The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 16 No. 11 • December 2013


BRIEF REPORTS


MEDIA SHIELD LAW THREATENS
THE FIRST AMENDMENT

No surprise here. When Congress tries to design a “media shield” law to “protect” reporters from having to reveal their sources, the First Amendment becomes the first casualty. The Senate Judiciary Committee just passed their version of a media shield law (reported on Eaglerising.com blog on Sept. 16, 2013). The big problem with their law—and it is an IMMENSE problem—is that they will be deciding who is a journalist (and who isn’t) and, hence, who is covered by this media shield. The way we look on it, any reporter should be covered, no matter who they represent, whether newspaper, magazine, blog, or just themselves. Any attempt to favor certain people as “covered” by the media shield while disfavoring others would be a violation of the First Amendment. Funny how so many Congresscritters just don’t get it.

Take Lindsey Graham, for example. This idiot had the temerity to say, “Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves. Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our time.” Fortunately for us, this creep is, at the current time, thought to be about to lose his seat by being tossed out during the Republican primary. Thank goodness. “WE” need to ask ourselves who is a journalist? Do bloggers “DESERVE” First Amendment protection? Then, of course, there is Dianne Feinstein who also thinks the government should decide who is and who isn’t under the protection of the First Amendment via the media shield law. Too bad she isn’t about to be tossed as well.

The good news is that the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has finally figured out that just defending the rights of reporters working for Big Media to protect their sources, but not the reporters working for small presses or just themselves, wouldn’t work. Once the Congress started whittling down the list of who is covered by the media shield, everyone will be at risk. The latest issue of the magazine published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press even included an article discussing the problem of government abridging the freedom of speech of those who offer advice for a living under the stealth argument that this is restriction of behavior (like licensing a profession) not a limit on freedom of speech. The article mentioned the Institute for Justice that has filed suit against the federal government on behalf of some clients who have come under attack by the feds for trying to make a living by selling speech.

http://www.rcfp.org/browse-media-law-resources/news/definition-journalist-scaled-back-federal-shield-bill

http://www.ij.org/cases/firstamendment

For example:

http://www.ij.org/kypyschspeech

http://www.ij.org/txvetspeech

http://www.ij.org/nola-tours

http://www.ij.org/dc-tours

We have been members of and contributors to the Reporters' Committee For Freedom Of The Press for decades, and highly recommend their FOIA booklets which provide instructions for prying information out of reluctant governments. RCFP has FOIA booklets for the Federal government and for each of the State governments.

We have also been contributors to the Institute For Justice for many years. They have done a lot of good and won a great many court cases that defend liberty.

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