Protecting Bloggers And Citizen Journalists

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Who is a journalist?

If a person with an iPhone captures a picture of Congressman in a bad situation is he a journalist? Should he be given the protection a journalist receives?

If a person digs up corruption between a major Democrat donor and the White House and posts it on some obscure blog, should he receive the protection a journalist receives?

If a journalist has his own blog and opines about the news or entertainment of the day but isn’t writing for an “official” news outlet, should he receive the protection a journalist receives?

Right now, bloggers are exposed. If a big corporation, a rich/important individual, the government or someone in power wants to harass a blogger, he simply has to sue them into compliance. Even if the powerful has no case, the lawsuit itself can put an independent journalist out of business.

Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center, an organization promoting alternate news channels, says this:

This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.

Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.

With the Internet increasingly serving as the dominant source of information, a national debate has been taking place asking the question, who is a journalist? Legal scholars, journalism academics and First Amendment advocates all have their opinions and as expected, there is little agreement.

But why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?

This case disturbs me as a blogger. I’ve had sources feed me stories–nearly every blogger has sources. There should be shield law protection. Period.

Bloggers, journalists, and all citizens need to join to push Congress and the courts to recognize a citizen’s right to report and be protected when he does. Sign up here.

Maggie Thurber reports more on the citizen journalist front. As the internet becomes the only place people find and consume their news, protecting journalists, and by extension their sources and livelihoods is essential.

Congress’ Health Care Oversight May Hurt Their Own Coverage?

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Has a group ever more richly deserved this irony? From NRO:

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members. For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available. The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?

Does indeed beg the question.

This health care bill is going to be a noose around the necks of Democrats.

Legislators Legislate. It’s What They Do.

Friday, March 26th, 2010

When I send a patient for a surgical consult, I expect a surgical answer. A surgeon does surgery. It’s what they do. They cut and fix and see the world through the lens of a scalpel. It’s not right or wrong. It just is. You don’t go to a surgeon to sue a business partner or balance your books or invest your money. You don’t go to a surgeon to give you nutritional advice or to solve your relationship trouble. You go to a surgeon for surgery.

I bring up this analogy to explain Congress.

Legislators legislate. They make laws. Their constituents see problems that need solutions. Someone says, “There ought to be a law” and they make a law. Legislators legislate. It’s what they do.

In a sense, there is no “small government” Congressman because their whole purpose is to make laws. And laws, by definition, proscribe behavior. Making laws makes the government bigger and more power and more invasive in your life. This is why they are hated.

Laws, by definition, create lawbreakers. That is, until their is a law on the books, it’s not a crime to do fill-in-the-blank. Because America is drowning in laws, we’re also drowning in criminals. The government, if it were so motivated, has enough legal ammunition to put every American behind bars for something.

So when we hear Representative Paul Ryan praise a Democrat for good parts of the legislation, imagine a surgeon praising another surgeon for his “fine work”.

These guys love to make laws. They love the haggling. They love the collegiality. They love sparring. They LOVE the process. It’s fun to them. It’s like a game.

To some, it IS a game.

Who wins? Who loses? Who bested who? Who out-jousted Representative so-and-so on which morning show. It almost doesn’t matter what the law is about, really. It’s that it’s so damn cool to make a law. And even better, everyone has to do what I say. This is soooo awesome.

When talking to a surgeon friend of mine, he was lamenting the hours and the Medicaid fee reimbursement. I gloated about my free weekends, good hours and happy patients. He said,”But I get to cut.”

So for all the belly-aching you hear from Congressmen, they get to make laws. And laws make your life more constrained, more controlled and less yours. That’s the way it goes.

For fellow Americans expecting salvation from a certain party or group, keep in mind that in order to have the freedom and lack of invasive laws, Congressmen will have to work against their essential nature–making laws. Repealing laws is not a high priority with Congress, if you’ll notice.

Philosophically, they’re belief in the greatness of the individual and the force of that belief will have to outweigh their very human’s bent: to impose their will on someone else. Most of us don’t have the power bend others to our will. Congress has that power. And the power is heady stuff. That’s why there is so many big government Republicans. They wouldn’t be working in government if they didn’t think government was super fantastically great.

All legislators are not to be trusted. Their role is antithetical to freedom. It just is. That’s why there are checks and balances and separation of power, etc. That’s why there are elections.

With legislators spending all their time in Washington, D.C. (Nancy Pelosi loves it that way), they are distant from their constituents, their districts and their states. Their brains marinate in the D.C. power juice and they forget why they’re in DC. Or rather, their mission shifts to pleasing their party masters, big donors, lobbyists, etc. Those people pay the bills, after all.

The only solution is to stick on a Congress person like your life depends on it because these days, it actually does depend on it. And that’s the ultimate problem.

Eventually, the laws get more and more personal, until every aspect of your life is run by the guy who just received your vote.

Vote carefully.

