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Does The First Amendment Protect Bloggers Too?
Mental Recession ^ | 02/16/2012 | Rusty

Posted on 02/16/2012 6:23:48 PM PST by rustyweiss74

A court ruling last December would seem to indicate that no, bloggers are not privy to the same legal protections afforded so-called real journalists.

Via the Washington Examiner:

This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.

Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.

I would argue that the work being performed by bloggers can sometimes be far superior and more timely than that being manufactured by the main stream media. From my personal experience, every time that I have come across something for the first time on an outlet like MSNBC or CNN, and commence researching, that topic has already been widely covered in the blogosphere.

But we're not debating quality of work here. We're debating basic First Amendment rights.

In a terrific op-ed by Jason Stverak, a strong case to apply those rights to bloggers is made:

"... why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?"

He adds that:

The public now relies on citizen-journalists to perform an invaluable service to our democracy -- serving as government watchdogs.

Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.

(Excerpt) Read more at mentalrecession.blogspot.com ...


TOPICS: Computers/Internet; Government; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: bloggers; firstamendment; freespeech; journalist

1 posted on 02/16/2012 6:23:56 PM PST by rustyweiss74
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To: rustyweiss74

It Better or obama is coming for a lot of us Freepers!


2 posted on 02/16/2012 6:27:46 PM PST by Linda Frances (Only God can change a heart, but we can pray for hearts to be changed.)
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To: rustyweiss74

During the ‘90s, a few divorced fathers, concerned about their children, exposed a few things about the courts. Their 1st Amendment rights were violated (ordered by judges to remove sites, jailed, etc.), and that was the beginning of what you see in process now. Have fun. Enjoy the slide.


3 posted on 02/16/2012 6:32:32 PM PST by familyop (We Baby Boomers are croaking in an avalanche of rotten politics smelled around the planet.)
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To: rustyweiss74

Where in the First Amendment does it actually say the press has more free speech than us?


4 posted on 02/16/2012 6:44:19 PM PST by GeronL (The Right to Life came before the Right to Pursue Happiness)
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To: rustyweiss74

Limitations on free speech fall into the “harm” and “offensive speech” catagories. You have the old saw about yelling fire in a crowded theater” which is comman sense. However, Joel Feinberg’s limitations against offensive speech threatens us through the ever expanding “hate speech” limitations as well as prohibitions against offensive language applied to certain religions. The slope is indeed slippery and we are only a quarter of the way down.


5 posted on 02/16/2012 6:50:18 PM PST by JimSEA
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To: rustyweiss74

I don’t know. Her “blog” was obsidianfinancesucks.com. Claimed the owners were criminals. Who knows? Kind of a gray area.


6 posted on 02/16/2012 6:51:14 PM PST by stinkerpot65 (Global warming is a Marxist lie.)
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To: rustyweiss74
Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.
That is, city hall beat reporters should be subject to exactly the same laws as the rest of us. The First Amendment doesn't define who is a journalist, it doesn't even define journalism as an occupation. The logical meaning of "freedom of the press" is the right of the people to spend money (as a printer does, on ink and paper, etc) on propagating their individual views according to their own purses.

The operational meaning of "journalist" for purposes of the unconstitutional McCain-Feingold "law" is actually wire service journalism. And wire service journalism is not about the public interest, it is about interesting the public for profit and influence. Thus, journalism is not about boring topics of unchanging significance but about "Man Bites Dog" stories. In reality, of course, dogs bite men and almost never the other way around. Which is what makes the conceit of journalism as "the first draft of history" so ridiculous.


7 posted on 02/16/2012 6:54:32 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (DRAFT PALIN)
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To: rustyweiss74

Freedom of the press doesn’t cover radio or tv media even. What makes you think it would cover blogs?


8 posted on 02/16/2012 7:09:11 PM PST by Figment
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To: JimSEA

“bloggers and all citizen-journalists must have the same rights and protections as the rest of the journalism profession.”

The Journalism Profession. Well La-Ti-Da. Many bloggers are not making money with Ad Revenues unlike the Journalism Profession with on line and print Ads.

Therefore, those bloggers are Less likely to selectively report their subject or slant it to prevent upsetting the Advertisers and losing Revenue.

