Legislator Irritated By A Journalist Decides State's Government Should Start Regulating Journalism

from the a-Pravda-of-our-own dept

A Georgia politician -- apparently tired of being questioned by uppity journalists -- has decided the First Amendment shouldn't apply in his state. James Salzer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the departing state rep, Andy Welch, has lobbed an unconstitutional bomb into the legislature on his way out the door.

A group of House Republican lawmakers filed legislation this week to create a state Journalism Ethics Board to develop “canons of ethics” for journalists in Georgia.

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Andy Welch, R-McDonough, a lawyer who has expressed frustration with what he saw as bias from a TV reporter who asked him questions about legislation recently. He said he thinks the profession could benefit by setting ethical standards for all journalists to follow. Five other Republicans signed on to sponsor the bill.

The bill, which Welch announced along with his resignation from the General Assembly, would create an "independent" ethics board for journalists, which would then decide how journalists should behave. The board -- consisting of a handful of journalists from different fields and a "retired professor of journalism who preferably taught journalism ethics" -- would hand out sanctions, issue opinions, and possibly offer some form of journalism license (which would be voluntary, not mandatory).

The independence of the board would apparently be assured by the requirement that those assembling the board, as well as those sitting on the board, "shall not be employed by any federal government entity, any state government entity, or any local government entity during such member's term of service on the board."

Independent or not, the ethics board would be created by government mandate, which already poses Constitutional issues. It gets worse when other aspects of the proposed law are examined.

Supposedly, accreditation by the ethics board is "voluntary," but the bill [PDF] says it's pretty much mandatory if journalists want to be recognized as journalists by the state.

Develop a voluntary accreditation process in journalism ethics for journalists and news organizations that demonstrate compliance with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in journalism which shall be approved and issued by the board. News organizations shall be accredited only if all journalists employed by the news organization are accredited…

This suggests state-ordained accreditation may be needed if journalists want to avail themselves of the state's shield law. The shield law is already limited to traditional press outlets: print, television, and radio. This new "voluntary" accreditation program would allow the government to ostracize those already recognized by the shield law, as well as bloggers and independent journalists who won't be part of this "voluntary" scheme.

But there's more in the bill that threatens journalism in the state of Georgia. The law would also force news agencies to hand over a massive amount of information to anyone journalists speak to or interview. Here's the AJC's summary of the legislation's demands:

If approved, the bill would also mandate that anyone interviewed by the media would be able to request and receive copies of photographs and audio and video recordings taken by reporters and photographers. Such copies would have to be provided free of cost, even though state and local governments are allowed to charge the public for copies of any documents it provides.

As is pointed out in the AJC article, this subjects private entities to a more rigorous standard than Georgia's government is willing to apply to itself. The legislature is already exempt from most records requests and the government as a whole has a list of exemptions it can use to keep records out of requesters' hands. There are no exemptions made for journalists, who could face civil penalties and lawsuits if they refuse to turn this information over to interviewees.

The timetable for releasing these records is extremely accelerated, at least when compared to the amount of time government agencies are given to respond to records requests.

The member of the media conducting the interview, the employer of the member of the media conducting the interview, the person making the audio or video recording of the interview or taking photographs in connection with the interview, or the media outlet that runs a story relying on such interview or the audio or video recording of such interview or photographs taken in connection with such interview shall provide a copy of all responsive items in their possession within three business days after receiving the request by sending such items by email or by statutory overnight delivery, at the option of the individual making the request. If no method is stated by the individual making such request, the responsive items shall be delivered by statutory overnight delivery.

The proposal is so awful state First Amendment advocates thought it was an April Fool's joke. But it seems Welch is completely serious. This legislator is so hypersensitive that a little "biased" questioning moved him to violate the US Constitution. Sadly, five other members of his party think this garbage is actually worth their support.

There's very little chance the bill will move forward. Its author is stepping down from the Assembly and it failed to make the cut for the first legislative session of this year. But it's not dead yet. And there's enough anti-journalist animosity out there -- some of it coming from the Commander-in-Chief -- that it may be allowed to survive long enough to earn a veto… or a courtroom challenge.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, andy welch, free speech, georgia, journalism, journalism ethics board, licensing


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:44am

    Fish Rot from the Head

    This is the same state whose current governor, Brian Kemp, was the Secretary of State during the last gubernatorial election. The Secretary of State is in charge of the election...long story short, Kemp STOLE the election. Shit that brazen doesn't go unnoticed by other jackals in the neighborhood.

