It would be ironic and unwise for a blog named “Dull Tool Dim Bulb” to criticize any part of the “legitimate” press, but a recent court decision which found bloggers do not have the same first amendment rights or protection as journalists gives me a little pause. First, because even with my limited creds, I personally may have more journalistic experience (and I might even suggest integrity) than a good chunk of the journalists working today, and second because the so-called legitimate press is so damn questionable.
Not only that, according to David Ardia, co-director of the University of North Carolina center for media law and policy “There is no accepted definition of journalism or who is a journalist,” The judge ruled against the blogger because she “failed to present evidence that she had any media credentials or affiliation with a “recognized news entity,” or that she had checked her facts or tried to contact the other side to “get both sides of the story.”
Hmm…Does Jimmy Breslin have a journalism degree? Did Studs Terkel or Mike Royko, both who were unfortunately based in the same town as the Candid Press above? If any of them do, they can easily prove it, which is precisely why I am phrasing it as a question rather than “reporting” it… I don’t THINK they did, but they are free to sue me if they feel otherwise. Excellent reporters in every respect? Yes. In fact all three personal heroes of mine. But does the fact that they received a paycheck from a media conglomerate give them first amendment rights I as a citizen do not have?
Because Glenn Beck cashed a check from Murdoch for his chalkboard conspiracies mean he has more rights than I? (Can I say Murdoch again? I use his empire as an example because if ANY media is conglomerated-up with big time credentials, it is his, and we KNOW the journalistic standards he maintains.) I am inclined to send a few issues of the Candid Press, which enjoyed first amendment freedom, to the judge in the recent ruling.
Disgusting, ugly, sexist, offensive, putrid, obscene (to me anyway…) and gross. But fully protected by first amendment rights?
Chicago’s Candid “Press” ran a long time and consumed plenty of forest. I might not have a degree in journalism either, but I suspect most of my pieces here would stand up pretty well if presented to a veteran fact checker at the New Yorker alongside any issue of Candid Press. I have a pile of them here. Don’t take me up on my offer, I can’t afford a lawyer.
Candid Press was so disgusting, I’d leave the second city over it in shame, except that I lived in Manhattan with Al Goldstein’s Screw and survived. Al had first amendment rights because he was a fat, slob pig with media affiliation?
Who else has the credentials of media affiliation? Veteran journalist and not Pulitzer prize-winning beacon of truth Rush Limbaugh and George Noory, the voice of a late-night talk show I enjoy, but which “reports” on Big Foot, ghost sightings, voices from the dead and chupacabra on a nightly basis. I love Coast-to-Coast and so do many others apparently, as it airs nightly on no less than 25 radio stations in MY STATE ALONE…but does that give them any more rights than I have as a citizen? Hell, Bill O’Reilly HAS a journalism degree and he is wrong more often than a paid witness or a chiropractor.
Candid Press was a piece of pink-colored newsprint crap and completely devoid of the humor they tried so hard to provide. They claimed to be America’s Largest Selling Adult Weekly. Well B.F.D. It stunk. The giant pile I have of them on the floor here still stink nearly five decades later. If they were protected anymore than me simply because they dropped a pile at the corner news stand every Wednesday to stink up the hog butcher to the world, then we have a problem.
I know far more excellent journalists today who blog than I do judges. Many of them blog instead of receive a paycheck because big companies which provide “media affiliation” helped create a generation (and every future generation) who would rather watch ads on hand-held devices and flat screens than read. I can’t claim to speak for our founding fathers (as judges and politicians do on a daily basis) but I think they intended first amendment rights to apply to all of us, not just those with a press pass and job re-phrasing press releases for the Huffington App.
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