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(Tech Dirt)   Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ministry of Truth) says government should decide who's a journalist and who isn't   (techdirt.com) divider line 112
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1180 clicks; posted to Politics » on 02 Jul 2013 at 2:37 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-02 10:52:21 AM
What if(and I'm just spit-balling here) instead of certain persons getting special protection we gave special protection to certain kinds of speech: political speech, whistleblowers who expose illegal activity, etc.

/it's too bad that American's right to speak their mind and criticize the government isn't already protected.....as part of the Constitution maybe.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 10:56:10 AM
It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?
 
2013-07-02 11:10:31 AM
Dick only said that because he's a knob gobbling parasite that would sell his grandmother for a few votes.
 
2013-07-02 11:13:08 AM

vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?


It would be, which is why we need no such laws.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 11:14:57 AM

exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.


So no protection for journalists then?
 
2013-07-02 11:17:54 AM

vpb: exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.

So no protection for journalists then?


Personally, I'd rather see protection for everyone

/never know when I might suddenly embark on a career in journalism
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 11:24:07 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Personally, I'd rather see protection for everyone

/never know when I might suddenly embark on a career in journalism


What like blanket immunity from all laws?  No laws at all?

There is nothing wrong with protection for whistle-blowers or journalists, but there are espionage laws for a reason.

People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.
 
2013-07-02 11:29:12 AM
vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?
 
2013-07-02 11:30:12 AM
They sort of do that in a backhanded kind of way.

Either you play ball and ask easy questions geared towards garnering a canned response or you fail to get access to various officials and politicians.
 
2013-07-02 11:40:37 AM

vpb: exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.

So no protection for journalists then?


People who are classified as journalists need special protections that aren't afforded to others? I don't see the point in that.
 
2013-07-02 11:44:59 AM

exick: vpb: exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.

So no protection for journalists then?

People who are classified as journalists need special protections that aren't afforded to others? I don't see the point in that.


The point isn't so much to protect the journalist as it is to protect someone who might have spoken to the journalist. So, it seems if you had something to say, and you didn't want anyone to know it came from you, you wouldn't tell your brother to post it on his twitter feed, you would call up a professional journalist and blab to him.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 11:51:38 AM

Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?


A whistle blower is someone who exposes criminal activity or fraud waste and abuse.  He hasn't done any of that.  He has just exposed some classified information about a legal program.  He is just a criminal.
 
2013-07-02 11:55:19 AM

vpb: Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?

A whistle blower is someone who exposes criminal activity or fraud waste and abuse.  He hasn't done any of that.  He has just exposed some classified information about a legal program.  He is just a criminal.


But why it's legal and who's making sure is classified as a matter of national security. There's zero public oversight and little to no judicial review. All we have is the word of the people running the program that what they're doing is legal. Hell they lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about it.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 11:55:39 AM

exick: People who are classified as journalists need special protections that aren't afforded to others? I don't see the point in that.


Well, suppose it's illegal to reveal classified information and you publish it in your paper.  Or suppose you buy a gun illegally as part of a story on the ease with which a gun can be bought illegally.

Those are the sorts of things that journalists aren't prosecuted for that non-journalists couldn't get away with.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 12:05:23 PM

Voiceofreason01: vpb: Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?

A whistle blower is someone who exposes criminal activity or fraud waste and abuse.  He hasn't done any of that.  He has just exposed some classified information about a legal program.  He is just a criminal.

But why it's legal and who's making sure is classified as a matter of national security. There's zero public oversight and little to no judicial review. All we have is the word of the people running the program that what they're doing is legal. Hell they lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee about it.


No, the law is not classified and there is extensive judicial review.  There is a court created specifically to oversee it.

We don't just have the word of the people who run it, we have the word of the people who oversee it from all three branches of government.  If they are lying why hasn't Snowden released evidence of that?

As far as I am aware Snowden hasn't released any evidence at all of any illegal warrant-less wiretapping, just the same thing that every other country in the world does.

