WEB Notes: While many Americans are busy updating their Facebook status… The powers that be plot to reduce more of our freedoms. Take your pick: the illegal immigration bill currently being proposed in Congress which would require you to have a national ID card. Or how about the Orwellian California Gun Ban bills that have already passed the state Senate? Without the 2nd there is no 1st. Now, Senator Lindsey Graham is questioning the first by stating, ‘he is not sure if bloggers are covered under the first amendment.’ How long will our nation stand idle? The problem cannot be pinned on one donkey or elephant. After all, Graham is a Republican.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
“Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” PERIOD!
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” – Hosea 4:6
(National Journal) – Whether bloggers count as journalists has mostly been a matter of esoterics for reporter types. But as Congress weighs a media shield law in response to the Associated Press/Justice Department subpoena scandal, the question is gaining an urgency that lawmakers are finding hard to ignore as they turn to writing the bill.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., took on the issue—and stumbled.
“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves,” he said. “Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”
The verbal slipup aside (of course bloggers are covered under the Bill of Rights!), Graham’s riffing on constitutional law exposes one of the age-old tensions between journalism as a product and journalism as an activity.
What Graham really meant to ask was whether bloggers deserve the specific protections of the First Amendment that are granted to the press. And in fact, along with his colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Graham has been an ardent proponent of a media shield law in recent weeks. But as the line between blogger and journalist has blurred, a far more relevant challenge is figuring out whether those protections apply to the behavior of finding and passing on (sometimes secret) information, or if they apply only to people with little plastic ID badges to prove their affiliation.