House Says Bloggers Don’t Count As Journalists

Forgets the First Amendment

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Two versions of a bill in Congress would enshrine a journalist’s right to keep his or her sources confidential, effectively banning the government from forcing journalists to reveal whistleblowers. One version though—the House version—gives an incredibly stupid definition of journalist that excludes not only bloggers, but freelancers, independents, and nonprofit journalists as well.

For the most part, the Senate and House agree on what a journalist’s duties are and what journalism entails:

Journalists Duties

But only the House version, which has more cosponsors than brains apparently, adds to that definition:

More On Journalists Duties

So, in effect, if journalism is a hobby or passion you do as a public service, or if you are a freelancer without a boss—both of which easily describe a blogger—then the government reserves the right to force you to tell them who told you something, much like the government tried to do with New York Times journalist Judy Miller under the Bush Administration.

Apparently our “representatives” have a real problem with citizen journalism done for the sake of journalism and for the good of democracy, and believe protecting the “free flow of information” is only reserved for officially approved press. No bloggers, no patriotic radicals, no underground agitator pamphleteers like the ones who actually founded and fought for this country to begin with.

Hate to (once again) school our freaking government about the freaking Constitution they freaking pledge to uphold, but this is Congress making a law abridging the freedom of the press, a violation of the First Amendment. I might be more sympathetic if they missed one further down the list, BUT IT’S THE FIRST FREAKING ONE.

By defining who is and who is not considered press, and therefore deciding who is entitled to special protection—in this case, especially, where they base it on who does it for money and who does it for passion (hint: the latter one is more likely to dig up something that matters)—the House of Representatives are doing us all a huge disservice if they don’t change that language. 

>>> Do you think bloggers should be considered journalists?


House Says Bloggers Don’t Count As Journalists
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  • http://www.attorneyservicesetc.com Guest

    Well, its because, its not beneficial to them, Mind you if blogging or blogger for that matter benefits them then I am sure another bill would be passed catering to their whim and caprice.

  • http://www.attorneyservicesetc.com PosterGal

    Well, its because, its not beneficial to them. Mind you, if blogging or blogger,for that matter, benefits them then I am sure another bill would be passed catering to their whim and caprice.

  • Barry

    Looks like bloggers will have to unite (BPI – Blogger Press International), get paid $1 for each story by someone to come close to the definition of “press”.

    If the goverment keeps this up, they will have to worry more about We the People raiding government offices with sticks and torches, than bloggers.

    Tell me – if a press reporter blogs, are they now a blogger or still “press”. As a blogger I demand equal rights and protection under the law!

    • http://www.lhaywoodcoffey.com/ Blogger Press International

      This is a typical Nazi like reaction to the demise of the press, and it’s being carried out by their lackeys in the Congress, from all people the folks who say they want “balance” and “fairness”. Sure, right. I’m not a political blogger but anyone who wants to mess with free speech in this manner may just turn me into one. Barry has a great idea. We could set up PayPal accounts and “pay” each other a buck a story or just a buck a week and just let that buck spread around the internet, and leave notes or even a html image saying “Blog Buck Pay”. This bill is a serious threat to free speech, bloggers and anyone who cares about free speech anywhere. What’s next? Are they going to outlaw anyone who wants to say nasty things about politicians? Don’t think it’ can’t happen. Speak up now or lose your blogging rights.

      • http://www.meanseo.com Chris Hibbard

        According to the definition you need to be making a “significant income”.

  • Guest

    I understand why the bills excludes bloggers or anyone that isn’t actually paid for being a journalist.
    ANYONE can be a blogger or write ‘articles’ and post to the Internet.
    When does one draw the line between releasing ‘sources’ vs ‘so & so told me this.’

    Sure, it is easy to say ‘First Amendent Rights’ – but actually that is not covered under this. Just try, for a second to consider this:
    Blogger A – says ” I know who raped your sister.” (mother, et al).
    How much protection should Blogger ‘A’ really have.. if you are trying to confirm / deny actual facts.

    Please.. invoke some ‘reasonability’ standards.

    • Chris Hibbard

      …and anyone can start a religion too so should that not be protected as well?

  • otto

    I suspect Thomas Paine would not be considered a journalist by this measurement. Since when is financial gain, let alone “substantial financial gain”, a determinant of anything? Is an artist who died penniless less of an artist because he was less of a businessperson? Perhaps I choose NOT to make money in order to maintain my independence and objectivity. Perhaps our representatives should try NOT taking money in order to maintain their indepence and objectivity.

  • http://www.yoursmokiesnews.com Chris Hibbard


    Free speech is dieing along with our constitutional rights.

    What the house is saying is that you are only a journalist if you are financially successful in your venture? That’s rubbish! Are you only a Doctor if you are financially successful, what about a nun?

    One of my most popular blogs YourSmokiesNews does not have ads on it and I derive no revenue from it but use it to educate and inform the public, build my YourSmokies branding and produce traffic and bump my SE results for web sites where I derive my income.

    So since I chase down news stories, interview people, do non profit work under the “branding” of this site and promote non profit entities for free on this blog I am not a journalist?

    I get information and credibility as a result of the journalistic work I do. I am a journalist and am entitled to the rights of one.

  • Jonathan Slaff

    I am a theatrical press agent. Back in the early ’90s, I closely studied the issue of what criteria an independent writer should meet in order to qualify for press courtesies at my clients’ theaters.

