Senator Dick Durbin, on Fox News Sunday this past weekend, made a very disturbing remark about the definition of journalism:
“…the media shield law, which I am prepared to support and I know Senator Graham supports, still leaves an unanswered question which I’ve raised many times. What is a journalist today in 2013? We know it’s someone that works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who ‘s tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection? We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision in our Constitution that was written over 200 years ago.”
Here is a case where what he didn’t say is just as important to look at as what he did say. Durbin says he wants to protect journalists, but he also wants to define what a journalist is. He’s asking about who is entitled to constitutional protection. That means he also wants to know who isn’t entitled to that protection; who can be targeted outside of any safeguards set in place by our Constitution. He’s looking at removing constitutional protections from who he (or the government) deems aren’t ‘real journalists’.
Now, how would the government decide who’s an actual journalist and thus deserving of first amendment protection? There would have to be some sort of licensing process. In order to invoke Freedom of the Press, you would have to be approved to do so…by the very government that, in part, it’s the job of a free press to keep in check. That is not freedom; not what the founders ever had in mind. That is tyranny on the same level as the Soviet Union’s relationship with Pravda during the time of the Cold War.
Durbin also said,”We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision in our Constitution that was written over 200 years ago.” This is a typical attack tactic used by the left. They tried it recently with the debates on gun control, claiming that, when the second amendment was written, the founding fathers only had knowledge of ‘muskets’ and not our modern semi-automatic, so-called ‘assault rifles’, then assuming that they would never have wanted ownership of those firearms protected. Let me make this very clear: CHANGING TECHNOLOGY AND THE PASSAGE OF YEARS DO NOT TRUMP OR CHANGE PRINCIPLE! The Constitution does not have an experation date. It contains concepts that were decided on, not just from current events in their day, but also from a vision of tyranny and governmental abuses throughout history. The rifles of 200 years ago were the military standard of the time. The newspaper reporters and pamphleteers of 200 years ago used what was cutting edge of technology for the time. It’s not the tech that defines a journalist; it’s the action.
The First Amendment says: “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.”
If you take a look at the wording, you’ll see that this is actually divided into three subjects:
1) Freedom of Religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
2) Free Speech: “or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;”
3) Freedom of assembly: “or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In the case of Freedom of Speech, the issue of the press is a secondary concern, falling under the umbrella of free speech. In other words, whether Mr. Durbin likes it or not, the issue of who is and who isn’t protected constitutionally as a journalist is irrelevant, as all Americans are protected under the encompassing concept of Freedom of Speech. Remember that many of the architects of our Constitution were revolutionaries. They brought their revolutionary ideas to play in their efforts to create a nation where revolution could take place without bloodshed. The reason the press was specifically important to them was not because they saw the press as some specialized and properly trained and approved group who brought news to the masses in a specific manner. No, they were important because they represented a voice that could reach the people and shine a light on their government, for good or ill. Our entire government is built on checks and balances and this is simply another one of them. The press was never meant to be an instrument to protect the government or certain political forces within it, but instead to keep that government from trampling the people’s liberty. I suspect our founding fathers would be very dissappointed in us today in that regard.
And don’t think that Dick Durbin is just some lone voice in the Democrat party. He’s not known for independent thought; he’s known for following his marching orders from the DNC. This is a common line of thought among those on the left. They’re only supportive of freedom in ways that benefit them.
Finally, you might be thinking that your readership is too small to be noticeable. Don’t fool yourselves. When it comes to exerting control, letting some voices stay free is never acceptable, no matter how small that voice may be. And, here’s a warning for you liberal bloggers out there that, quite frankly, even if you do happen to read this, you’re still likely to believe yourselves safe from these sorts of tactics because you happen to share the ideology. I figure you’ll just dismiss this, but the cold truth is that the liberal Democrats in power in America don’t possess a single ounce of respect for any media. It’s all just a big dog to them that, when it does what they want, gets petted but, when it crosses them, will get hit in the nose with a newspaper. (Yes, I’m aware of the irony in that statement.) Just look at Bob Woodward. And if you think for a minute that those liberals will abide a nation of voices that they have absolutely no way of controlling, you are far beyond delusional. If they’re allowed to seize the power to define and regulate the press, they will use it to put the entirety of the media, in every possible incarnation, under their thumb. These ‘little people’ out there posting criticisms of the liberal establishment and giving light to stories considered undesirable will be targeted if they can get away with doing it. And don’t fool yourselves into thinking they’d be any friendlier to voices that are on their side today, but whose agendas and thoughts they cannot know, who they have no power over, so they have no way of knowing where they’ll stand from tomorrow. Tyrannical power built on control breeds paranoia that allows for absolutely no one to be above suspicion.
Think I’m being paranoid or giving into a conspiracy theory mentality? Take a look at the current batch of scandals coming from the Obama administration: Benghazi and the lies told to the American people about it, the IRS targeting specific organizations based on their political standing, the overt attacks on the press by the seizing of phone records from the Associated Press and Fox News, etc. God knows that, by the time you read this, there may very well be more scandals, as well. This is the world we live in and these are the people in power. They are not honest. They are not to be trusted, especially when they ask us to trust them.
We’ve been complacent for way too long regarding our rights and, the longer we remain that way, the more our rights will slip away. As hard as it is to fight to hold onto our freedoms, the more we relinquish, the harder it will be to get them back. There is no more time for waiting, for trusting our elected officials to do the right thing all on their own. We have to stand up right now and claim our freedoms, embrace the principles embraced by our founding fathers, and take back our country that is of the people, by the people and for the people.