Monday, October 19, 2009
This essay on the First Amendment and freedom of the press is on target. There isn't and shouldn't be a special class of journalists protected apart from the rest of us who are not. That the government is moving in this direction is unfortunate and probably unconstitutional. It is a matter to which the courts will be drawn sooner rather than later. While the FTC's rules on revealing whether one has received consideration for items discussed in blogs are welcome, they should apply to everyone in every instance. Transparency rules are not only for novice journalists. The internet has made journalists of us all. It is true that most of us don't yet understand the need for transparency but neither did early newspaper writers of the 18th and 19th Century who were covered by the First Amendment. We have entered a new world, and it takes time to understand how to operate in it. Government should be patient until the public understands differences between good and bad journalism.