    Here is a list of questions I adopted to ask myself. I never made them hard rules, but they helped me focus my thinking on a case-by-case basis. I think they are relevant to this debate. Of course, they are oriented toward people who represent themselves as theater writers.

    1. Has the person been assigned by the publication or broadcast entity in question for a critique, feature or news story? Is the assignment verifiable? Will they commit to forwarding a hard copy of their writing to the theater?

    2. Is the source of the critique (etc.), whether in publication or broadcast, a functioning business enterprise?

    3. Is this source available on a particular, well-circulated network of significant and verifiable circulation?

    4. Does the journalist and his/her employer have intellectual and artistic credibility?

    5. Are opposing viewpoints expressed in the system, for example, letters to the editor?

    6. Will the critiques expressed be useful to the artists? ( I meant, will they be useful criticisms?)

    7. Will the critiques expressed by useful to the theater? (The theaters were my clients. It seemed sensible to ask that question.)

    8. If the coverage is to be justified as news, does the source serve the public interest? Is it a news gathering organization? Does it carry public service announcements or legal notices?

    These were developed when news organizations were really organizations, before the flowering of self-publishing that we know today as blogging.

    I don’t know what criteria I would come up with today, because a blogger is similar to an artist in a key aspect: you become a journalist–and an artist– by declaring yourself.

  • Guest

    Well they started with the second amendment and no one seemed to mind, now they are working on the first.
    True to form for a socialist government.
    President Obama needs to wake up and realize he would not be sitting in that office if it had not of been for the work of thousands of bloggers. (Oh I forgot, it benefitted them at the time).

    • Guest in Massachussets

      I wouldn’t add a word to your post. (It might cost me jail time if the treasonous rascals in the Obama/Pelosi government get their way.)

  • http://www.movie666.com/ Deke Thornton

    Sounds unconstitutional both in terms of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. With so many newspapers shuttering, what venues are left for journalists? The government is attempting to pass laws to control something beyond their control. It makes sense… when information is not carefully managed through one of their corporate media mouthpieces, we all too often see their incompetence in action.

    There is a lot of poor information on the internet, but hopefully (as the article yesterday suggested) branding will help readers vet out the quality stuff from the crap. Bloggers develop reps as reliable or unreliable.

  • http://lifeinfrederickmd.blogspot.com David Bruce

    How about earning a ‘substantial portion of your income’ from Adsense ads on our blogs?

    Would that not be considered “a supervisor” or more precisely ‘an affiliate’?

    Google’s Adsense program is by very definition, an “affiliate program”.

    I like what Chris of http://yoursmokiesnews.com said:

    “I get information and credibility as a result of the journalistic work I do. I am a journalist and am entitled to the rights of one.”

    Why are they doing this NOW?
    Why didn’t they do this back when Matt Drudge kicked off the whole *single man against the establishment using the Internet* thing?

    Me thinks it’s because the congress fears SEO guys.
    We can get Google to say what we WANT Google to say about ANYONE.

    In “The Powers That Be” by David Halberstam (who was murdered btw) he wrote that Katherine Graham of the Washington Post wielded political power… not by what she ordered to be published, rather the Washington Post wielded power by what it THREATENED to publish.

    Congress fears us, therefore they seek to limit our credibility.

  • Guest

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that liberals are really Nazis is a fool. This is the start of a fascist state under the rule of Obama. This is his bill, don’t mistake that. Obama has also just proposed outlawing the rule that says any health care worker who wants to opt out of abortions can do so because of their religion, meaning that Catholic hospitals and others can and will soon be FORCED to participate in abortions. Look it up folks.

    Glad you voted for that “liberal enlightenment” thing now? Huh?

    • michelle

      The word blogger is not mentioned anywhere within this bill, therefore it specifically is NOT discounting them. And when bloggers act like responsible journalists–meaning they report the facts, not just conjecture and ill-based opinions, double check their sources (not pick it up from a gossip blog), and add some fact-checking like other journalists do, then they are protected.
      We have all seen what the blogosphere has delivered: amazing voices of reason, providing another take on current events; and unbelievably high level of yellow journalism, masking as legitimate members of the press. As a writer and editor, we take what we do seriously, which is to present the facts and let the reader decide. And for the record, freelancers do have a boss, in fact they have several: the editors who hire them.

      So please, stop with the scare tactics already, and do some research to find the correct interpretation of the facts. That is what will hold up in a court of law.

      • Guest

        Yeah, right moron. Like CNN, MSNBC AND OH………..DAN RATHER CHECKED THEIR FACTS. You are a freaking moron and I BET you work for some sort of establishment and dying press. Go die like the dinosaur you are.

        • Guest

          The real question is should traditional journalists be given the
          rights of traditional journalists or have they forfeited those rights.
          Focusing on the rights of bloggers is just a red herring to draw attention away from what is going on with traditional journalism…the HUGE sellout of integrity to ANYONE with a buck.


      • Botbuilder

        Have you actually *watched* the news lately? None of the mainstream “real” journalists do any research, they wait for some one else to break a story then they jump on it to sensationalize and otherwise grab as many rating points as possible before the next big story hits. The number of actual respectable journalists in the main stream can be counted on one hand. I think I actually get more truthful news reporting from John Stewart than CNN.

        The mainstream news media has become nothing more than an opinion factory and are essentially bloggers with more money.

