Politicians are again throwing hissy fits because they have so far been unsuccessful at definition what a journalist is. The definition of a journalist is a big deal for the freedom of speech because if the politicians are able to define journalist narrow enough they can squash all sort of the legal protections. This time around, just like all of the time prior, the politicians are trying to justify their attempts at stripping people of the coveted journalist title through fear:
Freedom of the press is essential. Freedom of the press is important to me. Freedom of the press is not going anywhere in Alabama.
With the national explosion of partisan political blogs and shady, fly-by-night websites offering purposely skewed and inaccurate interpretations of hard news events, I recently asked the Secretary of the Senate to put together a definition of what qualifies as a legitimate journalist.
My concern focused on the confusion that could result if a number of partisan bloggers requested official credentials to cover legislative happenings from the press rooms located in the rear of each chamber at the State House.
If they don’t define what a journalist is then anybody could potentially go into marble building in which our overlords dictate degrees and report on what’s going on. The need to squash such a possibility is obvious.
As I enjoy being helpful I have decided to put forth a definition of journalist that I believe will work for everybody. So here it is, a journalist is anybody or anything (because someday artificial intelligences may do journalism) that reports on events. Simple enough?
I’m sure my definition isn’t what the politicians are looking for as their interest is restricting who can cover their actions by ensuring reporters are sympathetic to the state. But journalism is only effective if the reporters are cynical assholes who are willing to dig deep to find dirt. In other words to be a good journalist you have to be a bastard:
And that’s exactly what the politicians are trying to censor.