Responding to Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin’s appearance on Fox News Sunday today, Jeff Poor of the Daily Caller notes, “Durbin not sure if bloggers should be ‘entitled to constitutional protection:’”
“You’ve raised an important point and I heard Sen. Graham call for special counsel,” Durbin said. “I’m not ready to do this at this moment. I would like to know if Holder has any conflict in here beyond what we heard when it comes to the Fox case.”
“But here is the bottom line — the media shield law, which I am prepared to support, and I know Sen. Graham supports, still leaves an unanswered question, which I have raised many times: What is a journalist today in 2013? We know it’s someone that works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who is tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection? We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision that was written over 200 years ago.”
Not surprisingly for a man who equates the American armed forces with Pol Pot (the Khmer Rouge, the Red States, same thing, right?), Durbin gets the Constitution precisely wrong. Or as Jonah Goldberg noted on Friday in his weekly G-File email:
My column today is on one of my biggest peeves: the selective editing of the First Amendment. Whenever I hear someone say “I’m a First Amendment absolutist” or words to that effect, I always want to ask them, “Oh really? So you believe that there should be no limits on how people can peaceably assemble?” Or “Me too! I believe in an absolutely unfettered freedom of religion!” First Amendment “crusaders” almost invariably mean “free press” rights and no others. And even here, they’re often disingenuous. Many First Amendment fanatics in the press actually want to circumscribe free-speech rights for non-journalists — whether it’s the Koch brothers or “mere” bloggers in their pajamas. Journalism isn’t a guild. The First Amendment belongs to everyone. Bob Woodward’s First Amendment rights are the same as my plumber’s.
And President Obama very much believes that to be true — he’s prepared to spy and/or sic the IRS on all of us. But regarding the MSM, as Michael Barone writes, “More than all past presidents, Obama uses 1917 Espionage Act to go after reporters:”
Congress was responding to incidents of German espionage before the declaration of war. In July 1916, German agents blew up the Black Tom munitions dump in New York Harbor. The explosion was loud enough to be heard from Connecticut to Maryland.
The Espionage Act was passed with bipartisan support in a Democratic Congress and strongly supported by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson wanted even more. “Authority to exercise censorship over the press is absolutely necessary,” he wrote a senator. He got that authority in May 1918 when Congress passed the Sedition Act criminalizing, among other things, “abusive language” about the government.
Wilson’s Justice Department successfully prosecuted Eugene Debs, the Socialist candidate who received 900,000 votes for president in 1912, for making statements opposing the war.
The Wilson administration barred socialist newspapers from the mails, jailed a filmmaker for making a movie about the Revolutionary War (don’t rile our British allies) and prosecuted a minister who claimed Jesus was a pacifist.
German-language books were removed from libraries, German-language newspapers forced out of business and one state banned speaking German outdoors.
It was an ugly period in our history. It’s also a reminder that big government liberals can be as much inclined to suppress civil liberties as small government conservatives — or more so.
In early 2008, in an article in the Christian Science Monitor to promote his then newly-published Liberal Fascism, Jonah warned readers, “You want a more ‘progressive’ America? Careful what you wish for. Voters should remember what happened under Woodrow Wilson.”
Safe to say, nobody remembered what happened under Wilson until LF was published; which is one reason why we began to relive the Wilsonian era starting in 2009, including the aforementioned spying on journalists, siccing the IRS on the president’s political enemies, and demonizing businesses. “Now The Gibson Guitar Raids Make Sense,” Investor’s Business Daily adds this weekend, given the conservative leanings of Gibson’s management.
In 2008, Obama was routinely compared, by journalists who knew better, with FDR, JFK, and Lincoln. Wilson’s name was rarely mentioned for comparison purposes, but in November of 2012, a typical piece of Obama puffery at the Politico was headlined, “Woodrow Wilson’s second term may be model for Barack Obama’s.” Naturally, given the nature of the Barry boosters at the Politico, the Website was incapable of comprehending what foreboding such a headline implied for further assaults on the nation’s civil liberties.
The article underneath it was written by Jane Harman, whose late husband had offloaded the failed Newsweek from the Washington Post for a dollar in 2010, after the magazine exhausted its patience with readers by declaring the previous year that “We Are All Socialists Now.”
Unfortunately, Newsweek didn’t warn its dwindling readers that the left had apparently all become socialists modeling themselves after Wilson; but then, as they say at David Horowitz’s Front Page Website, “Inside Every Liberal Is a Totalitarian Screaming to Get Out.”
Related: In the New York Post, fellow PJM columnist Michael Walsh asks, how does Eric Holder, Obama’s alter-ego, survive his innumerable scandals?