    Now that Kemp has created a perception of full-blown, no-holds-barred, political corruption, there is no attempted abuse that will surprise me coming from officials in any branch or level of Georgia's government.

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  • identicon
    John, 9 Apr 2019 @ 4:39am

    Can't be done...

    You can't regulate something that doesn't exist. There is no such thing as journalism any longer. It died the true death. There are only editorials and commentators who tried to hide their bias... or don't even bother any longer.

    Anyone who tells you differently is probably someone trying to pretend to be a journalist.

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    • identicon
      josey, 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:58am

      Re: Can'be done...

      ...American government officials have never been reluctant to regulate anything they felt like ,,, and we all know that regulation is generally a wonderful and endlessly beneficial tool of government.

      We closely regulate physicians, lawyers, and barbers... why are journalists so special?
      1st Amendment doesn't mention "journalists".

      (satire)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:15am

      Re: Can't be done...

      There is no such thing as journalism any longer. It died the true death.

      What? That's ridiculous. Can you state why you believe this? Because it seems alive and well to me.

      There are only editorials and commentators who tried to hide their bias... or don't even bother any longer.

      That isn't even remotely true. If you are talking about the "view from nowhere", that only applies to truly ambiguous issues where there is no right or wrong/true or false issue. But in everything else, there is only true or false, and it is a journalist's job to report the truth. If someone says the sky is red, they would be a poor journalist if they said "well, the sky could be red, or it could be blue, here are the views from both sides", his job is to look out the damn window and say "the sky is blue, you're an idiot".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:32am

        Re: Re: Can't be done...

        I guess that what he meant is that journalists don't report about the sky anymore, unless they are paid so by their owners.

        And only to tell you about the colour their owners wants them to tell, plus how good is the new <brand> and that you should buy it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 4:59am

    Start regulating Georgia government first

    How about we start an ethics board for the state of GA and its legislators instead of going after a constitutionally protected group by breaking the constitution to do it?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 6:31am

      Re: Start regulating Georgia government first

      Georgia spokesman:

      No need. it is clear the GA representatives are of the best and brightest minds in the entire state.
      They have a perfect understanding of both state and federal constitutional law.
      If they make a change to a law, even a constitutional one, it is after serious consideration of all angles. Like the founders themselves accomplished more than two and a half centuries ago, our Georgia representatives think on only the future of the entire nation, not just themselves. They consider deeply the implications of their decisions. So if they decide a certain constitutional amendment needs to be changed, know that they are only doing so because it must be done or disaster, anarchy, and the ruination of our entire republic will prevail.
      They never abuse power.
      They never commit theft, adultery, or anything that may even hint at a moral failing.
      They are perfect in any way, so any addition of an ethics board would not only go against the will of the people who elected into office these perfect men, the government ethics board would add an undue burden onto the representative to meet the ruinous demands of these unelected officials.
      Even the hint of an ethics charge will permanently sully the reputation of these perfect gentlemen beyond all hope of repair. The only people who would run for office would be criminals, the poor, and the minorities - those who do not fear the devastating whip of a possible ethics question. No good Georgia citizen should want one of those moraless heathens running this great state.

      If, in the extremely rare case that a representative does pose a problem, it is a self-correcting issue both in a firm condemnation from their fellow representatives (all gentlemen will respond promptly to a sternly worded letter from their equal) and at the next election cycle when the good voters of our great state will vote in an even better person.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:05am

    Online blogs are NOT "journalism" outlets. Their unprofessional nature is coming back to bite them bigtime.

    REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views, don't include cursing, and don't let people in their comments sections use bigoted slurs.

    This law is not unconstitutional. There will still be freedom of the press in Georgia even after this passes (though it probably won't). The journalistic shield is not a constitutional right, but a privilege some states offer, and have every right to regulate.

    If Masnick wants to be taken seriously as a journalist he should act like a serious one rather than some eighth-grader throwing a temper tantrum.

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    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:18am

      An off-topic question for John Doe

      Elsewhere you've said that said that if Section 230 wasn't around that it would cost certain lawyers a lot of money. Could you explain what you mean by that?

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    • identicon
      Rocky, 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:32am

      Re:

      Did you just say that the 1st amendment doesn't cover journalists? Because if the proposed law isn't unconstitutional then there is no 1st amendment.

