Few older hands could resist quoting A. J. Liebling: "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."