Still, you have to wonder about moves like this one that Mitch Berg documents, which would deny bloggers the "press shield" protection offered working journalists. He produces the proposed language from Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois:
In section 10(2)(A), strike clause (iii) and insert the
[a "journalist" is shielded if he/she] (iii) obtains the information
sought while working as a salaried employee of, or independent contractor for,
(I) that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, 1or other means; and
(aa) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical;
(bb) operates a radio or television broadcast station, network, cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier;
(cc) operates a programming service; or
(dd) operates a news agency or wire service;
There's a lot of mischief here. Would this feature be considered a periodical? Or would I, in the course of producing my work, have to periodically publish a hard copy of this blog and distribute it somehow?
But more important is this:
In section 10(2)(B), strike ‘‘and’’ at the end.
In section 10(2)(C), strike the period at the end and insert ‘‘; and’’.
In section 10(2), add at the end the following:
(D) does not include an individual who gathers or disseminates the protected information sought to be compelled anonymously or under a pseudonym.
So anyone who blogs but does not use his/her own name is basically SOL.
Mitch, who of course blogs under his own name, has a particular concern about this issue, since he does a lot of reporting on issues he holds dear, especially charter schools. He actually does fit the bill of citizen journalist. He also makes the following relevant point:
The conservative blogosphere is dominated by independents who cover their fields of expertise, whatever they are (this blog: music, financial planning, wine, tomatos and Minnesota politics) for the pure, unadulterated love of the game. From Power Line (which covers all they survey) to Speed Gibson (who patrols the ramparts of northwest-suburban education), we mostly do it because we want to, money be damned.Speed Gibson is a great example: he's a concerned citizen. He's tough but he's fair and he does a lot of original and important reporting on what goes on in his school district. And it's hard to see the benefit of denying him the press shield.
Of course, it may not matter that much longer anyway. Consider this (via Instapundit):
That's the next post.