      Ever heard of Prior Restraint ? Also, case-law defines press as every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.

      Perhaps you should understand the constitution and the law before start yapping ill informed nonsense.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:49am

      Re:

      "REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views"

      I'd agree with you there, but not for the reasons you wish.

      "There will still be freedom of the press in Georgia even after this passes "

      There's freedom - so long as you agree with who should be free to report on things. That attitude will come back to bite you. Although, you'd probably be too dumb to realise that you demanded that the people you agree with be silenced.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 6:03am

      Re:

      "Online blogs are NOT "journalism" outlets."
      Old man yells at cloud.

      Anyone with a camera can be considered a journalist. So many stories have been introduced by an average person taking video at the right moment.

      The fact people like you feel only a select few can tell the news shows how out of touch you are with how human communication.

      Go back to school and remove your retardation.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re:

        retardation

        Dude. Not okay.

        Developmental disability is almost always something you're born with, and stigmatization of something that you cannot control, much less "go back to school" to remove, is an asshole move.

        I have no problem with people excoriating the willfully ignorant, but using words like "retarded" or "retardation" only serves to conflate those who were born a little different with those who choose to ignore basic facts so that they feel free to continue living their lives as assholes. It's a comparison which only serves to unfairly demonize the former, and to excuse the evils of the latter.

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        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:06am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Get over yourself. Are you going to get upset now if I call you a bitch? Am I demonizing bitches?

          Snowflake.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:27am

            Thank you for showing us another example of that one headline that sums up people like you:

            The Cruelty is the Point

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:44am

              Re:

              I'm not about cruelty. I'm just fed up with hypersensitivity and hyper-extended political correctness. If you can't handle someone's legal speech then remove yourself from it. It's not their responsibility to tailor their speech to your liking.

              Taking up arms over the use of the word "retard" as an insult is no different than doing so over someone calling you an eczema sufferer or "baldie". They may be playground insults but the playground is also where you learn about "sticks and stones". The easily offended need to find a productive hobby instead of trying to coerce others to fit their preferences.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:17am

                Taking up arms over the use of the word "retard" as an insult is no different than doing so over someone calling you an eczema sufferer or "baldie".

                I know. My conscience bothered me about this at first, too.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 1:30pm

                Re: Re:

                Bless your heart.

                You go and revel in your cruelty. See how far that gets you in life. Meanwhile, I will be here respecting the differences of others and continuing to move on with the world.
                I promise not to smirk too broadly when the rest of the world has left you behind.

                Hey! At least you will have the Alt-right assholes to yell insults at!

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 2:10pm

                Re: Re:

                Where, pray tell, have I resorted to coercion? There are no threats in my comment. I don't know who you are, so I have no way of exerting pressure on you even if I cared to. If you think an attempt to appeal to your better nature is coercion, then I pity anyone who tries to convince you of anything.

                Anyway, my goal is not to tailor anyone's speech to my liking. I am just in favour of people thinking about the implications of their speech before casually throwing terminology that they haven't the wit to understand the history of.

                Besides, the noble art of a delivering well-turned insult has suffered so much in recent times. It grieves me so to see that people lack the imagination and vocabulary to do better than "retarded" or "baldie."

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re:

                  Your post was an attempt to convince the prior poster to avoid using the word "retard" as an insult. By definition that is an attempt to change their behavior to suit you. Perhaps "coerce" is too strong a word but the point stands.

                  It is not the rest of the world's responsibility to prevent you being offended.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:23pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Reading comprehension is very important in the real world. One day you may want to practice it.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:34pm

                    The funny thing is, you have proven yourself more offended by someone’s request to use personally considerate language than they were about the use of the word they asked you not to use.

                    Also: Nobody gets angrier about other people failing to use their specific cultural language, and nobody insists with more anger that specific political language must be used, than so-called “anti-PC” people. These inconsiderate people believe even the slightest cultural pressure to use speech designed to include other people is oppressive censorship — and nothing makes an inconsiderate person more uncomfortable than someone else being considerate. Often, as a defense of their actions, they will describe their desired inconsiderate behavior as a virtue…

                    I'm just fed up with hypersensitivity and hyper-extended political correctness.

                    …so they can continue to be inconsiderate, regardless of the reason why, and feel superior to the considerate. If what I say here bothers you, too bad. To paraphrase your own words: Tailoring my speech to your liking is not my responsibility.

