Republican Senator Not Entirely Sure That Bloggers Have 1st Amendment Rights
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham isn’t so sure that bloggers have a constitutional right to just say anything they want. I mean, what do they think this is, a free country?
Speaking to reporters, the South Carolina senator asked rhetorically, “Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves?” the Free Times out of Columbia reported.
“Is any blogger out there saying anything — do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”
I’m not sure what point Senator Graham is trying to make. The first amendment does make two separate statements about protected speech. “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
Is Graham arguing that the freedom of the press is somehow an idea distinct from the freedom of speech in general? More to the point, do journalists have more rights when it comes to communicating then the average citizen?
Some journalists seem to think so – the media industry can be as protectionist as any other – but when any citizen can reach a potential audience in the millions with a tweet or a blog posting or a YouTube video, who is and is not a journalist these days?
Anyone can be a journalist, whether it’s a citizen posting videos from his/her town council meetings or a Pulitzer Prize winner working for the New York Times. Some of the “citizen journalists” these days aren’t very good. But then, many of the mainstream journalists aren’t very good either.
So where would Senator Graham like to draw the line? That he wants to draw a line at all is a little scary.