    • Guest

      Why the liberal label? Anyone who goes out of the way to serve their desire to dominate and/or convince themselves of their superiority, especially those who want to run in front of the group yelling “look at me” by claiming to serve the public, are willing to subject us all to that drive; and, if a little thing like making the rest of us be quiet and/or providing them with information about who has shown their true nature to even a small extent is required, liberality and/or conservatism must suffer, just like freedom and constitutional guarantees.

      After all the darned thing is just an old piece of paper, isn’t it?

      Live free, abolish government!

  • Guest from Massachusetts

    “Journalist” or not, your freedom of speech is sacred.

    This is exactly the kind of tyrannical behavior that triggered a number of wars, including the American and French Revolutions. Our Congress men and women move forward with this at their own peril.

    As the moniker on one of our early flags states:

    Don’t tread on me.

  • http://www.aol.com/ Guest

    It seems as if the first two amendments are in jeopardy because they are the most crucial in our constitution.

    The First amendment is to inform the people of any wrong doing by our politicians. Whether or not the news is true it’s up to the listener/reader find out for themselves. Today we all know we have Conservative news and liberal bias news. We chose who we want to listen to we don’t need the Gov. telling us what we can or can’t listen to.

    The second amendment is also in trouble. Once government takes away the first and second amendments it’s all down hill from there. For example: If they regulate who can report the news and what can be reported and take away our guns we are all vulnerable. If government controls the press all the other amendments can be broken because there wont be any body to report it. If goverment takes guns away there can’t be a civil uprising.

    Thats why in my opinion the first two amendments are so important and the first two on the list.

  • http://www.computertipssite.com Guest

    No, because journalist are professional writers. It is a profession that takes time to learn. Blogging and bloggers is a form of writing and a style of presentation in my opinion. The problem if you place the lable journalist on bloggers now you have to seperate fiction and non-fiction. Just my two cents.

    • http://www.cpdt.com KGB

      So are you saying that “truth” is only the preserve of someone being paid to write it? Or someone associated with a corporation? You’re saying that given the way “truth” is skewed based on political allegiances in the media.. Fox(truth)News anyone?

      • http://tony191.vox.com/ ante seput

        TRUTH: stand only in the eyes of be holder!
        LIE: also stand in the eyes of be holder!
        In the split of a second it can be either a lie or truth,
        if you have blink of eye in proces of something was done,
        generated, exploded, you have missed truth.

        It is up to individual to decide if is truth or lie it is not
        for our (crooked?) official to tell us hey that is lie
        or that is truth. Only fro years of experience tell us
        who to believe and it is not our government “SORRY”!

    • Dara Quinn

      “The problem if you place the lable journalist on bloggers now you have to seperate fiction and non-fiction.”

      So journalists are writers of non-fiction, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. No prizes for guessing who bought the whole WMDs in Iraq fairytale first time around ……

  • Guest

    Liberals (Progressives) like Communists must control free speech and access to information to make people think that what they are doing is helpful.

    • Randy

      Liberals or Conservatives can not be grouped into one type. I am mainly Liberal and your statement says every liberal wants to have control of your right to speak or write. I for one fought for my country and that is one of the rights I fought for. So I believe everyone who writes anything has right to confidentiality and their sources.

      • Guest

        You say that you fought for our Country- Thank you. I respect that. I think that there are many folks that see themselves as Liberals that respect your service as well. I think that these individuals are not as Liberal as they think.

  • http://dacia.createmybb2.com/index.php Ciprian

    It’s possible

  • http://bitchslappin.net bj

    We all know that the journalists who work for Mainstream Media, which is controlled by a very few mostly white men in suits, and owned by big media conglomerates which depend on OTHER corporations for their bottom line via advertising dollars, are more likely to be reined in by their editors if they go too far off the reservation. Big stories are, these days, usually broken in the blogs, then when they start to get attention the mainstream media has no choice but to jump on them. And guess who our congresspeople depend on for their campaign financing? Those same corporations! This little bit had to have been written by one (or more) of the K-Streeters.

    If they get rid of us pesky bloggers they’ll be free to raid the US Treasury via bailouts and no-bid contracts . . . oh, wait . . .

  • http://www.snerdey.com Snerdey

    Strange how people think, especially the ones who don’t blog. They have no clue and judge, brand and set rules based on what???

    Freedom of speech and protection is not an option.. it’s a right!

    • Jda

      I agree. Journalism started in this country with people who never came out of a degree program for it, and the constitution’s provisions for freedom of the press were written in by people who had only that precedent to work from. Anyway, last time I looked, there weren’t any special licenses that make one person a professional journalist, and someone else merely an amateur dabbling at it. As for another poster who talks about having them held to the same standards – this is a chance for bloggers to set some standards. Journalists in established print and broadcast media who pass opinion off as reporting, and who create news to damage someone based on non-existent documentation traced back to a nut case in Texas are not exhibiting professionalism or integrity and must believe that standards are currently at best an after thought.

  • http://www.cpdt.com KGB

    It’s not about ‘money’, it’s about ‘accountability’ (use that word in the same way Governments of the world think about it). What better way to control the news and sources then by controlling newspeople.

  • Guest

    Should we add all the chatter about the fairness doctrine? Same theme. How much more convincing do we need to see the real intentions of democrats. Our Obama government wants its officially approved press. What’s next in our rapid move to socialism? Do you think most people who voted for Obama knew the consequences of the changes coming?