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                    • icon
                      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 5:23am

                      Re: words, words, words

                      The funny thing is, you have proven yourself more offended by someone’s request to use personally considerate language than they were about the use of the word they asked you not to use.

                      There is merit in both sides of the argument, chaps. First of all, we all have to live together. It's reasonable, therefore, to request people to be polite. However, being made to feel like the scum of the earth for failing to use the most up-to-date terms dreamed up in the world of ever-moving goalposts that is PC, I can sympathise with the other guy.

                      Also: Nobody gets angrier about other people failing to use their specific cultural language, and nobody insists with more anger that specific political language must be used, than so-called “anti-PC” people. These inconsiderate people believe even the slightest cultural pressure to use speech designed to include other people is oppressive censorship — and nothing makes an inconsiderate person more uncomfortable than someone else being considerate. Often, as a defense of their actions, they will describe their desired inconsiderate behavior as a virtue…

                      I'm reminded of the father of a child who is white while his missus is an African-American. At the school gate he described his daughter as "mixed race."

                      "Dual heritage," came the frosty reply.

                      It's the over-weening self-righteousness that annoys me. "I prefer the term..." is better than "Use this term, you insensitive jerk."

                      I'm just fed up with hypersensitivity and hyper-extended political correctness.

                      MeToo

                      …so they can continue to be inconsiderate, regardless of the reason why, and feel superior to the considerate. If what I say here bothers you, too bad. To paraphrase your own words: Tailoring my speech to your liking is not my responsibility.

                      While there is a right to be a jerk per the First Amendment, there's no responsibility to be one. We all have to live together. Let's be nicer to each other, okay? This request applies to those of us on both sides of the argument.

                      FYI I'm perfectly capable of being respectful to others without being obliged to keep up with the latest PC news. My go-to when I'm not sure is to ask the person concerned how they'd like to be described. Minefield avoided.

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                      • icon
                        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:11am

                        being made to feel like the scum of the earth for failing to use the most up-to-date terms dreamed up in the world of ever-moving goalposts that is PC

                        I can agree that, in rare instances, personally considerate language can be pushed too far. But for the most part, the idea is basically no different than asking someone to call you by a specific preferred name or nickname: All you are asking them to do is be considerate towards you.

                        It's the over-weening self-righteousness that annoys me.

                        Inconsiderate people are equally as self-righteous about their behavior. Their anger, however, stems from laziness — they do not want to put in any work into being considerate to others, even if they are not trying to be intentionally malicious.

                        Again: I can agree self-righteous bullshit can go too far, but the proper response is not self-righteous bullshit from the opposite direction (e.g., “I’m not ‘politically correct’ and I’ll say whatever the fuck I want”). A better response would be to ask for an explanation for their preferred language and listen to it, then decide whether you agree with their reasoning and tell them as much. If you prefer a term that is seemingly inoffensive¹, say that you prefer to use that term and let the other person use theirs, so long as you both understand what each other means.

                        My go-to when I'm not sure is to ask the person concerned how they'd like to be described.

                        Which is essentially why that poster a few comments up asked someone not to use the word “retard” to describe developmentally/intellectually disabled people: Such people, and their advocates, often consider it a dehumanizing slur. (To wit: No one says “retarded person”.) It isn’t about trying to force niceness upon people — the commenter did not make any demands or outright threats vis-á-vis someone else’s usage of the word — but it is about trying to help people learn how to be more personally considerate of people who are routinely marginalized in society.

                        ¹ — In re: the “mixed race”/“dual heritage” example: I kinda prefer the second term now that I know about it, but I do not consider the first term to be “offensive”. Then again, I am White and something of a social outcast, so I may be behind the curve in that regard.

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:46am

                        Re: Re: words, words, words

                        However, being made to feel like the scum of the earth for failing to use the most up-to-date terms dreamed up in the world of ever-moving goalposts that is PC, I can sympathise with the other guy.

                        If I came across this way in my original post discouraging use of the word "retardation," I apologize. I was striving for an respectful, informative tone in that comment, and, if I failed to achieve that, I would appreciate being told where I did so, for the purpose of self-improvement.

                        I will not, however, apologize for switching to a more confrontational tone in some of my other comments, where I was responding to having been insulted.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:56pm

                    Re: How shocking

                    And the only snowflake in the room is the little bitch offended because people asked him politely to not be an asshole.

