That paragon protector of civil liberties, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is at it again. This time she’s filed an amendment to a federal media shield law saying that only “real reporters” should be protected. How does she define a “real reporter”? TechDirt.com has the answer.
But onto the “who’s really a journalist” argument. Some elected officials feel the language in the bill isn’t specific enough. One in particular, Dianne Feinstein, repeated the stupid but inevitable phrase that always accompanies discussions related to shield laws:
Feinstein suggested that the definition comprise only journalists who make salaries, saying it should be applied just to “real reporters.”
This is nothing new for Feinstein, who’s (along with Sen. Dick Durbin) previously made the argument that acts of journalism can only be performed by major news agencies, cutting everyone else out of the protective loop. This is a protective move based partially on ignorance and partially on the reality that major news networks are easier to control, seeing as most aren’t willing to give up access to the Beltway by pissing off its residents.
Sadly, this sort of reactionary ignorance isn’t limited solely to government representatives. This same sort of statement has been made by published authors to demean the self-published and by old school journalists to demean bloggers, serial Tweeters and pretty much everyone not associated with a sinking masthead. Whenever someone assumes they’re capable of determining who is or isn’t a real whatever, they’re usually speaking from a position of privilege, one that can only be maintained as long as the status remains quo.
In Dianne’s world, only the beautiful people get constitutional protections.