    • Silver

      Ummmmm, Excuse me but last time I checked this did not start with the Obama Aministration, it started with the Bush Administration. No one got up in arms with the conspiracies that Bush/Cheney carried out to line their own pockets at the expense of our freedome to privacy. All the lies and the Crimes committedin the name of Homeland Security.

      Until we as American Citizens wake up and stop seeing the government as Republican and Democrat and start looking at it as American or Anti American we will continue down this road. The party is not what stipulates whether a person is a true American , his deeds and his heart are. I did not vote for Obama and am not defending him in anyway as he is a politician , like the rest of them. Stop taking sides and make a stand for goodness sake.

      And for those packing their bags…… it is easier to run than face the situation at hand, that is why we are in this situation in the first place. No one speaks up ,no one wants to bother. What happens when no one does anything? Those that do something get to decide how things work. So if all you can do is pack your bags and run , or sit and blame the other guy for doing. Then take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror and know that it happened becaue you chose to do nothing !!!

      This BS is sickening!!!!

  • Ricardo Icassatti Hermano

    Of course not.

  • http://www.LuxuryHomeDigest.com Roberta Murphy

    I think our controlled Congress should tread very carefully when they start singling out or segregating certain classes of people. It appears that they are trying to remove the rights of some, while protecting the rights of others.

    Next thing we know, only the “paid and assigned” talking heads on commercial television will be protected by the First Amendment–while podcasters and video posters will make political commentary at their own risk.

    I fear the proverbial soap box is being kicked out from under US citizens.

  • Guest in Massachusetts

    So what motives Obama/Pelosi to take this risky step?

    What prize do they seek? Perhaps they just can’t stand the “chattering class” as one of their intrepid number recently called us.

    If they control the flow of information, they can do whatever they want without being troubled by honest reporting. They can run an even wider voter fraud in the next congressional election. And after that, Obama can do what Chavez just did, and set himself up as President for Life.

    And what about the “chattering class.” During the campaign Obama used the term “rehabilitated” in referring to his old acquaintance, Bill Ayers. Do you suppose he might be thinking of “Rehabilitation Camps” as a (final) solution for that pesky “chattering class”?

    And how long will it be before the silencing begins? If their actions with our economy are any indication, we might want to lock the doors and pack the bags for Belize right now.

    • http://www.WhiteLightMedicine.com Carra Bellini

      let’s promote the chattering class to expand enough so they cannot shut us up and I’d rather France than Belize…but escape is what most of the moneyed people seem to have already done check the real estate for sale in your area, I bet a large portion of homes between, 1m and 3m are sitting waiting….

      • Guest in Massachusetts

        I would probably prefer France, too. Not being among the wealthy, however, makes me think within the hemisphere.

        Truth be told, we are not at all prepared to run. These creeps really do have us surrounded. We are unarmed, unorganized and unfunded. ACORN is organized, (now very) funded, and probably armed.

        If Obama gets his stated wish for a new wing of military, dedicated to dealing with unrest at home, who might he recruit first? Perhaps some of the guys who believe in “restitution”? Or maybe some of the people we saw at the polling places who showed up in droves for last minute registration to vote, identifying themselves with anything from business cards to bubble gum wrappers? Or maybe the guys we saw on national news, who stood outside city polling places and intimidated white people from entering the doors?

  • Guest in Massachusetts

    This is the name of great documentary from the last century.

    I urge everyone to see this classic. It shows the result of a similar power grab by another democratically elected western government.

  • John

    There is no Constitutional protection of journalists. Whether what anybody prints is the truth or mot can be revealed with or without knowing of their sources. If protecting a source is a crime for one person it should be a crime for all.

  • http://YourFreeCard.us Debbie

    The elected officials have been using the Constitution as a mere “doormat” entering their chambers.

    Is it time to re-visit history and DEFINE why America was born in the first place?

    To refresh your memory, our ancestors came here to “escape taxes in England..”

    I believe it is time for a Permanent Nationwide Tea Party!


    • http://tony191.vox.com/ ante seput

      Happy Holidays

      New Jersey Treasury Department are you proud of yourself

      This is how Sate of New Jersey works as long they get what they want it does not matter if is legal or not, they are bosses they can screw you as they like?

  • http://www.rippedoffonline.com RooEd

    In my opinion bloggers and private citizens have and should retain this [right]. This topic will get a lot of coverage and will bring out the fanatics from both sides I think. I blog and I should have the same rights under the First Amendment as the reporter working for the Times. I have people who visit my site that write statements about others who could be forced to relinquish their rights if the laws are changed. This needs to be stopped!

    • Guest

      The first amendment protects the right of a free press. Is blogging considered the press? Do bloggers have the same rights as an officially recognized media? They should, as long as they live up to the same responsibilities. Real media does not publish stories without some form of corroboration. If a Newspaper or a TV news station runs an unconfirmed story that turns out to be inaccurate, they print or provide a retraction. Do Bloggers? The official media is expected to live by a code of ethical standards of responsible journalism (this does not mean censorship, it means integrity). Are Bloggers held to the same standards?

      Since any fool with an ISP can create a blog, and can do it anonymously, and irresponsibly, they should not be allowed to hide behind a constitutional amendment to protect them. If however, they are blogging to the same level of accountability and ethical standards traditional media are supposed to use, they should have the same protections.

