Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dems still don't get it

Money should not dictate journalism. Post originally from here:
The House just passed the Free Flow of Information Act, a 'shield law' protecting journalists. Here's the rub.

The bill provides journalists with a qualified privilege as to sources and information, while at the same time, recognizing the need for effective law enforcement and robust national security. A blogger who regularly engages in journalistic activities - such as gathering and publishing news and information for dissemination to the public - and does so for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain would be covered by the shield as a journalist.

I have no opinion as to whether shield laws are a good idea or not, but it's worth noting that this law doesn't cover amateurs, consultants like me, people like Steve Clemons, diarists on Kos, or anyone else who derive most of their income from other sources. I don't understand why 'gathering and publishing news and information for dissemination to the public' isn't a good enough standard.

Here's the list of supporters: Associated Press, the National Association of Broadcasters, Bloomberg News, CBS, ClearChannel, CNN, Cox, Gannett, Hearst, NBC, News Corporation, The New York Times, TIME, and The Washington Post.

All of these groups make their money from advertising. So of course, if you get a substantial amount of advertising you get special protections. Otherwise, not so much.

I don't believe Thomas Paine made anything writing Common Sense, probably one of the most crucial journalism of our history as a country.

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