                    “It is not the rest of the world's responsibility to prevent you being offended.”

                    Take your own advise you little twat.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 1:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Get over yourself. Are you going to get upset now if I call you a bitch? Am I demonizing bitches?

            Snowflake.

            It might just be an accurate descriptor. After all, on the internet, no one knows if you're a dog.

            As for being a "snowflake," one of us has reacted to a post that they disagreed with, with a calm, respectful, reasonable argument as to why that behaviour was unacceptable, and the other has reacted with a temper-tantrum. I leave the decision of who has truly "melted" under the pressure of mere words to the community-at-large.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:10pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Unacceptable to you. You don't have to accept it. You could move on to the next post. But you were so offended you felt the need to respond as if to make that person feel bad and not engage in "unacceptable" behavior in the future. Our methods of delivery are irrelevant to the point. You are a snowflake and nobody is obligated to prevent bruising your feels.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:55pm

                Yeah, see, here’s the thing about language: The words you use, a.k.a. the “methods of delivery”, are precisely the point. As society moves forward — and it always moves forward, regardless of whether you like that fact — it examines the words used therein. When society deems certain words to be “vile” or “hurtful”, the personally considerate will stop using them and will ask others to do the same. The inconsiderate are under no obligation to listen, but they will eventually face the consequences for their unnecessary choice of language.

                Nobody needs to say offensive things for the sake of being offensive; doing that is both tiresome to others and a marker of laziness on behalf of the speaker. You may or may not employ inconsiderate language when talking about other groups of people — of that, I cannot be certain. But your posts display the arrogance of inconsiderate behavior:

                I'm just fed up with hypersensitivity and hyper-extended political correctness.

                The easily offended need to find a productive hobby[.]

                It is not the rest of the world's responsibility to prevent you being offended.

                You are a snowflake and nobody is obligated to prevent bruising your feels.

                You believe that being inconsiderate, being offensive, being “un-PC”, is your right and anyone who tells you that you come off as an asshole is a “offended little snowflake”. But the thing is, someone asking another person to be a little more personally considerate with their language set you off on a tangent of whining and complaining — which makes me believe you are the real “snowflake”. And if you don’t like me saying that, too bad; I am not obligated to take your feelings into consideration.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Pay attention. Words have context within the sentence.

                I could have said that I consider use of the word unacceptable, and then you'd be right. Instead, I said that I made an argument that the word was unacceptable, and an argument has wider applicability than my own preferences.

                If you think that my argument is fallacious, you could make any number of counter-arguments. Just off the top of my head: that the word "retarded" has been genericized to the point that no one actually remembers what it was originally used for (like the eugenicist terms "idiot," "moron," etc.); that the list of "unacceptable" terms has grown so long that no one can keep track of it; that being developmentally disabled is something worth being mocked for; that it's not, but the side-effect of those people being mocked is worth the use of the insult against the willfully ignorant or people who do stupid things.

                I could then argue against the point you made. So, respectively: the context in which the word is use shows that the word has clearly retained enough of its original meaning to remain offensive against the developmentally disabled; the fact that you can't achieve perfection doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for improvement; shame and mockery are useful tactics to use to promote change, but using them against someone who can't change how they are is a dick move; "the ends justify the means" might be a useful way to excuse small evils committed for a great and good cause, but that's hardly the case when the "ends" are something so petty as an off-handed insult towards someone who you think is behaving stupidly.

                You're not making a counter-argument, though; you're just impotently sneering at my argument. Since your post is bereft of any logic brought against my arguments beyond "shut up, snowflake," I, again, have to note that it's pretty obvious who is doing the melting here.

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      • icon
        Bamboo Harvester (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Anyone with a camera can be considered a journalist

        Every College and University the world over which offers Degrees in Journalism would disagree with you, as would everyone holding such a Degree and working in that field.

        How about anyone with a pencil? A tape recorder? A burnt stick to draw pictures on the cave wall with?

        "The fact people like you feel only a select few can tell the news shows how out of touch you are with how human communication."

        Nice diversion. The question was JOURNALIST. Not anyone with a means of recording an event. And those "recorders" tend to be called "Reporters", not "Journalists".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 5:22pm

        Re: Re:

        A great philosopher once said, "Did you go to school stupid or just come out that way"

        iStephen, please tell us how YOU interpret this comment

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:10am

      Re:

      Online blogs are NOT "journalism" outlets

      Why not? The law says they are. There is no rule or law that says online blogs can't be journalism outlets.

