Congress tries to define what a journalist is to better attack those who aren't
The goal here is to protect journos who are employed by massive corporations while quietly labeling bloggers or citizen journalists as something Other. This is a reaction to Wikileaks, Snowden, Manning, and a thousand other whistleblowers in the making.
And a democrat, the sort-of evil Diane Feinstein, is behind it.
The definition was met with approval by some and dismay by others. Politico, a website that tracks the minutiae of the DC elite, praised it as "a step forward for independent and non-traditional media organisations." The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organisation that seeks to protect free speech online, decried it as offering insufficient protection for independent bloggers, reiterating their earlier argument that "Congress should link shield law protections to the practice of journalism as opposed to the profession.”
The Senate debate over who is a "journalist" arose in the aftermath of WikiLeaks, whose activity has been defined as both journalism and espionage. Expanding the definition of a journalist means expanding the legal protection journalists receive.
"I can't support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I'm not going to go there," said Senator Diane Feinstein, in a statement Matt Drudge denounced as "fascist”.
The debate over who is a journalist is a debate over journalistic privilege. But in a prestige economy, the privilege to protect the confidentiality of sources is not the only privilege at play.
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