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Fri Sep 20, 2013, 04:37 PM

 

Dear DU progressives: journalist shield laws are a good, not unconstitutional fascism

You certainly shouldn't take my word for it. Take the word of free press advocates. Like the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

About the Reporters Committee

Founded in 1970, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers free legal support to thousands of working journalists and media lawyers each year. It is a leader in the fight against persistent efforts by government officials to impede the release of public information, whether by withholding documents or threatening reporters with jail. In addition to its 24/7 Legal Defense Hotline, the Reporters Committee conducts cutting-edge legal research, publishes handbooks and guides on media law issues, files frequent friend-of-the-court legal briefs and offers challenging fellowships and internships for young lawyers and journalists. For more information, go to www.rcfp.org, or follow us on Twitter @rcfp.


Here's what they have to say about the current federal shield law being proposed, (The Free Flowing Information Act):

Reporters Committee statement on shield bill
Press Release | September 12, 2013
Reporters Committee statement on shield bill
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee today passed the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013. Our statement:

We are pleased to see that the Judiciary Committee passed this bill. It goes a long way toward ensuring that reporters will be protected from subpoenas for their confidential information and sources. It's not a perfect bill, but it tries to cover a broad array of reporters. While it is not as inclusive as we would like, it is not nearly as limited in that area as previous attempts at a federal shield law have been.

It still is important that we work with Congress and the administration to make sure journalists' records are not scooped up in broad surveillance programs, and that Justice Department attorneys respect the rights of reporters, but today's action is a significant step in the right direction.



http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-committee-statement-shield-bill

Those who tell you that the federal law is about licensing or controlling or licensing or restricting journalists are either ignorant or liars. It's about making sure that overzealous federal prosecutors can't strong-arm journalists like Holder's DOJ has done to James Risen.

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Arrow 33 replies Author Time Post
Reply Dear DU progressives: journalist shield laws are a good, not unconstitutional fascism (Original post)
geek tragedy Sep 2013 OP
enlightenment Sep 2013 #1
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #4
enlightenment Sep 2013 #9
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #10
enlightenment Sep 2013 #11
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #12
enlightenment Sep 2013 #13
sufrommich Sep 2013 #24
enlightenment Sep 2013 #28
1000words Sep 2013 #2
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #3
leftstreet Sep 2013 #5
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #8
leftstreet Sep 2013 #18
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #19
1000words Sep 2013 #6
LondonReign2 Sep 2013 #25
Whisp Sep 2013 #7
FirstLight Sep 2013 #14
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #15
FirstLight Sep 2013 #16
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #17
WilliamPitt Sep 2013 #20
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #21
1000words Sep 2013 #22
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #23
The Straight Story Sep 2013 #33
scarletwoman Sep 2013 #26
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #27
scarletwoman Sep 2013 #29
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #31
alarimer Sep 2013 #30
geek tragedy Sep 2013 #32

Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 04:42 PM

1. Why did you start your own thread on this?

You've been busy arguing your point in the other thread. This looks a bit like a call out, without naming names.

tsk.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:02 PM

4. Did you object to the thread where they called for banning anyone who favors

 

journalist shield laws?

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:11 PM

9. No, why would I? That was the original thread on the topic, as far as I know.

My question was why you would carry a conversation (such as it was) out of a thread and post a new thread to express your disdain for the attitudes expressed in the thread in which you were posting.

It has a "taking my ball and going home" feel to it.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #9)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:14 PM

10. There was another thread calling it Orwellian and a threat to freedom etc.

 

I figured one thread of sanity in defense of journalist shield laws would be appropriate.

I'm not sure people realize how colossally stupid it is to claim that supporting journalist shield laws is proof that a person is fascist.

Makes as much sense as Ted Cruz filibustering the Obamacare defunding bill in order to defund Obamacare.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/filibuster-the-house-cr-some-conservatives-say-yes/

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #10)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:26 PM

11. I'm aware of the thread. I had just been reading it

and your vigorous defense of the shield law in it, when I clicked out and saw this thread.

I would think that your argument against the "Orwellian" speak would be better placed IN that thread, since you are so concerned about people falling prey to what you feel is not just a different opinion, but actual disinformation.

Starting a different thread wherein you refer to the OP of the "Orwellian" thread as a liar doesn't seem like fair play to me - but obviously you feel differently about it.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #11)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:27 PM

12. The Orwellian thread person is merely confused.

 

The person ranting about how only fascists support this bill in the other OP is not confused.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #12)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:30 PM

13. Look, I'm really not into

this sort of thing. I asked a question; you have chosen an answer that doesn't really answer my question but seems to satisfy you - so okay. Enjoy your thread.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 11:20 AM

24. To dispute baseless hysteria? Something that should be done

more often here and it deserves it's own thread.

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Response to sufrommich (Reply #24)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 12:02 PM

28. I disagree.

It's like sitting is a room, hearing someone saying something you disagree with and then choosing to go to a different room to voice why you disagree.

Silly stuff.

