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Senate Panel brings Federal Law One Step Closer to Kneecapping Bloggers

Senate panel brings federal law one step closer to kneecapping bloggers

See also

gun rights
Gun control
'Authorized Journalists'
Fast and Furious

Like the proverbial three monkeys, Feinstein, Schumer and Durbin strike a "Speak no evil, speak no evil, speak no evil" pose. And they get to be the ones who define what's evil.

David Codrea
Gun Rights Examiner

September 13, 2013

Advancing their quest for "common sense press control," the Senate Judiciary Committee voted yesterday to define who the government will consider to be an "Authorized Journalist," meaning if the measure becomes law, they will also be able to declare who is not. Voting 13-5 on "a compromise worked out by Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin in coordination with news organizations ... the overall bill will ... would codify many of the regulations proposed earlier this year by Attorney General Eric Holder," Fox News reported.

Defining "covered journalists" as those who are "an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information," the bill would also "extend to student journalists," the report continues, meaning it will also codify who is an "Authorized Student." That opens itself to other questions, for instance, what if an activist blogger is also just a part-time online university attendee, and what institutional accreditation is required? Will the student's major factor in, does it mean they have to work for the school paper, or what?

That this particular triumvirate sees itself as the arbiters of not just government declaring who merits elite "more equal than others" recognition, but as vested with legitimate Constitutional powers to make such a determination backed by force of law in the first damn place, is hardly surprising. After all, the Second Amendment isn't safe around them either, so why would people think other freedoms would be?

In this case, Schumer is acting as bagman for the White House, Feinstein views the First Amendment as a "special privilege" to grant (loyal) "real reporters," and Durbin is left scheming over how he can work the obsolescence of quill pens and the English Common Press to his advantage.

That they would be doing this in "coordination" with establishment media is also hardly a surprise. With many searching for workable business models and foundering due to a reduced demand to pay for dead tree media and competition by new upstart online rivals, with the loss of gatekeeper status due to alternative information providers, and with the erosion of trust their transparent agenda-driven offenses of commission and omission have earned them, it only makes sense they'd want government to stack the deck in their favor. Besides, quid pro quo makes the world go 'round, and it's not like they're not on the same team anyway, at least the influential ones who have cushy administration gigs waiting for them, or that the door doesn't swing both ways.

Add to that the natural inclination for what Joe Biden calls "legitimate media" to look down their collective ... uh... collective noses at someone the great Juan Williams would dismiss as #justablogger, and it's understandable why they would be happy to form a "public/private partnership," which you have to admit sounds a lot warmer than terms like "economic fascism."

Besides, get on their good side, and the possibilities are limitless, such as a proposed "progressive energy tax" (don't you just love the word "progressive"?) that would "make the technologies that overproduce information more expensive and less widespread." Hey, no less of an authority than John Roberts tells us as long as it's a tax, government can practically do whatever it wants.

As for the issue that brings readers to this column, just forget the fact that for the most part, the media is almost universally hostile to gun rights, and universally ignorant or deceptive about how they report, and importantly, on what they choose to ignore.

That last link -- and I go to the trouble to embed them for a reason - will segue us into a story that regular readers of this column are more than familiar with and just knew I'd be bringing up, the Fast and Furious government "gunwalking" criminal enterprise. No wonder Eric Holder is the one proposing the regs Chucky, DiFi and Dick (Heh!) are midwifing. Aside from the fact that his boss admittedly "hates" internet media...

Go ahead and open that link too, and look around and explore some of the other rooms it opens into, and see what was left to a pair of "bloggers" to uncover, report and then throw every light and beat every pot and pan they could get their hands on to get Congress and the media to notice.

Then understand that the proposed new law does not affect me -- at least as long as I can show I'm an "agent" of someone else, such as the fine folks at FMG Publications, who allow me to pen the monthly "Rights Watch" column in GUNS Magazine, and this website. But I take it personally, for several reasons.

Regular readers will also be familiar with the genesis of the term "Authorized Journalist," which originated before my current professional affiliations were established, As editor and publisher of a local grassroots gun rights newsletter, while trying to cover a public press conference on guns at a public park by my Congressional representative and Sarah Brady, I was told by a law enforcement official that I was not allowed to ask a question because those were reserved for the press.

Over the years further "official" attempts at chilling "unauthorized journalism" were reported at the War on Guns blog, such as ATF threatening an FFL they were trying to close down with harassment charges for blogging about what they were doing to him. That particular story morphed into a legal threat from a United States Marshal for my coverage.

But even though I could probably count on an exemption for myself, at least until the law is amended to remove any "loopholes" that will certainly emerge once it's accepted that this is an area government has authority to occupy, it's not something any American with a shred of integrity and respect for equal protection under the law would have anything to do with. Plus, what kind of idiot would give government that kind of power?

And it's still personal. See, I'm proud to be friends with Mike Vanderboegh of the Sipsey Street Irregulars blog, and I'm appreciative of the work we've done together. Not being anyone's agent, he properly assesses he won't be covered by the "shield" Eric Holder and his Congressional co-conspirators have in mind.

Having worked closely with Mike, not only on Fast and Furious, but on numerous other projects where he has enlisted trusted confidential sources to uncover stories no one else has, and seeing the corruption he has exposed, I'll tell you right now this guy is more of a real journalist than any number of "professional" frauds the establishment rewards with recognition, fortune and awards. Knowing firsthand what a thorn he remains in the side of those relying on "legitimate media" to either ignore or make excuses for them, the threat of prosecuting bloggers for not revealing a source would intimidate many from coming forward.

I say this without hyperbole. A guy like Mike would die before betraying a confidence. I know this to be true. People can trust him with their lives. Some have.

There's something I've known but not talked about, because protecting our sources has always been the paramount and sacred trust that explains in part why we have been able to secure information others with organizational resources have not. I'll relate it now, in very general terms, so that you'll understand some of the considerations we have been forced to contemplate while working on some of the developments we have made public over the years.

More than one confidential source has acknowledged they were in fear for their lives, and credit the lights and noise generated by mere bloggers with helping to keep them safe. Literally. Understanding that I will not flesh this out with further detail, think for a moment what that means, and how that also weighed on those they trusted, with personal and family concerns of their own.

You're damn right I take this personally.

Drudge is right. This latest offensive power grab where government presumes approval over journalists is "disgusting" and it's "fascist."

It is, in fact, an "Intolerable Act."

No "real American" will stand for it.


See related follow-up report: "Arrest of Terry murder suspect raises weapon questions and more."


What the Obama administration can't get through legislation they're determined to get just by issuing orders. The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the magazine hits the stands. Click here to read "Executive Actions."


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