    • Steven Davis

      of course they are! they write in a journal don’t they? that makes them a journal-ist. Of course I have never mastered the art of web-logging or blogging as it is now called. maybe that is a good thing. what I know about greedy bankers could not only fill a small dime novel, I would probably be shot in some ‘drive-by’ shooting and become just another casualty. actually, the arguement is badly framed. if a person was aware of something but did not know how or where to communicate what the person knew so as to prevent others from being hurt, that person, in exercising civic responsibility would find someone who was able to communicate to public at large. the trust that is implied in such a client professional relationship is sacrosanct. just as attorney/client, appraiser(I am one)/client or any other professional/client relationship, confidentiality is a trust that you are derelict in at your own peril. of course, it also stands to reason that the more liberal you or your agenda is, as you desire change, the more intolerant of others and their opinions you are apt to be. therefore, it comes as no surprise that the present government, which has adopted ‘change’ as its mantra, is making every effort to stifle dissent as it wants change its way and no one else’s.

  • http://www.bluegrassmerchants.com Mike

    Pastor Martin Niem

  • http://articles4all.net Derek Anders

    I could care less if I am considered a journalist. The only thing that I am worried about is losing my RIGHT to free speech. That is what makes this country great.

    The People of this great nation need to wake up and start standing up for the rights of everyone in this country. We need to stop letting the Government push us around.

    Just my thoughts…

    • Silver

      It seems to me there is something a bit more sinister beneath this ploy than simply to amend the constitution. Could it be the next in a series of steps to curtail our rights as Amercan Citizens? One of many that have been seen ( let us not ponder too closely on the steps that have not been visible!) since the “Patriot Act”.

      Yes, yes I know a measure necessary for our own protection from the terrorists, yadda ,yadda ,yadda. Fear was used as an incentive to allow this infringement on our privacy. Now this very sweet little addition to an amendment supposedly being passed to cement the very essence of the Amendment they will corrupt if the latter version is passed.

      Think about it , no one other than those journalists employed by corporate america will be allowed the protection the constitution provides in the 1st Amendment. Everyone else will be under the jurisdiction of the courts. Which means anyone and everyone you speak to on any subject matter that they deem controversial or classified will be fair game. Giving them the right to jail anyone of these non journalists reporting the truth until such a time as they divulge their source. Two things will happen …….these non-journalists will have to either thumb their noses in the face of the legislature or they will have to go underground. In either case their sources will think twice before revealing any information that would call the attention of the government or any of the powerful special interest groups they protect.

      Yeah , yeah I know …………..Oh hell another conspiracy theorist!! Well folks look around, they already want to instill a micro chip in your car to measure mileage to tax you , what is to keep them from using it for other means once installed? Here is an article on MSNBC about it.


      Even though it was nixed by the administration. The gauntlet is now being picked up by individual States implementing pilot programs that will do just that.

      Conspiracy Theory? I think not…..try a very possible reality very , very soon.

      This is not surprising and only goes to prove that it is only a matter of time before we must call the government to task for their hidden agenda. As it stands soon all this legislation will make the very attitude and deeds our ForeFathers used to liberate us from England will be Criminal instead of Patriotic! Think about it folks and look around you at what is going on and the changes that are taking place.

      Side Note**

      If Web Pro News does not fall under the category of a legitimate Journalistic entity all our identities will be revealed when someone steps on some powerful toes. Think about it , just the expression of your opinion could be revealed to those who want to know who posted an anonymous response. Are you comfortble with that ?
      I know, I’m not !!!

  • http://newscritique.blogspot.com Mohan

    Thank God, I am not a journo! I don’t want ever to be labelled a blackmailer or mudslinging a*****e or still worse gutter happy yellow crap. I will continue to write per my own will and not to avenge or to write according to the whims and fancies of some beer-gulping lazy self-serving editor. Congressmen, stamp your solid feet on the bill and go ahead…..

    • http://movingdollar.blogspot.com Mark Paterson

      Agree with Mahon. Bloggers write about what is relevant to them and their life. Tabloids write about what sells.

  • Jerry Schlueter

    The only thing I can say to this is good luck trying to stop us.
    I am not giving up any of my freedoms to a bunch of thugs on capital hill that think they have the right to push the American people around

  • http://www.tonytrainor.com/journal Tony

    If the blogger is prepared to embrace the responsibility of the indentured, employed or union card-carrying journalist, there can be little difference between the two functions.

    The blogger should not, however, purport to be acting as journalist in a formal capacity, neither should he or she plead ignorance if publication of a blg entry results in some penalty, such as a potential prison sentence for refusal to name sources if the information published is deemed to be in breach of national security.

    In the United Kingdom the law is clear on rights of access to certain areas of information, such as the criminal courts granting privilege of reporting to “bona fide” representatives of the press. Bloggers should also be under no illusion that the increasing availability of information somehow excuses their individual responsibility to respect matters of privacy and copyright.

    Moreover, the blogger who simply circulates content within the self-serving blog community, or who recycles content from registered news sites without any personal input or at least attributing the source of that information is no better than a exam room cheat and deserves no protection under the law.

    • Guest

      “The blogger should not, however, purport to be acting as journalist in a formal capacity, neither should he or she plead ignorance if publication of a blg entry results in some penalty, such as a potential prison sentence for refusal to name sources if the information published is deemed to be in breach of national security.”

