Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin Wants Government to Decide Who Qualifies as a Real Journalist
July 2, 2013 - 12:59 pm
Dick Durbin just has your best interests at heart, First Amendment. He says so himself in an editorial for the Chicago Sun-Times.
The media informs the public and holds government accountable. Journalists should have reasonable legal protections to do their important work. But not every blogger, tweeter or Facebook user is a “journalist.” While social media allows tens of millions of people to share information publicly, it does not entitle them to special legal protections to ignore requests for documents or information from grand juries, judges or other law enforcement personnel.
A journalist gathers information for a media outlet that disseminates the information through a broadly defined “medium” — including newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, magazine, news website, television, radio or motion picture — for public use. This broad definition covers every form of legitimate journalism.
“Legitimate journalism.” What an interesting phrase, coming from the senator who hails from what may be the most corrupt state in the union.
What qualifies as “legitimate journalism” or a “news website” in Durbin’s mind? Anyone can tweet something that constitutes news and the broadcast of which can be deemed journalism. Tweets of ordinary citizens molested by the TSA have become news stories. As we’ve seen repeatedly over the past several decades, so-called journalists can bury stories harmful to powerful politicians or pet causes. Newsweek buried the Clinton-Lewinsky affair; Matt Drudge exposed it on what was then pretty much a personal web site. Which was the real journalism outlet? The mainstream media avoided covering the Gosnell trial as much as they could, while sites like LifeNews moved the story nationally. Lila Rose’s investigations of Planned Parenthood have exposed lies and abuse that the mainstream media pretends are not happening at all. Who are the real journlists, James O’Keefe or Lawrence O’Donnell?
Where Durbin’s logic leads is a shield law for journalists in exchange for government licensing who has the right to get under that shield and call themselves a journalist. Government control of “journalism,” in other words.