While the Rulers debate raising the debt ceiling because they can’t control their selfishness, and attempt to terrify the masses of a possible government shutdown (like that’s a bad thing?), and as the Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner Keynes go on to cave and vote to fund and not repeal ObamaCare, there are other issues being debated in the murder capital of the world.
For those who have been hearing about the U.S. CONgress’s proposed shield law for journalists, no, it is not to protect journalists. It is to protect the government.
It has to do with suppressing dissent.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to define who a “real journalist” is, and she says that she won’t support a shield law that covers “everyone who has a blog.” What she means is that elitists such as she do not like alternative media investigative reporters and bloggers who are actually doing the real reporting that the mainstreamers won’t do, and practicing real journalism: actually asking the who, what, how, why, when and where, actually digging into an issue to get the story behind the story.
In contrast, the mainstream media reporters, writers and editors who merely unthinkingly repeat what government bureaucrats tell them — these are the ones who Feinstein et al. want to “protect.”
They certainly don’t want to “protect” investigative journalists such as Michael Hastings and Andrew Breitbart, and they don’t want to protect other alternative media journalists such as Glenn Greenwald and Alex Jones. Of course not.
Because these Establishment politicians want to protect the secrets of the Regime, the criminality, the corruption. Obviously, they don’t want to protect media outlets such as WikiLeaks, or whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, William Binney or Sibel Edmonds.
No, only protect the propagandists of the MSM, the ones who take the word of government bureaucrats as The Truth, without question and act as stenographers for the State.
Here is my post listing many of Glenn Greenwald’s articles on the mainstream media government-propagandists, by the way.
But the First Amendment exists to protect an already pre-existing right: the right to freedom of speech and thought, freedom of conscience, the freedom of the Press. And yes, Dianne, the First Amendment protects “anyone who has a blog.” That 17-year-old blogger down the street from you, Dianne, who may get some sort of tip from an insider on the latest act of criminality by you and your fellow Senators, yeah, that blogger has as much right to protect his source as do Glenn Greenwald and Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Only fascist elitists think otherwise.
In my view, the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” as it is written in the First Amendment, is a part of our freedom of the Press. In other words, each and every individual has a right to “freedom of the Press,” and it is not up to some government bureaucrat to define who is a member of the Press, who is a real “journalist,” because anyone who wants to be a member of “the Press” has a right to do so. No “credentials,” no licensure or fee, no government approval!
So, on the Dianne Feinstein “shield law” proposals, the Tenth Amendment Center’s Mike Maharrey wrote:
Congress cannot pass a law removing any substance from the right to free speech or freedom of the press. And “the press” did not mean “news organizations” in the founding era. According to UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, it literally means the printing press. In other words, the technology to create the printed word.
And of course, printing press would extend to modern technologies that serve the same purpose, such as the Internet.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press link together. Essentially, freedom of the press protects the dissemination of “speech” via the press, and both apply to the people, not a select few picked out by Congress.
St. George Tucker wrote the first systematic commentary on the Constitution. He argued that the protecting the people’s right of free speech and freedom of the press was essential for keeping government restrained:
“It being one of the great fundamental principles of the American governments, that the people are the sovereign, and those who administer the government their agents, and servants, not their kings and masters, it would have been a political solecism to have permitted the smallest restraint upon the right of the people to inquire into, censure, approve, punish or reward their agents according to their merit, or demerit. The constitution, therefore, secures to them the unlimited right to do this, either by speaking, writing, printing, or by any other mode of publishing, which they may think proper. This being the only mode by which the responsibility of the agents of the public can be secured, and practically enforced, the smallest infringement of the rights guaranteed by this article, must threaten the total subversion of the government.” [Emphasis added]
So, Congress has no authority to define “journalist,” and it doesn’t even have the power to pass a “shield law.” The First Amendment already provides one. Clearly, federal power to compel those engaging in free speech through the press to disclose sources or documents would abridge that fundamental right.
This bill not only violates the First Amendment, but it assumes undelegated powers.
And, the more feisty Esquire columnist Charlie Pierce had this to say:
Hey, Dianne, here’s the thing on that First Amendment business. I get to define what you do for a living. And if I decide to define what you do for a living is to be a mewling apologist for the national-security community and a lapdog for the surveillance state, I get to do that, and I get to do it in a newspaper, or video, or on-line, or on a pamphlet stapled to a telephone pole outside your door, if I so choose. You get to sit there, collect your government salary, raise money from plutocrats, and shut…the…hell…up.
Which part of “Congress shall make no law…” do you not understand?
There must be something of a cognitive deficiency going on with today’s politicians (and their Goebbels in the media).
Related: A. Barton Hinkle has more on how the Rulers need to control the people’s speech and suppress dissent.