Besides, if the government operates outside of the law like so many seem to think, what does it matter if you repeal a law or create a new one?
 
2013-07-02 12:18:54 PM
The freedom of the press by definition is a right of the people. Kiss my ass, Durbin.
 
2013-07-02 12:19:47 PM
vpb:Besides, if the government operates outside of the law like so many seem to think, what does it matter if you repeal a law or create a new one?

From Snowden's comments it appears that he believed that the government was acting illegally(whistleblower) and maybe I believe in fairness, justice and the rule of law. And that government should serve the people, not the other way around.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 12:41:54 PM
Voiceofreason01:

From Snowden's comments it appears that he believed that the government was acting illegally(whistle-blower) and maybe I believe in fairness, justice and the rule of law. And that government should serve the people, not the other way around.

A misguided belief is not enough, there has to be actual wrongdoing in order to be a whistle-blower.

Snowden is the one acting outside of the law, and justice would mean prison for Snowden.  The rule of law cuts both ways, it doesn't just mean laws that you like, and just because you don't like a law doesn't mean that it's unconstitutional.

And the government is serving the people.  Most people are just not terrified of the thought of the NSA listening in on calls to the talliban or child porn down-loaders.
 
2013-07-02 12:54:10 PM
From the linked article by Durbin:
To those who feel politicians shouldn't define who a journalist is, I'd remind them that they likely live in one of the 49 states, like Illinois, where elected officials have already made that decision.

I'm looking at you, subby.
 
2013-07-02 01:01:27 PM
Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.
 
2013-07-02 01:22:20 PM
Fine, but 1A says "freedom...of the press", not of journalists.

rumpelstiltskin: The point isn't so much to protect the journalist as it is to protect someone who might have spoken to the journalist. So, it seems if you had something to say, and you didn't want anyone to know it came from you, you wouldn't tell your brother to post it on his twitter feed, you would call up a professional journalist and blab to him.


If I understand your analogy correctly, don't we already have this with lawyers/spouses? Anything I tell my attorney or spouse cannot be compelled to be revealed. Now granted, there are laws covering exactly what a "lawyer" or "spouse" is, but "someone who publishes" seems to be the only criterion the Founders needed, right?
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2013-07-02 02:18:24 PM

Aarontology: Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.


No, they do both.  They have to get a warrant to listen in on calls, but that's what the meta-data is for.  If they see someone calling a number that belongs to a known or suspected terrorist than they can use that as evidence to get the warrant, then listen to the calls.
 
2013-07-02 02:21:02 PM

vpb: Aarontology: Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.

No, they do both.  They have to get a warrant to listen in on calls, but that's what the meta-data is for.  If they see someone calling a number that belongs to a known or suspected terrorist than they can use that as evidence to get the warrant, then listen to the calls.


A warrant from a secret court that has rejected less than one third of one percent of warrant requests presented to it. Truly the hallmark of a free and open society.
 
2013-07-02 02:22:25 PM
I think you mean "Heroic Blogger-Patriots"
 
2013-07-02 02:31:37 PM
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

Seems like 'Government' decided to define a few things here, subs.
 
2013-07-02 02:40:57 PM

Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?


According to the sworn testimony of Dick Whistle, Congressional Knob-Polisher and All-Around Swell Guy.
 
2013-07-02 02:42:44 PM
Not every shaitty blogger is a journalist.  Or male prostitute for that matter.

www.mediabistro.com
 
2013-07-02 02:45:20 PM
You don't judge a journalist by their political views. You judge them by their quality. And so far there are a lot of shiatty journalists thanks to the blogging world. But you gotta suck it up to them, Dick. Free crappy press is still free press.
 
2013-07-02 02:45:36 PM
Fark Dick the Turd Durbin
 
2013-07-02 02:47:21 PM
No senator jacka$$, the government shouldn't be able to do that.
 