Is Trying 9/11 Mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed The Dumbest Obama Idea Yet?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Trying the evil Sheikh in New York City under the American legal system is the dumbest idea ever in the history of dumb presidential legal ideas and that’s when compared to the biggest poop pile of dumb Obama ideas generally which are the worst in any American presidency ever.*

Trying KSM in NYC is the dumbest Obama idea ever:
Disagree free polls

If you disagree, please share an example of a dumber Obama idea.

*I keep wondering if perhaps that I might be being hyperbolic here. Maybe I should rewrite that obnoxious run-on sentence and couch a little. Maybe I should say,”It seems most unwise to bring a mastermind terrorist to New York City, home of the injustice, try to seek a fair trial, give him the right to explore all evidence against him, fund his defense by the taxpayers, etc. Most, problematic, that.” But no. It’s just plain dumb. Or insane.

Podcast: Dr. Palimisano: “The Public Option Is Not Dead”..And How Young Is Too Young? Kids & Technology

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Dr. Donald Palmisano, former President of the American Medical Association and Director of The Coalition To Protect Patients Rights joined me and discussed the Health Care legislation, the AMA’s support of it and much more. It is a must listen.

In the second half, I discuss kids and technology with my producer Mike Williams (who has two grown daughters) and Tabitha Hale who is from Generation Y. I just got my 10 year old a cell phone. Lots of people think that’s a very bad idea.


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When Melissa isn’t on the radio, you can find her at and on Twitter. Her username is MelissaTweets.

Andrew Breitbart “The Pulitzer Of Our Time”–Updated

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Andrew Breitbart promises a new story from “left field” not related to ACORN when talking to Michael Savage–coming this week:


Also, President Obama, former lawyer for ACORN, says that he’s not aware of ACORN activities. Michelle Malkin has the whole transcript and more, but here’s a snort-worthy snippet:

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the funding for ACORN?

OBAMA: You know, it’s — frankly, it’s not really something I’ve followed closely. I didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money.

This man is pathological. There is no reason to lie about the connection at this point. It only makes the story worse, for President Obama. Admit that an ACORN connection existed in the distant past and move on, but no, he has to tell untruths.


Oh, and don’t believe the lies about the MSM not knowing about ACORN. They knew. More.

Here is my story about the New York Times spiking the ACORN story right before the election from March 19 of this year.


Over in the Greenroom, Patrick Ishmael is doing some guessing. Is it Buffy Wicks?

Patterico wonders if the story is the NEA.

Ace sums up:

By the way, Breitbart did seem to have it mind to nail the media from the outset; this September 7th column tipped his hand, but no one I know of picked up on his hints.

He warned the media. They ignored the warning.

Kaus says of Breitbart, he ” didn’t realize he’d have the course of events all planned out like Hari Seldon in Foundation. … “. Well. Any less planning and it would get no attention. A random, accurate, insightful story doesn’t penetrate the mainstream media as we’ve all witnessed. They can’t even be bothered to report a well-documented VISUAL story where the evidence is obvious. Why would they note a story not gradually planned?

Best lefty comment found at Sadly No regarding the story:

possible criminal suspicions against Acorn


*ahem* though that sure as hell didn’t stop them in ‘92.

WHY. THE. FUCK. are we letting these shithead assclown morans run our politics? THEY LOST. They should find a dark corner somewhere and wank off to “Atlas Shrugged” and let the rest of us get on with business.

And I would suggest to the Left, that if President Obama is looking at appointing a Special Prosecutor for this, that there is indeed much more here and that the non-stop investigation will help obscure the truth not reveal it. Jammie Wearing Fool notes: “The left loved Patrick Fitzgerald when he went after Scooter Libby. It would be curious to see their reaction if he were to be the one probing ACORN.”

H/T Don Surber



Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

This video is so ridiculously funny, it should be a movie. But it’s real. Still, life is funny. And I’d be laughing harder if my taxes weren’t paying this woman’s salary.

More at The Anchoress.

Has Charlie Gibson reported on this yet? Ed Morrissey examines why not:

All that being said, the ACORN story is not just a Kanye West celebrity dust-up. It involves tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, and potentially billions in upcoming legislation. ACORN has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Democratic Party in the last election cycle and beyond, helping to organize in communities on behalf of Obama’s domestic policy agenda. It’s a story worthy of national coverage, and leaving it to the cable news outlets may explain why people don’t bother to tune into the broadcast networks any longer to get informed.

Let’s pose the question this way. If the Federalist Society, which got a heaping helping of demonization during the John Roberts and Samuel Alito confirmation hearings, started giving advice to prospective pimps and hookers on tax evasion and hiding child-prostitution rings, does anyone think that the Charlie Gibsons and the Papers of Record in the US would let that slide to the cable networks? Or would it headline their outlets, complete with a dissection of Federalist Society support for Republicans?

And now, Michelle Malkin reports that a group of robbers posed as Obama health care workers to gain entry to a home. They robbed, pistol-whipped and shot the people. Nice.