      Their unprofessional nature is coming back to bite them bigtime.

      Journalism is not required to be "professional" or look or read a certain way. It simply has to report news.

      REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views

      I would agree but that has absolutely no bearing on whether online blogs do or do not. Fox News REGULARLY slants their stories to their personal views, facts to the contrary be damned.

      don't include cursing

      Well, they do, actually. Regularly.

      and don't let people in their comments sections use bigoted slurs.

      Have you seen the Fox News comments sections? Or any major news outlets that still allow commenting? It's WAY worse than here on TD. Aside from you of course.

      This law is not unconstitutional.

      What part of "Congress shall make no law.......abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;" do you not understand?

      There will still be freedom of the press in Georgia even after this passes (though it probably won't).

      I should hope it wouldn't but this is absolutely a restriction/abridgement of freedom of the press. How you can't understand that is beyond me.

      The journalistic shield is not a constitutional right

      Yes, it is. It's right there in the First Amendment:
      "Congress shall make no law.......abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"

      I can only assume you've never read the Constitution.

      a privilege some states offer, and have every right to regulate.

      How many times do I have to post this:

      "Congress shall make no law.......abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;"

      If Masnick wants to be taken seriously as a journalist he should act like a serious one rather than some eighth-grader throwing a temper tantrum.

      Again, there is no rule or law that says who can or cannot be a journalist, or what type of writing, style, format, or anything else qualifying someone as a serious journalist.

      Hell, there's an eleven year old going around showing up so-called "professional" journalists. I believe TD covered it just recently.

      Anyone can be a journalist and the Constitution protects their right to do it in whatever format or style they want to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re:

        I would agree but that has absolutely no bearing on whether online blogs do or do not. Fox News REGULARLY slants their stories to their personal views, facts to the contrary be damned.

        I have to disagree with you here.

        They don't slant their stories to their personal views, but to the personal views of the person who owns Fox News.

        Or rather, to his financial views.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re:

          In addition ... Fox News is not journalism,
          as they admitted in court they do entertainment not news.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 12:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Source?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Rocky, 9 Apr 2019 @ 2:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That particular claim has popped up now and then, but it has no bearing on reality.

            There was a lawsuit in 2003 or 2004 involving Tampa Bay WTVT which somehow morphed into that Fox News had a battle in court for the "right to lie to viewers".

            Later some newspaper/site ran an April Fools joke that said Fox News would add the disclaimer "For Entertainment Purposes Only" to its news.

            Other than that, I somehow feel that the fake disclaimer is somewhat correct anyway. ¯\(ツ)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:21am

      Re:

      To paraphrase:

      REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views. Real journalists slant their stories to their personal views. The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. There was no war with Spain. We have never been at war with Spain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:29am

      REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views, don't include cursing, and don't let people in their comments sections use bigoted slurs.

      At least we know you’re not a “real” journalist.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:42am

      Re:

      If Masnick wants to be taken seriously as a journalist he should act like a serious one rather than some eighth-grader throwing a temper tantrum.

      Says the AC who just came into the comments section to throw a temper tantrum!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      REAL journalists don't slant their stories to their personal views

      Please, point out a story written by a "real journalist."

      I'll be happy to point out how it was slanted to the journalist's personal views.

      Consciously or not, every story written has a slant. A journalist will always have more facts available than will make it into the story and which facts make it into the story will always be subject to bias. A journalist will always have multiple choices of words or phrasing or verb tense that they can use to convey their information, and which phrasing they choose will always be subject to bias.

      There can be no unbiased stories, because there can be no unbiased journalists, because there can be no unbiased humans.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        Oh - you're just biased.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:17pm

        Re: Re:

        One thing is having a slant because you know, you're human. That's understandable.

        But got to say that "real journalists" nowadays don't have slants, no. They have black holes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        cattress (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:47am

        Re: Re:

        Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Yes, thank you!

        Bias can also be conveyed by placement, such as front page or buried 7 stories deep of the early morning broadcast.

        Can anyone even imagine how utterly boring the world would be if we tried to strip the humanity- as in the bias- from all journalism? We'd be left with bland encyclopedia like charts of facts, and there would be no such thing as photo journalism.