And as many times as I’ve read the First Amendment, I’ll be Deuced if I can find anything about it protecting anyone’s Right to be protected from being Offended.


9 posted on 02/16/2012 7:11:48 PM PST by To-Whose-Benefit? (It is Error alone which needs the support of Government. The Truth can stand by itself.)
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To: JimSEA

Bullying is the new boogey-man. My idea of bullying is someone who hurts you or threatens to hurt you in return for money, objects or assistance (like homework).
My kids told me the new, slippery definition. Disagreeing with someone angrily and hurting their feelings in the process can also be bullying. If I tell you that you are wrong and you cry, I’m now a bully.
Now we not only have to assume that he who is the most emotionally invested in a topic is more right, but telling them that they are wrong is now morally wrong.
We’re starting to see this scope creep in shutting down those who say homosexuality is wrong because that bullies gays. It’s not even shutting down speech you find offensive, just what you say hurts your feelings.


10 posted on 02/16/2012 7:14:06 PM PST by tbw2
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To: tbw2

Anti Bullying is just one more step along a planned and predetermined course,

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

to drive into full blown, utopian, complete Marxism.


11 posted on 02/16/2012 7:31:44 PM PST by To-Whose-Benefit? (It is Error alone which needs the support of Government. The Truth can stand by itself.)
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To: rustyweiss74
As the paid press fails due to lack of audience, Government thugs can now put their full weight on the neck of anybody attempting to ensure the Government remains in check.

Lenin would be so proud of our current crop of judges and Government employees.

12 posted on 02/16/2012 7:32:26 PM PST by OldMissileer (Atlas, Titan, Minuteman, PK. Winners of the Cold War)
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To: GeronL

Nowhere, but then again, the article says that this court ruling wasn’t about 1st Amendment issues, it was about whether a state media shield law applied to bloggers. The 1st Amendment alone must not be sufficient protection against libel in this case.


13 posted on 02/16/2012 7:44:52 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: rustyweiss74

A “blogger” is doing little different from what Paul Revere did with his engraving of the Boston Massacre; it’s simply an upgrade in the technology. Dollars to doughnuts the Founding Fathers had that kind of “journalism” in mind when they crafted the First Amendment.


14 posted on 02/16/2012 10:18:46 PM PST by NonValueAdded (Limbaugh: Tim Tebow miracle: "He had atheists praying to God that he would lose.")
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To: Figment
Freedom of the press doesn’t cover radio or tv media even. What makes you think it would cover blogs?

It covers free expression, no matter what the mode.

Those who would argue otherwise are morons and belong on the DUmp.

15 posted on 02/16/2012 10:25:24 PM PST by cynwoody
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To: rustyweiss74
From my personal experience, every time that I have come across something for the first time on an outlet like MSNBC or CNN, and commence researching, that topic has already been widely covered in the blogosphere.

If it weren't for blogs and bulletin boards, the MSM wouldn't cover most of those stories at all.

16 posted on 02/16/2012 11:35:44 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: rustyweiss74
(Excerpt) Read more at mentalrecession.blogspot.com ...

What seems to have caused you to excerpt your own material?

Looking to get a few hits maybe?

17 posted on 02/17/2012 3:42:00 AM PST by humblegunner
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To: rustyweiss74; shibumi; 50mm; Eaker; Larry Lucido; TheOldLady

Hello Rusty.

It seems that since you signed up at Free Republic a month ago,
you have posted 15 self-authored “articles” from your blog:

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/by:rustyweiss74/index?tab=articles

It is also the case that you have not seen fit to comment on any
of these threads you started, nor on any other thread on the forum:

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/by:rustyweiss74/index?tab=comments;brevity=full;options=no-change

I should tell you that this is VERY BAD FORM.

The fact is that Free Republic is currently engaged in raising
funds for operating expenses. To keep us “on the air” so to speak.
Yet here you are, contributing nothing to the conversation and
attempting to divert Free Republic’s traffic on to your little
blog in order to get hits and the subsequent ad revenue associated with those hits.

BAD Rusty.