      This is EXACTLY the right afforded “Journalists” according to the bill – Free from naming sources…if considered a journalist. And the bill then goes on to NARROW the definition of what a journalist is. e.g. One who serves the mainstream media (controlled by government).


  • Guest

    Looks to me like the House version is aimed directly at Matt Drudge. I guess he and the hundreds like him have just been digging up too many stories.

  • Norm

    Eliyah, well said, that about sums up the way that I feel at present.

  • http://www.firmalatter.dk Ejvind

    Once again we see how big brother tendencies keep popping up all over. We MUST all insist on our rights to free speech – even if it means we make mistakes.
    We are all humans, and as such we need to treat everyone the same, and not have some (government) be more than the rest.

    If we treat everyone equally, then the world will soon consist of equals.

  • Edmiund V. shade

    Without the freedom of speech, with some appropriate limits, but not limiting bloggers or others we can fight against the ObamaNation which we are just beginning to suffer from.

    I send out articles by emails to a list of people written on varioous subjects and am know as the Roving Reporter at The Crossroads Of THe West. Certainl I ned to have the same rights as any writer of the ilk to be approved by the ObamaNation.

  • Chris 54

    Most bloggers are not journalists.

    Most are 3rd party repeaters, with not a original thought in their mind.
    Most wouldn’t have anything to write about unless a Newspaper, Magazine or TV channel published it first.
    Most will not be around in 2 years.

    • Steve

      Oh, I see. And the journalist who regurgitate the AP wire, Rueters and virtually everything made up by the New York once upon a Times are journalist. Anyone can be a journalist…Jason Blair as case in point.

      Oh yeah, the Internet won’t be around in two years either. I heard from Greg Packer that Al Gore was inventing a replacement. You probably believe in Global Warming too.

  • http://www.malkeenan.com Mal

    In my opinion, most mainstream journalists have given up the right to the title of ‘journalist’ – especially in the U.S – because they are little more than propagandists for the government.

    So, in that sense bloggers are providing a public service and taking on the roll of reporting facts, without pandering to those in office.

    Obviously, some blogs fulfill this role better than others.

  • Guest

    The right of free speech, or a free press are not at issue in this bill. This bill is aimed at permitting a certain class of business to profit from breaking the law. If Congress wishes to protect whistleblowers they could do that. If Congress wishes to protect criminals they can do that too. The ratio of criminals in Congress is nearly as big as the ratio of criminals in our prisons, so it is no surprise that they write such irrational laws. Our President openly associates with criminals, even appointing them to cabinet positions, so why bother complaining about this small matter.

  • Guest

    They are journalist in the sense that they are telling a story by expanding on a current subject, they may not have formal education, but they still have a story they wish to discuss or talk about.

    They may not have the first thought, but neither does a journalist because a news media journalist has to find information from sources just as a Blogger finds information and writes something about what is being said whether it is their own opinion or a community opinion about a particular subject, and that is journalism. They may not have a pen and paper, but they are still writing about a subject or story in a modern way called Blogging. Sure, not all of them are keeping up with current events, and only with to tell their personal story in a personal journal, but many of them write about current events, and discuss issues the “regular” news media doesn’t wont discuss.

    Bloggers may not get published in the New York Times, but who cares about the New York Times when they won’t publish or talk about things Bloggers DO TALK ABOUT! Bloggers make people discuss issues that the news media will not talk about, and to me that is more important than reading the New York Times or other news outlets that don’t discuss important issues because they think it’s not news worthy.

    So, my opinion, yes Blogger’s in some cases should be allowed the same kinds of protections a “regular” news media journalist gets.

    After, all what is the journalist doing himself, he’s blogging.

    • http://www.ultimateinternetmarketing.info John Zajaros

      I know of a New York Times reporter not too long ago who wasn’t a journalist, he was a plagiarist! There are several more examples I can think of, as well. Additionally, quite a few journalists I’ve known and followed weren’t writers…although they were “journalists.”

      It’s like pornography: “I know it when I see it,” both ways.

      Unfortunately for the readership of many of the news print world’s giants, journalist does not equal writer or writing ability. Granted, there are too many bloggers who haven’t a clue about how or what to write, either. But then, there are an equal number of journalists, some of the “best,” who haven’t a clue about anything at all!

      Have a good one!

      From the Cheap Seats,

      John P J Zajaros Sr
      Skype: johnzajaros1

  • Guest

    So they want to censure the Blogger’s and take away rights like communist China censors their Blogger’s and the internet?

    Blogger’s talk about things the government doesn’t want to hear, nor does the government want these Blogger’s to tell anyone else about what the government is doing.

    They can not take away the rights of Blogger’s. As for the news media journalists, they only write about what they think the government will want to hear about, and it’s usually something to tame the public in favor of the rogue government.

  • Guest

    Seems we are STILL using the Bush concept of American Democracy . . . allowing only those FAVORED by the government in power the protection of “law” – where would the America Revolution have gone had ALL publications been subject to the KING”S good graces and protection?

    • Steve

      Blame Bush, blah, blah, blah. You poor sheeple. I guess that Bush (and that is President Bush, by the way) is responsible for everything. I even heard that he was in the crowd in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, shouting “crucify him”. Oh sorry, didn’t mean to interject religion. I know that Bush haters abhore religion, unless they are praying at the alter of environmentalism.

