With new "news media" guidelines, White House ever-closer to instituting an Official Press

Emptywheel nails what’s so concerning about the new “news media” guidelines released late Friday by US Attorney General Eric Holder: The First Amendment was written, in part, to eliminate the kind of official press that parrots only the King’s sanctioned views. But with its revised “News Media Policies,” DOJ gets us closer to having just… READ THE REST

I am so glad I voted for a constitutional scholar.


More and more draconian and frightening as they go along…

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Given the choice between state-run media and a media-run corporate state, I’d rather

You know, I’ve completely lost track of what’s going on with this country. I feel like that’s been deliberately arranged.


This would seem to be part-and-parcel with any attempt to create a media shield policy or law. You can’t provide a special immunity to the press without defining who the press is.

Ordinary citizen do not have immunity from searches when the government obtains a valid warrant. If my business, though no fault of my own, comes into contact with a criminal, the government can get a warrant to obtain information that would help them convict the criminal.

What shield policies and laws do is exempt the press from being searchable under the same circumstances as an ordinary citizen. Exempting the press may be justifiable but it still requires defining who qualifies for the exemption.


official press like CHINA or RUSSIA does it right ?
that’s what I’m gathering here ?

This government doesn’t give a damn about the constitution. Bush/Chaney broke the spine of the constitution and the rule of law and Obama/Biden continued the law breaking every more energy. They are spying on us all. What made you think that they would uphold the 1st amendment after the 4th was voided.

I have absolutely no confidence in this government at all.


It does highlight an interesting dilemma. I know that I think citizen journalism is legitimate, and one shouldn’t have to be employed at an ‘approved journalism institution’ in order to be protected from search etc.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to see actual criminals able to protect all their secrets by opening a Blogspot account or sending out the occasional tweet. And it is not easy to see the line between journalism and other forms of writing.

Sadly, I don’t think that is of interest to current authorities. They seem to be more interested in protecting those who make them look good, and criminalizing or at least weakening those who make them look bad.

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So as far as I can tell from the article, there’s corporate- or size-based discrimination, but mostly not content-based discrimination. Which is to say, if BoingBoing said they thought the government was peachy-keen, they still wouldn’t be journalists in the eyes of the DOJ, they’re “mere” bloggers. But if the NYTimes published a policy critique embarassing to the government, they would still be journalists in the eyes of the DOJ, and still merit journalistic protection.

Content-based exemptions to protection from search arise when the content in question is secret government information whose disclosure is not authorized.

So, yes, this is troubling, it ratifies the special status of corporate media, who are famously spineless in protecting their access, and there’s obvious potential for abuse in the “unauthorized disclosure” provision – the government can make all journalism a crime by classifying mundane policy discussions. (Remember Dick Cheney’s secret energy policy team?)

But it’s not (yet) communist-style content controls.

It reminds me of the balance-striking problems with campaign-finance – at what point does policy advocacy become partisan campaigning, or even lobbying? If you have campaign-finance regulations, where do they stop? Similarly, once you define journalism, when do you stop?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

It all seems pretty straightforward to me.

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