Re: This is why I'm not a Republican
posted at 6/6/2013 12:30 PM EDT
In response to WhatDoYouWantNow's comment:
In response to DamainAllen's comment:
Not to defend Lindsey Graham, but I wonder if his comment is more about media shield laws than general first amendment rights, which obviously, all citizens enjoy. It appears he was responding to a question directly related to media shield laws so I am guessing he simply misspoke.
Possibly, but if so it's still a pretty big blunder. Isn't the idea behind media shield laws to grant protection from prosecution for passing on something a confidential source revealed (but shouldn't have)?
His language is pretty broad - "Is any blogger saying anything..."
ie, "saying" instead of "revealing secrets", etc.
I'm not going to edit the above, but I just went and read through the article. It seems he repeats the statements - as if he genuinely doesn't understand the difference between the first amendment protections and legisltation to protect people who report on secrets, nor does he understand what determines the scope of a first amendment right:
"You can sit in your mother's basement and chat away, I don't care. But when you start talking about classified prorams, that's when it gets to be important," he said during a Free Times interview. "So, if classified information is leaked out on a personal website or [by] some blogger, do they have the same First Amendment rights as somebody who gets paid [in] traditional journalism."
Status of the speaker simply does not determine the scope of one's speech rights. The content of the speech does, but ONLY in very limited 'clear and present danger' type circumstnaces. Time and place may also determine the scope of the rights - but that area of law has to do with things like marches in public streets, etc.
I think the issue he is speaking to, though it isn't clear from his comments, is that the federal government doesn't have a media shield law, therefore "reporter" is not defined anywhere. I don't think it is appropriate that anyone with internet access and a blog should be able to claim media shield protection if they are sitting on information that could break a criminal investigation because I would liken that a witness to a crime not divulging what they saw and having to be compelled to do so. So I think his confusion, and I am giving him the benefit of doubt here, is without a federal definition for reporter and news agency, etc, the distinction between average blogger and actual professional journalist isn't very clear and that ambiguity should be addressed especially since Obama has asked congress to revive a bill meant to implement a federal media shield law.