May 31 2013
Don’t you love it that President Obama—whose Justice Department has been snooping on selected reporters—is supporting a shield law to protect journalists?
But of course the press already has protection to carry out its work, if the Justice Department can resist the temptation to treat them as criminals. It’s called the First Amendment:
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.
The president’s vocalization regarding a shield law comes as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin—who wrote a letter to the IRS urging the agency to investigate tea party groups applying for tax exempt status—questions whether the First Amendment applies to bloggers and others the left can’t control.
I mean surely we can’t let that rag-tag-band of nobodies have First Amendment rights?
Michael A. Walsh answers this question today (in a column that is actually about Attorney General Eric Holder’s ill-attended meeting with a few pusillanimous members of the press yesterday):
Today…the “media” is no longer synonymous with the major news organizations huddled along Sixth Avenue; it’s also Web sites major and minor, independent bloggers, “citizen journalists” and just plain Nosy Parkers, scattered across the country. Many of them don’t make a dime at what they do.
The elites see this as anarchy, but in truth we’re right back where we started, in the days of the troublemaking citizen-pamphleteers like Tom Paine who — like their counterparts today — often wrote anonymously or under pseudonyms. (The Federalist Papers, anybody?) If the Obama crew really believes in transparency and the “free flow of information,” they need to cover the little guys, too.
That system gave us our constitutional system of limited government. No wonder the entrenched interests in both government and the press fear it so.
Some are shocked that former constitutional law professor Barack Obama seems to have so little respect for that document. They shouldn't be.