As Glenn Reynolds writes in the New York Post today, “Sen. Dick Durbin thinks it’s time for Congress to decide who’s a real reporter,” which is a bit like Al Capone deciding who’s a real cop:
The ability to publish inexpensively, and to reach potentially millions of people in seconds, has made it possible for people who’d never be able to — or even want to — be hired by the institutional press to nonetheless publish and influence the world, much like 18th century pamphleteers.
Over the past few years, a lot of big scoops have come from people other than the institutional press — from James O’Keefe’s exposés of ACORN and voter fraud, to Edward Snowden’s release of NSA secrets via Glenn Greenwald, who talking head David Gregory suggested is not a “real journalist.”
Durbin’s pontifications about who’s entitled to press freedom were uttered in the course of promoting a federal “shield law” that would allow those “real” journalists to conceal their sources. I oppose such laws in general, but to the extent that they exist, they should protect everyone who’s doing journalism, regardless of where their paycheck comes from.
I wouldn’t trust Durbin (or most of his Senate colleagues) to baby-sit my kid. I certainly don’t trust them to decide who counts as a “real” journalist — and, more importantly, who doesn’t.
That last sentence is already leaving a mark. In addition to the examples quoted above, Glenn mentions the Egyptian tweeters and bloggers, who are running rings around the MSM, particularly since many Egyptians are carrying signs and banners that the American media considers samizdat. Just this past weekend, the first images of the Boeing 777 crash at SFO was tweeted by a Samsung executive who happened to be cool enough under pressure to document the aftermath of the landing:
Dick Durbin would like to silence such reporting. Of course, perhaps he’s merely concerned about the excessive hyperbole frequently employed by citizen journalists. I mean, you never know when some crazed leftie is going to compare the American military to Pol Pot, the Nazis or the Soviet Union.