“This bill is described as a reporter shield law — I believe it should be applied to real reporters,” Feinstein said last week. “The current version of the bill would grant a special privilege to people who aren’t really reporters at all, who have no professional qualifications.”
The Feinstein-Durbin proposed amendment would narrowly define journalists as “a salaried agent” of a media company.
Feinstein also reportedly said that the bill shouldn’t apply to WikiLeaks or “a 17-year-old who drops out of high school, buys a website for $5 and starts a blog.”Two things here:
1. The first amendment applies to everyone, not just journalists. This law would be unconstitutional on face value.
2. There are no "professional qualifications" to become a journalist. There is no Ministry of Propaganda that bestows a certificate of journalism to individuals it deems "qualified". Benjamin Franklin was writing a gossip column at sixteen...this country is built on the ability for anyone to exercise the 1st amendment and make a difference. To propose that a journalist must be a "salaried agent" is ludicrous. Must a preacher be a "salaried agent" to exercise his 1st amendment rights?
Apparently a 17-year-old kid with $5 doesn't have the ability to write stories which may expose truth. Sen. Feinstein must think "real journalists" must maintain a certain degree of wealth and privilege in this country. They must work under the watchful eye of a corporate media entity to be "legitimate".
Feinstein's proposal is not only misguided, it's offensive. If she doesn't understand the nature of the 1st amendment, the most important aspect of this democracy, she has no business creating laws.
This is an attack on whistleblowers and independent journalists....pure and simple.
If you're so inclined, let Sen. Feinstein know how you feel about it here.
Here's a link Jeffrey shared:
"Precisely the reason the first amendment was invented" - digby
Jeffrey has foreseen this and has been writing about it for years. I never dreamed it would come to this but that just proves my naivety once again.
Also, I didn't realize who Feinstein's husband is....makes a lot more sense now.