Does this policy [The DoJ’s new guidelines] protect anyone doing journalism, or just members of the establishment? The Justice Department talks about protection for “news media” (the guidelines don’t use the word “press”) but doesn’t provide any guidance on just who that is. Presumably, if you’re drawing a paycheck from the New York Times or Gannett (the parent company of USA TODAY), you’re covered. (But note that, not too long ago, the Obama administration was claiming that Fox News, home of James Rosen, one of the key targets of recent Justice Department snooping, was not a “legitimate news organization.”) If the Justice Department can pick and choose in this fashion, the guidelines don’t mean much.But even if the guidelines extend to everyone who draws a paycheck as a reporter or pundit—hey, I guess that would include me—that’s still not enough. In this era of blogging, social media and independent journalism, there are an awful lot of people doing serious journalism who aren’t drawing a paycheck from a media organization. They deserve protection, too. Journalism is an activity, not a profession.
Exactly right. The Obama Justice Department wants to arrogate the right to define who is a journalist and who is a pesky fly to be swatted at will. The move to allow the federal government decide who is and who isn’t a “legitimate news organization” is a direct assault on the essence of the First Amendment.Sadly, this is not an aberration. Modern nanny state liberalism is all about restricting speech. University campuses, where the spirit of progressive repression has gone furthest, are now among the least free places in America. These new DoJ rules are bringing the same spirit to Washington.[Obama photo courtesy of Getty Images]