The Animal Farm Nature of Free Speech and Free Press Laws Seen in Blogger Case

The lefty press is using “shield laws” to ply their trade, while using the courts to attack those who threaten protected interests.

Such is the conclusion one could draw from a recent Oregon ruling implying that “bloggers are not journalists.”

Why “journalists” are allowed to display their biases in the public sphere and bloggers are not is a bit of a mystery, and perhaps one we are not supposed to delve too far into.

But being the naughty little sheeple we are, we will do so nonetheless.

An excerpt from the article:

A federal judge in Oregon has ruled that a Montana woman sued for defamation was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally during a bankruptcy case, a decision with implications for bloggers around the country.

Crystal L. Cox, a blogger from Eureka, Mont., was sued for defamation by attorney Kevin Padrick when she posted online that he was a thug and a thief during the handling of bankruptcy proceedings by him and Obsidian Finance Group LLC.

U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez found last week that as a blogger, Cox was not a journalist and cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets.

Although media experts said Wednesday that the ruling would have little effect on the definition of journalism, it casts a shadow on those who work in nontraditional media since it highlights the lack of case law that could protect them and the fact that current state shield laws for journalists are not covering recent developments in online media.

“My advice to bloggers operating in the state of Oregon is lobby to get your shield law improved so bloggers are covered,” said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “But do not expect the shield law to provide you a defense in a libel case where you want to rely on an anonymous source for that information.”

Perhaps the judge forgot this law:

“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.”

That’s not vague at all, now is it? But like the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, they keep erasing laws from the wall and replacing them with new ones.

Finally, what we will have:

ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

Just as with political correctness, the presumption of guilt is always made of the conservative or those who threaten vested interests. The law is biased in favor of the left, just as with the mainstream media.

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3 thoughts on “The Animal Farm Nature of Free Speech and Free Press Laws Seen in Blogger Case

  1. I am new to blogging and have wondered about this type of case. On a couple of occasions I have thought about what I would do if someone brought a libel case against me or if that was even possible to do against a blog site. In my blog, I try to follow the same journalism rules/ethics that traditional journalists are held to (or at least they should be held to) but even in my short blogging career (months, not years) I can see where someone might misconstrue my words, level a libel charge and then I started to wonder how I would defend my position in court if I was forced to.

    so help a newbie out… I see this as a double edge sword. If bloggers are treated as journalists then shield laws would apply to them but this would also open them up to libel suits. If bloggers aren’t considered journalists then they can write whatever they want and no one can sue them but they can be required to reveal sources in court.

    I’d choose the former over the latter since anyone who writes lies on their website should be sued by the individual or group they defamed but this could open the door to frivolous suits against small web sites that don’t have the cash to fight a large client in court.

    What advice can you give to a blogger? Do you believe that bloggers should be treated as an equal to traditional journalists?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    1. First, I would know what constitutes “Fair Use.” Second, I would know about “malicious intent” and that the opposing party has to traditionally prove malice aforethought, or that the party knew it was lying. But the winds they are a changing. A number of Supreme Court cases out recently, including the removal of protections for satire, are eating into traditionally high standards to prove libel and slander. It’s a fluid situation, but I would read a few articles on the subject at e-media publications. Best, Kyle

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