2013-07-02 02:49:08 PM

vpb: exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.

So no protection for journalists then?


It seems more reasonable to say the journalist and/or source has broken the law, then allow the judicial system to decide if and how to apply penalties.  The government can bring charges, and the judge/jury can decide.  That way, either an educated judge or a jury of peers is deciding whether or not the journalistic behavior was in the public interest/whistleblowing/etc, or just being a douche.  Plus there's an appeals process.

That'll suck when you've got a very conservative court inclined to agree with government power and secrecy, but that has a similar practical effect as them getting to choose who's a journalist anyhow.
 
2013-07-02 02:50:58 PM
Sheriff Joe's been trying this for years. HE decides which press people are allowed into his circle jerks, and who gets arrested at the door if they try to come in. New Times and East Valley Tribune are regularly denied access, because he claims that they aren't "real" newspapers. Yet the asshat keeps getting elected.
 
2013-07-02 02:53:06 PM

Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?


Since everything the NSA is doing has been going on since the patriot act was passed.
 
2013-07-02 02:54:59 PM

vpb: Voiceofreason01: vpb:
People like Snowden should be held accountable.  He isn't a journalist or a whistle-blower.

by what definition is he not a whistle-blower?

A whistle blower is someone who exposes criminal activity or fraud waste and abuse.  He hasn't done any of that.  He has just exposed some classified information about a legal program.  He is just a criminal.


If you control the definitions, then you control a lot. He exposed legal government wrong doing, and wrong doing with a very tenuous legality. What the NSA is doing is certainly in violation of the spirit of the constitution even if you can argue it keeps to the letter of the law if you control the definitions. I consider what he did whistle blowing.

I suppose you could say the wrongdoing has been happening for decades, but that still does not make it right.
 
2013-07-02 02:56:45 PM

vpb: Voiceofreason01:

From Snowden's comments it appears that he believed that the government was acting illegally(whistle-blower) and maybe I believe in fairness, justice and the rule of law. And that government should serve the people, not the other way around.

A misguided belief is not enough, there has to be actual wrongdoing in order to be a whistle-blower.

Snowden is the one acting outside of the law, and justice would mean prison for Snowden.  The rule of law cuts both ways, it doesn't just mean laws that you like, and just because you don't like a law doesn't mean that it's unconstitutional.

And the government is serving the people.  Most people are just not terrified of the thought of the NSA listening in on calls to the talliban or child porn down-loaders.


Do you think secret laws and secret trials are compatible with a healthy democracy?  I really do not. Jim Crow laws had popular support and *those* were not compatible with democracy.
 
2013-07-02 02:56:54 PM

exick: vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?

It would be, which is why we need no such laws.


But as bad as it sounds, I see his point. I'm tired of all of these basement dwelling Cheeto Munchers who claim to be "journalists". It doesn't men that they don't deserve protection, but more that being a journalist used to mean something. Now, 8-% of what is out there is utter garbage, even with the professional news organizations.
 
2013-07-02 02:58:57 PM

Nabb1: vpb: Aarontology: Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.

No, they do both.  They have to get a warrant to listen in on calls, but that's what the meta-data is for.  If they see someone calling a number that belongs to a known or suspected terrorist than they can use that as evidence to get the warrant, then listen to the calls.

A warrant from a secret court that has rejected less than one third of one percent of warrant requests presented to it. Truly the hallmark of a free and open society.


Why do you think that the number of rejections has anything to do with the legality of the court? Is there some rejection threshold they must cross to be considered "legitimate"?
 
2013-07-02 03:04:58 PM
Anyone who still believes America is a free country is a fool.
 
2013-07-02 03:05:22 PM
This may lead to journalists deciding whether he is a politician or not...
 
2013-07-02 03:07:15 PM
While I don't think there should be some licensing board, if you claim some kind of journalistic privilege or protection you should be able to back it up with something beyond "I write stuff".
 