      Want to have fun. Take recent headlines from the New York Times, replace the words “Obama” with “Bush” and then show the headline to a liberal and watch the reaction. Then, and this is the funny part, show them the real story. Or better yet, pull archived Bush headlines from the Times and replace “Bush” with “Obama”

      Oh, by the way, I ran this by the annointed one (Obama) and after he conferred with Greg Packer, he said it was okay.

  • http://sunnyfun.com Tom Mulhall

    Contrary to what Fox news says, the media is very conservative and they want it that way so they don’t rock their advertisiers or the government boats.

    Bloggers are the modern investigative journalists.

    Their rights need to be protected.

    According to Reporters without Borders, world wide there are 69 cyberdissidents in prisons and 137 journalists.

    Yes, it can happen here in the US.

    Everyone needs to stand up for the Bill of Rights.

    • Steve

      Really? The media is conservative. What body of factual data supports that? An examination of the stories produced by the major (but quickly declining) newspapers shows clear bias. Purchase the book by the same name and write your own book that counters the author with facts that we can all examine. Fox News must be doing something right since they continue to improve in the ratings while the major networks continue to decline. The reason is that people want news, not propaganda.

      Uh! Where are these cyberdissidents and journalists imprisoned? I rest my case.

  • Guest

    Well at least some did. With the silly snivel that gets spilled on so many web pages by a whole lot of irresponsible people, I can hardly blame the morons on the hill for wanting to make the exception, but for those who take the hobby seriously, having a double standard in the law would be completely unacceptable, and who decides who IS taking it seriously? By the definition in that law, even the most respected mainstream reporter all the sudden becomes a nobody the day he gets his gold watch and retires from the big city paper and no longer can protect his sources if he chooses to report independently as a service to the community

  • Steve

    The Communists, er Democrats would love to shut down Bloggers. Given the bias of the media as their role as compliant lap dogs of the DNC, bloggers are becoming our last line of defense. If they can silence conservative talk radio and the bloggers, then it is game over and open the gates to the gulags.

    As far as confidentiality of sources; it should be done away with. It serves no purpose, since they make up sources to go along with made up stories. Don’t believe me? Google or Lexis Nexus the name Greg Packer. He has been the source or man on the street in hundreds of news stories across the country and around the world. This guy gets around. He was even the randomly picked man on the street in the Times Square New Years eve celebration two times running. What are the odds? The drive by media hides behind confidential sources to perpetuate their agenda.

    Let me quote the old song by Moby — Wake Up!!!!!!!

    • http://www.playhardworkless.com Guest

      “The Communists, er Democrats would love to shut down Bloggers”???

      No bias here. From a person whose home is most likely filled with 80 percent of crap made in COMMUNIST China, and who they are oh so happy to send our jobs to.

      Journalism is supposed to hold to a higher standard. One that is supposed to report the news based on fact and not opinion. My case in point, the dolt who wrote the sentence above is exactly what we don’t need to be labeled as a journalist.

      This world does not need the one sided opinion spread as so-called news from wanna-be journalists such as Fox news. (or MSNBC for you libby haters) Keep your opinion where it belongs…. As opinion.

      • Gerry

        While I agree in part with what is being said, anyone who believes that Journalism equals truth is smoking dope. I have yet to read ANY article that isn’t biased to a degree; whether it be a left wing view or a right wing view. The reporter ALWAYS leaves a shard of his OPINION in any given article; depending on his or her personal political leanings. Any contradiction to this fact is pure drivel.

      • Steve

        I’m absolutely biased. I don’t hide it, do you? The media referred to the nationalization of a bank, i.e., Citicorp. This type of acitivity as well as universal health care, universal insurance, universal education, etc., et cetera is Socialism. I don’t use the word Communism lightly. The ultimate goal of Nancy Pelosi and her ilk is Communism. Chris Dodd is an old school communist. Based on what I have learned of these folks, Communism is not an undesirable outcome in their view. It is after all, centralized control by the Government. Where do you think all of this is going?

        Notice how I didn’t have to refer to you as a Dolt or use some other nasty name.

        By the way, I go out of my way to not purchase products made in China. You assumed that I own a home and that it is filled with treasures, most of which came from China. Also, I never said that I was a journalist. Can’t we just stop the hating? I think that what you meant to say is “Keep your (non-liberal) opinion where it belongs…to yourself. Sorry, this is an open blog. You can’t use the liberal tactic of shutting down the opposition or shouting over them.

        • Guest

          I am biased also, on the opposite side. I hear so much of this communist talk from Repubs all the time. Do you realize how old and redundant this argument is?

          How is seeing to the needs of your country’s people the same as turning into a communist nation? I mean, not just those who are rich. I’ve yet to hear a really good argument on this. All I hear is a bunch of whining and moaning that the world will come to an end because a Dem is in office. It’s all the same lack of proper argument, begging the question and misplacing the burden of proof on claims being made.

          Communism usually leads to a country becoming stale and mediocre. That’s not the goal of Dems at all; in fact, it’s quite the opposite, which is why I support the party in general. If you read a legislation in it’s original state and not how it’s been spun for the news channels or some talk show host’s biased opinion, you might even agree.

          Our country, and it’s outdated ways of doing things, is already stale and mediocre, mostly due to the fat cats who get rich at everybody else’s expense (not a partison issue, but a national one, that needed addressed). The goal of this new administration is to give everybody the chance to really succeed and not to hold anybody else down in the process, which we saw a lot of from the previous administration.