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 04:49 PM

2. I'm a bit confused by the OP title

 

I thought DU was solely comprised of progressives. Why qualify the intended audience?

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Response to 1000words (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:01 PM

3. DU is not solely comprised of progressives.

 

The point I was making is that journalist shield laws are progressive policy.

Instead, people are making journalist shield laws out to be fascism.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:05 PM

5. Majority are progressive. Minority are Reagan Democrats

I can't fucking WAIT til Jeb Bush (or someone like him) reinvents the GOP with progressive social policies, keeping the bootstrap licking economic trickledown bullshit - and all the Reagan Democrats can finally return to their beloved party!

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:07 PM

8. Reagan Democrats are socially conservative, old, white, uneducated. nt

 

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #8)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 06:04 PM

18. Wrong. What a bigoted thing to say

They're NOT uneducated. They saw their 4 yr degrees as tickets out of the working class

They're NOT socially conservative - hello the Religious Right is why they ran away from the GOP

They're NOT all white. Jesus


Yes it's true they're older at this point

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #18)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 06:08 PM

19. So now you're accusing the truth of being bigoted.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_Democrat

Reagan Democrat is an American political term used by analysts to denote traditionally Democratic voters, especially white working-class Northerners, who defected from their party to support Republican President Ronald Reagan in both the 1980 and 1984 elections. It is also used to refer to the smaller but still substantial number of Democrats who voted for George H. W. Bush in the 1988 election.

The term can also be used to describe moderate Democrats who are more conservative than liberal on certain issues like national security and immigration. The term Reagan Democrat also refers to the vast sway that Reagan held over the House of Representatives during his presidency, even though the house had a Democratic majority during both of his terms.[1] The term also hearkens back to Richard Nixon's Silent Majority; a concept that Ronald Reagan himself used during his political campaigns in the 1970s.

The work of Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg is a classic study of Reagan Democrats. Greenberg analyzed white ethnic voters (largely unionized auto workers) in Macomb County, Michigan, just north of Detroit. The county voted 63 percent for John F. Kennedy in 1960, but 66 percent for Reagan in 1980. He concluded that "Reagan Democrats" no longer saw Democrats as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups. In addition, Reagan Democrats enjoyed gains during the period of economic prosperity that coincided with the Reagan administration following the "malaise" of the Carter administration. They also supported Reagan's strong stance on national security and opposed the 1980s Democratic Party on such issues as pornography, crime, and high taxes.[1]

Greenberg periodically revisited the voters of Macomb County as a barometer of public opinion until he conducted a 2008 exit poll

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:05 PM

6. Was that point going to be lost on the not-so progressive members of DU?

 

If not, the opening qualifier wasn't necessary, don't you agree?

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Response to 1000words (Reply #6)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 11:24 AM

25. Says a lot, doesn't it?

We have a small but loud minority that don't consider themselves progressive. They spend their time defending the NSA, advocating for bombing Libya (until the President says he isn't going to, at which time they do a 180), and justifying appointments of Republicans in a Democratic Administration.

Progressive is a disparaging term to them. Its quite bizarre.

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:06 PM

7. Don't spoil their fun!

 

kidding aside, thanks for posting this. I knew there was something more to it that Sky Is Falling version 2996

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:31 PM

14. This Shield Law is NOT all good...

As a Freelancer who goes for long times between good gigs I would may be covered. There is also the 'national security' angle that makes me personally uneasy. IMO, the words National Security and Free Press should NOT be in the same sentence together, it is creeping fascism. The govt should not be trying to regulate freedom of the press in any way.

here's a snippet from the Freedom of the Press Foundation blog:

Also, it’s worth noting another major flaw in this bill that was completely absent from the debate today: the giant national security exception carved out to placate the White House. We’ve written about how this provision will leave the journalists most vulnerable to being subpoenaed—national security reporters—with the least protection. Hopefully, this provision can be removed entirely, either during debate on the Senate floor, or, if the bill passes both houses, during conference with the House. Otherwise, the bill might end up hurting more than helping the people it’s intended to help the most.



The Shield Law is a smokescreen making it easier for the government to pillage Journalistic sources...a sacred thing. It is worded to sound like a protection for us, when it is really another tool for rounding up whistle blowers.

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Response to FirstLight (Reply #14)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:36 PM

15. Your last sentence is paranoid nonsense.

 

The bill has been endorsed by the ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/senate-finally-frees-press-kind

RCFP:

http://www.rcfp.org/reporters-committee-statement-shield-bill

Even your quoted source is only mildly perturbed at the bill, not viewing it as a prelude to Gulags.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #15)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:40 PM

16. i never said anything about gulags

but freedom of the press is not something the government in this day and age need to be messing with. Call me paranoid, but the NSA's ability to access journalistic sources is NOT something I appreciate or approve of.