Have you heard about these stories? No? Hmmm….

Anyway, the video is classic. And the girl posing as a prostitute and the guy as pimp are like caricatures out of a movie. It’s so ridiculous, it’s crazy. I don’t know if the ACORN worker actually murdered her husband, but all this publicity can’t be good for ACORN.

The Anchoress is saying that Google and the Obama website has been scrubbed. This is probably the most concerning to me. The Google part. When the government has such cozy ties to a company that the company will do a political operative’s business, one wonders what they’ll do to work against a candidate they don’t like.

What a mess. A hot mess.


Ed Morrissey reports that the ex-husband is alive after all. He just wishes he was dead. [I made up the last part.]

Updated again:

Gateway Pundit has the Jon Stewart clip from last night making fun of the Media for not getting the story. But Jon is missing the point. The Media don’t WANT to get the story. They are HELPING the president anyway they can.

Blood Tests By Cops? No. Twitter By Surgeons? Yes.

Monday, September 14th, 2009

A tale of two technologies. I don’t care that blood draws by cops help stop drunk driving, I don’t want a cop near a needle, period. Too many things can go wrong.

What about surgeons giving updates from the surgery? Coolness. Doctors take turns, nurses help open and close, and in between a surgeon can update on progress. Since I’ve been in the waiting room too many times to note, I must say that the waiting…often hours…is just so stress inducing. Being told that the first phase is done and went well or there has been some trouble as the tumor was more invasive than expected, might or might not be welcome news, but the worst part is not knowing.

Barack Obama Speechifying Fail: Dan Riehl And John Hawkins Discuss The President’s Speech & The Republicans

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Was the President’s address a win? In the short term, just like Bill Clinton, yes. Did Bill Clinton get health care reform passed? Don’t think so. The speech, like most Obama soliloquies was rife with Strawmen. Neo Neocon knocks ’em down.

Do Americans want a mandate to get insurance? We’ll see.

Was Joe Wilson right calling the President a “liar” over illegal aliens will be covered? Yes he was. That is, illegal aliens will most certainly be covered under this plan. That wasn’t the only set of lies. There were many. And, surprise! The AP has a list.

So, the blogger round-table and I talk about all this and what it means. Will health care legislation pass? Prediction: Yes, but it will not be a law that anyone will likes and will make everything worse.


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Sarah Palin: Barack Obama’s Nemesis

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

The press alternately calls Sarah Palin stupid or irrelevant. However, both in political instinct and policy substance, it’s clear that she is neither.

Today, her Op-Ed appears in the Wall Street Journal. It’s good. Cogent, clear, and well-written. She’s got a ghost-writer, say lib operatives. Let’s hope! Does Barack Obama write all his own stuff? Surely, libs jest. His college thesis can’t even be found. Why would anyone quibble that Sarah Palin would have a ghost writer? Probably because she makes sense:

Instead of poll-driven “solutions,” let’s talk about real health-care reform: market-oriented, patient-centered, and result-driven. As the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon and others have argued, such policies include giving all individuals the same tax benefits received by those who get coverage through their employers; providing Medicare recipients with vouchers that allow them to purchase their own coverage; reforming tort laws to potentially save billions each year in wasteful spending; and changing costly state regulations to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Rather than another top-down government plan, let’s give Americans control over their own health care.

Democrats have never seriously considered such ideas, instead rushing through their own controversial proposals. After all, they don’t need Republicans to sign on: Democrats control the House, the Senate and the presidency. But if passed, the Democrats’ proposals will significantly alter a large sector of our economy. They will not improve our health care. They will not save us money. And, despite what the president says, they will not “provide more stability and security to every American.”

Liberals also object to the timing of the piece. Geoffery Dunn in Huffington Post says today, “Yes, the latter continues her unyielding obsession with Barack Obama by trying to upstage his healthcare address to the nation today…”

In politics, timing is everything. Sarah Palin knows good timing. The President gives his big address today. And the press is not likely to pay attention to the Republican rebuttal. And Republicans still seem loath to take the fight to the president en masse lest they appear to be “obstructionist”. Even trying to work across the aisle, Republican are labeled such, anyway. And it’s no matter, their votes won’t affect the outcome one way or another–super majorities and all that. But Sarah Palin can help fight rhetorically and the best time to fight is when the opposition is on the battlefield. Today, everyone is paying attention. Today is a good time to fight. Liberals just hate being out-maneuvered.

And then, there’s the actual substance of Palin’s opinion piece. She makes sense. She continues to give voice to the “sick and elderly” and their very real concerns with government run health care. She is not backing down. She continues to point out the obvious: it will increase the debt.

The real problem Democrats have with Sarah Palin is that she accepts the President’s challenges where others cower. She isn’t going away. And when she does argue the points, she times her arguments for impact.

Sarah Palin is Barack Obama’s nemesis. He needs one.