        I don't know why people cry about bias in news reporting and journalism in this day and age. Don't think your getting a well rounded perspective, then break your bubble and read or watch stories from different ideological perspectives, even ones you reflexively feel have nothing to offer. It won't hurt to challenge yourself to see things from an opposing viewpoint, weigh the merits of what drives their narrative; doesn't mean you agree, but it may help you build empathy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Don't think your getting a well rounded perspective, then break your bubble and read or watch stories from different ideological perspectives"

          The problem isn't the people who understand that, it's the people who don't.

          I'm perfectly capable of getting a full view of any story and don't mind looking at . But the dickhead who only gets their news from Fox or the Daily Mail has the same vote as me when they buy into one-sided propaganda. I've had plenty of arguments, for example, with Brexit voters who quote back stories at that I've known were lies 10 years ago, but they use as proof that their vote was the correct one.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            cattress (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 2:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You have a point. But do you think any of these people are willing or interested in changing their views? I mean, their holding onto 10 year old debunked lies, something tells me that if Fox casually added liberal, left leaning pundits into the lineup until they equalled about 1/2, getting equal prime time shows, these people would watch 1/2 as much Fox. And frequently these are the people complaining about biased news.
            I know the Russians have and continue to sow discord through social media. But I doubt that they actually changed anyone's vote because people are always looking to confirm their bias. I try to shake up my own bias on occasion by reading something ultra conservative, or watching Lou Dobbs after Kennedy but I can't stand more than a few minutes. Even Kennedy is losing me lately. Most news I consume comes from a variety sources, though it probably leans more liberal.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 12:50pm

      Re: Jhon king of projection strikes again

      “rather than some eighth-grader throwing a temper tantrum.”

      He said, throwing his daily shit fit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 6:57am

    everything that is happening everywhere is designed to stop the public from being able to find, read and spread that info when it is in relation to the rich, the famous and the powerful, regardless of whether those people are in the entertainment industries or in politics or 100 other professions! and every government and court, as the members are part and parcel of the same group of people, are doing whatever possible to aid in this stamping out of freedoms in order to protect said people! the whole planet is being taken over by the very powerful people who have always been able to do as they please, say what they want and get away with it. now it is part of everyday life to discover and spread exactly what they are up to, they are killing every law and right to protect only them but screw only us! welcome to a planet run on slavery!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BeeFre, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:35am

    Press = Mass Communication

    ... the word "Press" in 1st Amedment does not narrowly refer to just newspapers or journalists -- it is a general term for "mass communication".

    "Press" obviously refers to the "printing-press" -- that was the only form of mass communication known to the world in the 18th Century. Newspapers were common, but so was the printing of private pamphlets throughout the Colonies by individuals & groups to communicate their views.

    If the 1st Amendment were updated with modern language, that archaic term "Press" word would be delted and replaced with "mass communication".

    Thus, correct understanding of 1st Amendment today would prohibit Congress/FCC/States from any restrictions on radio/TV/movies/internet/etc.

    !st Amendment guarantees all Americans a Right to communicate freely... not just some imagined special class of "journalists".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:43am

      If the 1st Amendment were updated with modern language, that archaic term "Press" word would be del[e]ted and replaced with "mass communication".

      “Mass communication” is a rather vague term; more concrete language would be preferable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:51am

      Re: Press = Mass Communication

      You definitely do not want to recoin "press" as "mass communication" because any politician with half a brain will immediately say that only the people with the biggest voices should be protected by it. That because a local newspaper is a regional player, it is not "mass" and thus not protected.

      All yours does is the equivalent of ATM machine. "or abridging the freedom of speech" covers everyone else. My understanding is that they specifically carved out press as a named protected class because of idiots like the ones in the Georgia legislature and Mr. Nunes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:09am

      Re: Press = Mass Communication

      I think 'press' is just fine, but we might add something along the lines of 'irregardless of technology' and 'Making no law includes trying to define 'press'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:09am

        Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

        <peeve>irregardless is not a word</peeve>

        "irrespective" or "regardless", yes. But there is no such word as "irregardless". If there was, if you parse the word, it would mean "not without regard", or "regardful", not the meaning you were aiming for.

        The More You Know _,.--= #

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

          Witionary gives an definiation for irregardless, so you are wrong, what a surprise!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

            From your own citation:

            Although well attested, this word is widely regarded as nonstandard and incorrect. Its use is discouraged by many speakers, who consider it inappropriate in virtually any formal setting.[1][4]

            So yeah. You're wrong. Shocking!