2013-07-02 03:08:49 PM

HotWingConspiracy: While I don't think there should be some licensing board, if you claim some kind of journalistic privilege or protection you should be able to back it up with something beyond "I write stuff".


Sure, but who gets to determine the validity of that supporting evidence, and by what criteria?
 
2013-07-02 03:09:01 PM

qorkfiend: Nabb1: vpb: Aarontology: Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.

No, they do both.  They have to get a warrant to listen in on calls, but that's what the meta-data is for.  If they see someone calling a number that belongs to a known or suspected terrorist than they can use that as evidence to get the warrant, then listen to the calls.

A warrant from a secret court that has rejected less than one third of one percent of warrant requests presented to it. Truly the hallmark of a free and open society.

Why do you think that the number of rejections has anything to do with the legality of the court? Is there some rejection threshold they must cross to be considered "legitimate"?


Well, for one thing, the lack of rejections could indicate a lack of true oversight.  The FISA courts have pretty much rubberstamped everything in front of them, and I find it hard to believe the NSA is so accurate in its warrant requests and reasoning that another court would have the same rejection rate.

I'm not saying there's definitely an issue, but it does look suspicious and I, as a citizen, would like to have some kind of demonstration of proper due diligence on the court's part, to indicate that it really is using judicial review and not just yes-manning the whole operation.
 
2013-07-02 03:10:50 PM

palelizard: qorkfiend: Nabb1: vpb: Aarontology: Huh. I thought they were just collecting meta data, not listening in on phone calls.

No, they do both.  They have to get a warrant to listen in on calls, but that's what the meta-data is for.  If they see someone calling a number that belongs to a known or suspected terrorist than they can use that as evidence to get the warrant, then listen to the calls.

A warrant from a secret court that has rejected less than one third of one percent of warrant requests presented to it. Truly the hallmark of a free and open society.

Why do you think that the number of rejections has anything to do with the legality of the court? Is there some rejection threshold they must cross to be considered "legitimate"?

Well, for one thing, the lack of rejections could indicate a lack of true oversight.  The FISA courts have pretty much rubberstamped everything in front of them, and I find it hard to believe the NSA is so accurate in its warrant requests and reasoning that another court would have the same rejection rate.

I'm not saying there's definitely an issue, but it does look suspicious and I, as a citizen, would like to have some kind of demonstration of proper due diligence on the court's part, to indicate that it really is using judicial review and not just yes-manning the whole operation.


Right, but none of that changes the fact that the FISA court was created by Congress in a valid exercise of their Constitutionally enumerated powers...
 
2013-07-02 03:11:14 PM

R.A.Danny: The freedom of the press by definition is a right of the people. Kiss my ass, Durbin.


Here is the problem, and his point; If I witness a crime or am part of commiting it (lets say a gang member) and I post that action to my blog or twitter it and the cops want to ask me questions about it in the investigation, I can claim I was just being journalistic in posting it and would be protected even though I was withholding evidence.
 
2013-07-02 03:12:37 PM
I can see the government having an interest in keeping secrets but once they are out and someone publishes them game on, sorry you created an unwieldy amount of data that you can't keep secret.
 
2013-07-02 03:12:39 PM

vpb: It would be kind of difficult to pass a law protecting journalists without some sort of legal definition of journalist wouldn't it?


Having words actually mean something is for authoritarian, socialist statists.
 
2013-07-02 03:12:56 PM

Nabb1: A warrant from a secret court that has rejected less than one third of one percent of warrant requests presented to it.


This just proves that well over 99% of the requests were legit.
 
2013-07-02 03:12:58 PM
I am more concerned that they get to decide who is a barber, cab driver, or a florist.
 
2013-07-02 03:15:25 PM
...also there are probably more full-time blacksmiths in this country than actual journalists right now.
 
2013-07-02 03:15:27 PM
The government (as well as any entity large enough to need to control who gets in its facilities) already decide who's a journalist and who isn't. They're called "press credentials".
 
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