I am not mistaken in my analysis. You are a blogpimp.
The fact that you excerpt your own material proves this.

Now, Rusty.. it’s never too late to redeem yourself.

First, post some comments. Here on Free Republic. Not on a blog.

Second, knock off excerpting your own material. Nobody wants
to visit your blog to read the rest of your writing. Maybe
if your material is compelling, some folks will be intrigued
enough to visit your blog. Trying to trick folks into clicking
your blog is a very scummy practice and is frowned on by many here.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, you can show that you are
not just here to use Free Republic as an advertising tool by
donating to the fundraiser. You can do so here:

https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/

You would do well to heed this advice.


18 posted on 02/17/2012 4:17:42 AM PST by humblegunner
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To: humblegunner

I would reply to you, but it says your account has been banned.


19 posted on 02/17/2012 5:56:06 AM PST by rustyweiss74
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To: rustyweiss74

Don’t let that slow you down, chief.


20 posted on 02/17/2012 5:58:38 AM PST by humblegunner
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To: rustyweiss74

A court ruling last December would seem to indicate that no, bloggers are not privy to the same legal protections afforded so-called real journalists.

Via the Washington Examiner:

This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.

Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.

I would argue that the work being performed by bloggers can sometimes be far superior and more timely than that being manufactured by the main stream media. From my personal experience, every time that I have come across something for the first time on an outlet like MSNBC or CNN, and commence researching, that topic has already been widely covered in the blogosphere.

But we’re not debating quality of work here. We’re debating basic First Amendment rights.

In a terrific op-ed by Jason Stverak, a strong case to apply those rights to bloggers is made:

“... why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?”

He adds that:

The public now relies on citizen-journalists to perform an invaluable service to our democracy — serving as government watchdogs.

Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.

If you believe that bloggers should be included in a state’s shield laws and granted Freedom of the Press rights, then please sign the petition at Protect Your Voice.

And please read the rest of the op-ed about bloggers and First Amendment rights here...


21 posted on 02/17/2012 6:01:47 AM PST by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: rustyweiss74; humblegunner; Larry Lucido; 50mm; TheOldLady

Here ya go rusty - my account is still in working order. Reply to me.

(By the way - that’s quite a trick Gunner’s got there - posting from a banned account and all, eh?)

Hello Rusty.

It seems that since you signed up at Free Republic a month ago,
you have posted 15 self-authored “articles” from your blog:

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/by:rustyweiss74/index?tab=articles

It is also the case that you have not seen fit to comment on any
of these threads you started, nor on any other thread on the forum:

http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/by:rustyweiss74/index?tab=comments;brevity=full;options=no-change

I should tell you that this is VERY BAD FORM.

The fact is that Free Republic is currently engaged in raising
funds for operating expenses. To keep us “on the air” so to speak.
Yet here you are, contributing nothing to the conversation and
attempting to divert Free Republic’s traffic on to your little
blog in order to get hits and the subsequent ad revenue associated with those hits.

BAD Rusty.

I am not mistaken in my analysis. You are a blogpimp.
The fact that you excerpt your own material proves this.

Now, Rusty.. it’s never too late to redeem yourself.

First, post some comments. Here on Free Republic. Not on a blog.

Second, knock off excerpting your own material. Nobody wants
to visit your blog to read the rest of your writing. Maybe
if your material is compelling, some folks will be intrigued
enough to visit your blog. Trying to trick folks into clicking
your blog is a very scummy practice and is frowned on by many here.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, you can show that you are
not just here to use Free Republic as an advertising tool by
donating to the fundraiser. You can do so here:

https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/

You would do well to heed this advice.


22 posted on 02/17/2012 9:16:27 AM PST by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: rustyweiss74
For years, I thought the "press" was defined as the media, reporters, etc. Then someone reminded me that inn the 1700's, the "press" was a "printing press," used to distribute literature by individuals and groups.

The Bill of Rights is aimed at the most possible freedom for an individual's standpoint. And that is why I believe the First and Second Amendments are aimed at securing the rights of individuals to speak (i.e., blog) and to keep and bear arms.

23 posted on 02/17/2012 9:38:59 PM PST by CT (Make Mine Newt)
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