Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pity us bloggers, we don't get a shield law

But we do get the FTC on our case when we make a positive statement about a product. Actually the "shield law" (reporters don't have to testify in court) is a bad idea. It gives a really valuable privilege to just a few people. Who is a reporter really? Do part timers count? Free lancers? Michael Yon? (Michael is a free lancer who furnished the best Iraq coverage) And how about humble bloggers like me? If we go the whole route and call us bloggers reporters, then damn near everyone in the country can get out of testifying in court. That over turns two centuries of legal practice. Right now citizens have to testify except against themselves. Clergy, doctors, lawyers, husbands and wives also get an exemption. Reporters have to testify or the judge can lock them up for contempt of court. This happened to a female New York Times reporter in the Valerie Plame case a couple of years ago.
Far as I am concerned if a reporter's testimony will put some lowlife behind bars, or clear an innocent defender, make him testify. The reporters whine that sources will stop talking to them, but that's foolishness and special pleading. Sources talk to reporters cause they have an axe to grind, or they enjoy bragging. Or cause they drink too much. No source in his right mind is going to confess to a crime. There are quite a few sources who aren't in their right minds but that's the way life is.
Then we have the nanny state FTC deciding to regulate us bloggers. We used to have free speech in this country, which means I can say anything I like about stocks, bonds, automobiles, computers, tools, schools, food and anything else on my blog. I can praise them or slam them, that's free speech, or freedom of the press, depending upon whether you call a blog writing or speaking. Doesn't matter, we were free to do it, up until the FTC decided it could regulate this sort of thing.
What constitutional freedom will they take away from us next?
Time for another Tea Party.

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