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Response to FirstLight (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 05:46 PM

17. The bill extends freedom of the press, it doesn't restrict it. nt

 

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 07:05 PM

20. Charles P. Pierce begs to differ.

 

I think I mentioned a while back that, while I was in journalism school -- And, yes, I went to J-school. Don't let that get around, OK? -- we were all the time debating the notion of a shield law. It was the late, great George Reedy, without whom I likely would have been the one lawyer who broke the camel's back, who pointed out that, if we accepted a shield law, then we also would have to accept government's right to define who it would be that the shield law covered, which meant we had to accept the government's right essentially to define what a journalist was, and this way, George said, lay madness. He mentioned the Royal licenses against which colonial pamphleteers rebelled. And the Stamp Act. And the use of the post office to restrict the circulation of unpopular ideas, from abolitionist newspapers to the Comstock laws.

(snip)

This isn't a law to protect journalists. If it were, that list of loopholes at the end wouldn't be quite so lengthy -- or quite so vague. (You can drive a team of ploughhorses through "information that could stop or prevent crimes such as..." This is a law to protect secrets. This is a law that redefines the exercise of a constitutional right as a privilege "protected" by the government. This is a law that allows the government to define what "the press" is under the First Amendment, and, my god, if that's not the primary consitutional heresy in that regard, I don't know what is. And I don't care that a judge can "extend" that privilege. That's not a judge's job, either.

(snip)

Let me be quite clear. If you accept the Congress's right to define what a journalist is, you are a miserable traitor to the profession you presume to practice. You have, quite simply, become something less worthy than an informer, something lower than a jailhouse snitch. I'll leave it to my man Chuck Todd to take the king's shilling. Me? I'll stand with the 17-year old and his own website, and, with all the faith I ever have had in my constitutional right to do so, we both will tell Dianne Feinstein to fk off, thank you. Stuff your privilege. I have my rights.

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/dianne-feinstein-sheild-laws-091913

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 20, 2013, 07:19 PM

21. I'll take legal analysis and history over his conspiracy theory.

 

There are journalist shield statutes in 32 states (others have created them judicially), with the oldest statute dating back to 1896. Are all of them about protecting the NSA too?

Who appointed Charles Pierce the Pope of Journalism? If he wants to excommunicate the vast majority of free press advocates, I guess he can reign over his kingdom of one.

Maybe Pierce can explain to James Risen how he had the constitutional right to not cooperate, regardless of what the legal system says.

Easy for an opinion columnist who doesn't do any actual reporting to sneer at the idea of protecting reporters' sources.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #21)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 01:27 AM

22. Most of your "rebuttal" is character assassination

 

Except the first body sentence, which I did not know. Thanks.

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Response to 1000words (Reply #22)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 11:13 AM

23. Pierce's article is basically character assassination

 

against the reporters who depend on sources and favor shield laws. Good for the goose etc.

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Response to WilliamPitt (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 02:06 PM

33. Well, think of it like other laws designed to limit the scope of other amendments

The original intent of the law was to ensure we could not curtail/shorten the freedom of the press:

"or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press"

The founders could not have seen how the press would change over the centuries. So maybe we need to change the first amendment or spend lots of time trying to understand their intent (I heard some author say it was so the press could more freely print slave trade ads and such.....)

We need our current government to work more diligently to ensure that only the few can be considered the press (notice that they didn't say people but press, which could, maybe, possibly, mean only printed press and not electronic - so if you don't have an actual printing press you cannot be part of the press).

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 11:57 AM

26. Silly me, I thought the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution WAS the "shield law".

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.


http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/press

Press - noun
28.
an act of pressing; pressure.

<...>

30.
printed publications collectively, especially newspapers and periodicals.

31.
all the media and agencies that print, broadcast, or gather and transmit news, including newspapers, newsmagazines, radio and television news bureaus, and wire services.

32.
the editorial employees, taken collectively, of these media and agencies.

33.
( often used with a plural verb ) a group of news reporters, or of news reporters and news photographers: The press are in the outer office, waiting for a statement.

34.
the consensus of the general critical commentary or the amount of coverage accorded a person, thing, or event, especially in newspapers and periodicals (often preceded by good or bad ): The play received a good press. The minister's visit got a bad press.

35.
printing press.

36.
an establishment for printing books, magazines, etc.


I believe it would be safe to assume that at the time of drafting the Bill of Rights, "the press" was understood to mean those who employed free speech to exert "pressure". I see no sub-clause or proviso in the language of the First Amendment that would indicate that Congress has the power to chose who is allowed to exert such pressure.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 11:59 AM

27. The first amendment doesn't protect journalists

 

from being forced to reveal sources. This would protect journalists.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #27)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 12:06 PM

29. Twisted logic. If someone wants to talk to a journalist, the journalist has the right to print

what the person said without being harrassed. Period.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #29)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 01:55 PM

31. That is reality as it exists today. Doesn't make

 

one gram of difference what people at DU think of that reality.

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Response to geek tragedy (Original post)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 12:21 PM

30. I'm opposed to this law; I think it will do more harm than good.

Since when does the government get to decide who is a journalist and who isnt'?

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Response to alarimer (Reply #30)

Sat Sep 21, 2013, 01:57 PM

32. Since 1896, when the first shield law was passed.

 

You want journalists to be forced to testify against their sources. I think that is bad policy.

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