            Also: Wiktionary, a and definition*.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

            "Witionary gives an definiation for irregardless"

            I'm not sure what's more impressive - the fact that your source contradicts you or the fact that in your "argument" about language you managed to misspell half the words used.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 12:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

          Yes it is. Tough shit if you don’t like it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 3:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Press = Mass Communication

            No it isn't. Suck it up.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 4:01pm

              Re: Shits tough all over bro

              https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irregardless#usage-1

              “Is irregardless a word?: Usage Guide
              Irregardless was popularized in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its increasingly widespread spoken use called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.”

              Poor poor pitiful snowflake.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 6:19am

                Re: Re: Shits tough all over bro

                From your quote (emphasis mine):

                Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 8:08pm

                  Re: Emphasis on the bitch

                  “The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however.”

                  Still a word, you’re still a little bitch, however.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2019 @ 6:18am

                    Re: Re: Emphasis on the bitch

                    I'm not the original poster, but congratulations on being a jerk no matter who you're replying to.

                    I never claimed it wasn't a word. I was merely pointing out that despite it being recognized as a word, it's not considered proper English and shouldn't be used.

                    Shove off.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2019 @ 5:00pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Emphasis on the bitch

                      And no one asked for your opinion so don’t be surprised when no one appreciates you butting in to say something I already pointed out and. Hence why I don’t just cut the quote off at the salient point.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:45am

              Re: Pucker up buttercup

              Hey bro stop being a little bitch and man up and admit you’re wrong. It’s not like you’d talk a bunch of shit and run away like a triggered little snowflake would you?

              Yeah. I thought so.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:35am

      Re: Press = Mass Communication

      A better term than mass communication, is freedom of publication, as in making available to the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:41am

    "He said he thinks the profession could benefit by setting ethical standards for all journalists to follow."

    And it follows that politicians could also benefit by setting ethical standards for them to follow. However, they must first understand what the word ethics means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:34am

    Wow, a group with zero ethical behavior thinks it can dictate ethical behavior.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:48am

    In today's digital age, it's hard to draw a line that properly separates a journalist from a non-journalist in the eyes of the law. However the most realistic "definition" might be whether that person is protected by the law (and by those who enforce it) or a victim of it.

    And because these kinds of bad things never seems to happen to CNN camera crews, then they must be real journalists, at least in the eyes the police.

    https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2019/04/man-filming-patriot-prayer-rally-acquitted-of-disobeying-f ederal-officers-order.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:51am

    Hate to say it, but...

    ...he's got a point.

    If you want to pass laws "protecting" a special group, you've got to legally define that group.

    What's a "journalist" in the eyes of the Law? I've asked before, and never gotten an answer. Someone in this chain of comments says it's anyone with a cellphone.

    If we adopt the Elbonian Shield Law, it has to say what legally constitutes an Elbonian. Someone from the mythical land of Elbonia? Someone from any mythical land, of which Elbonia was just an example? Anyone with an elbow? Only people with TWO elbows?

    If a "journalist" doesn't have to reveal sources, if I'm called on to reveal my sources, can I pull out a cellphone and claim "journalistic privilege"?

    IMO, the simplest "proof" would be your prior year's tax returns. If under Profession: you've listed "Journalist", good 'nuff. If you've listed ANYTHING else, no, you're not a journalist, you're a busybody with a cell phone...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:31am

      Re: Hate to say it, but...

      Why do journalists need protection?
      From what? .. divulging sources? Some protection they've got there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 11:00am

    That thing where I suggest Judges get removed when they make rulings that run afoul of the Constitution, perhaps it is time to automatically remove them from office when they suggest stupid shit like this.

    He made me mad because he dared question me, so lets shred the Constitution so my feelings aren;t hurt & we put the fear of god into anyone who would ever dare question us.

    Imagine how much less stupid grandstanding and waste of public resources we'd have happening by not having to defend the stupid shit they pull.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AlexisR200, 9 Apr 2019 @ 12:03pm

    Irony alert!

    So basically he wants to submit journalists to ethical standards he himself can't even hope to measure up to then? Good luck with that. All he will just get if this survives court challenge is angry journalists asking more blunt questions while pointing to the very ethics standard he created as a measuring stick when he invariably screws up. They alway do...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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