          Also, since when is shutting down opposition or shouting over them suddenly a liberal invention? Let me guess, you heard that on FoxNews, right? I see it coming from the other side quite a bit and actually more often than I do from the left. My professional opinion is that it’s a very bad practice that both sides of the aisle engage in far too often.

          You’re more than entitled to your opinion, but so am I. That’s what this country is about, an exchange of differing opinions and what we can do to ensure a little something for everyone, rather than a lot of something for only a few.

  • Wyatt Perk

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    I say start a worldwide petition to “FORCE” Congress’ Hand

    • Gerry

      What good would a “worldwide petition” do? Even the best petition to Congress in THIS country has little effect without a signature. As for the “worldwide” part of the remark, Congress is only answerable to the citizens of the United States, NOT the entire world. What kind of an idiot would suggest a “worldside petition” to force Congress’ hand?

  • http://www.wheatleyus.com William A. Wheatley

    Let’s look at constitutional issues. The Constitution protects freedom of speech (blogging is a form of speech) and freedom of the press (the “press” means any published item. There is no separate protection for Journalists. The supposed right of journalists to conceal their sources is derived from the supposed “crushing effect on freedom of speech and freedom of speech” that would result from the inability of a reporter to keep a source secret. I would support the right of journalists to keep sources secret, except in the case of criminal prosecutions in which the source could be or provide evidence, in which case a court should be able to review the importance of the source to the case and issue an appropriate order either protecting the source’s identity or requiring the reporter to reveal it.

    That said, blogs are protected as speech and protected as press. Congress cannot change that. If the right of reporters to protect sources is constitutionally based, it applies equally to bloggers. However, if it is statutory, it applies however the statute says. However, I do not believe that “journalist” is subject to a definition by law.

  • http://www.jonesfamily.us Ron Jones

    The Anti-federalists, who counted among their number such men as Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and others warned of these events over 200 years ago.

    The federal constitution, which was entered into voluntarily by the separate, sovereign states centralized power in the hands of a tyrannical national authority. This national government pretends to be able to rule over 300+ million wildly diverse subjects with “fairness.” Which can only happen if it tramples the rights of all.

    We have granted our tyrannical national authority the right to define the limits of its own power.

    You did nothing when it granted itself the right to take the property of one and give it to another. Who cares then when you complain that it is now granting itself the right to take the freedoms you enjoy and give it exclusively to another?

    Do a little research on The Principles of ’98, as it relates to the ideas of interposition and nullification. Then read forward nearly 70 years to the 14th amendment.

    Not only do you NOT have the ability to “school our ‘freaking’ government” …there is NOTHING that protects your ability to do so. These ‘rights & protections’ were lost with the passage of the 14th amendment.

    Before you whine that “OMG the 14th amendment is what makes us all Americans & protects our liberties,” learn about it first. Read how it was passed at the point of a bayonet and how it has been used to eliminate state sovereignty & turn the 50 states into nothing more than voting districts.

    Thomas Jefferson opined that the 10th amendment was the foundation of the constitution…I haven’t heard you whining about that one…or the second, which was designed to give you the ability to protect yourself from an intrusive, tyrannical government.

    Stop your complaining and retrain, you have the government you asked for.

    What is the solution? http://www.jonesfamily.us/ron-jones/perspective/politics/0049-american-conservative

    • http://www.cv90holidays.com/ Nook

      The desolation that Jefferson referenced, is a recognition of a prevailing annihilation that natural man has towards a state of rule. The STATE is government administered by coercion. Inborn rights are intrinsic within one

  • http://www.lizmicik.com Liz Micik

    Whether a blogger is considered a journalist or not is irrelevant unless you’re the one printing and distributing the “press passes” to a certain event or a government body. In this case, they can add any sort of language they want to that bill and all it will do is ensure that the bill is struck down by the courts.

    Freedom of speech protects everyone. Whether they’re shouting from a soapbox on the corner, or from a blog or a website. The where is no more important than the “what” of what they are saying. Their underlying right to say it is what is protected and all that matters.

    I thinks it’s time we start paying close attention to who is sponsoring this sort of drivel and who is adding the inane amendments. Then, we should democratically ensure that these weak links are culled from the herd by doing our best to elect their opponents in their next election.

    It’s called democracy in action.

    • Guest

      You think Obama and his liberal buddies WANT freedom of speech? You are obviously getting your input by the liberal left. If you gathered your information from a number of services, you’d know that he wants to completely change EVERYTHING America stands for, and even more frightening than him, are Pelosi and Reid. (The latter was accused of taking money from utility companies before he was last elected.)

      So, in answer to the main question, YES, I think Bloggers, or anyone with valuable or ‘insider’ information, should be considered a journalist.

      And fyi, the ‘who cares’ attitude is exactly why we’re treading on thin ice, when it comes to freedom of speech. Or didn’t you know that the house is also trying to refrain conservative radio?

  • http://DONSCYCLEWARE.COM Guest

    Before I get worked up about this article I would like to know more about the “bill” this guy is talking about.

    Very poorly written article. Do you claim to be a journalist?

    • http://www.morrisartworks.com Mo

      Can you expand your explanation of criticism experience with a longer sentence, perhaps 100 “10 cent words” would be more descriptive, as I understood what was written, with or without proper grammar.

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