Sen. Lindsey Graham Questions Whether Bloggers “Deserve First Amendment Protection”

Graham-080106-18270- 0035Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., shocked many yesterday when he went public to muse over the question of whether bloggers “deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.” Actually, it may be a question for Lindsey Graham but it is not a question of our time. Bloggers are clearly entitled to first amendment rights as are other citizens. Graham appears to be trying to raise the question of whether they are entitled to protections accorded journalists under a federal shield law.

Graham stood before reporters to pose the question: “Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves. Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”

Putting aside his confusion between general first amendment rights, including the right to free speech, and press protections, Graham appears to be clueless about the shift of the media toward Internet reporting and blogging. It is astonishing that he would question the status of bloggers who regularly cover the government and politics as journalists. Bloggers are now included in the White House press conferences and other media events. The White House regularly brings in bloggers with traditional media for meeting affecting the free press.

Congressional members have long been quietly hostile to the federal shield law, which is why virtually every state has passed it despite the lack of a federal law. These members have a love/hate relationship with the media. They need the media but resent the media.

In Graham’s defense, there has been a long discussion of how broad the definition of a journalist can become without losing any sense of definition or limits. Traditional media figures have been known to raise this question. However, Graham puts a more menacing spin on the question by questioning all bloggers and failing to distinguish between the federal shield law and already recognized first amendment rights of bloggers.


51 thoughts on “Sen. Lindsey Graham Questions Whether Bloggers “Deserve First Amendment Protection””

  1. Lindsay Graham, John McCain, Diane Feinstein….some of the most contemptible blowhard hypocrites in Congress. And perfect examples of why voters should NEVER NEVER vote for the same candidate in any election after their having served ONE term, no matter what. ever.

  2. I
    For Jefferson, the First Amendment was a priority. The Constitution eventually included the Bill of Rights and the history of the intent of the Constitution and freedom of the press may need a review in the Senate today. It would be wise to remember that pamphleteers like Thomas Paine were “subject to persecution for publishing unpopular opinions. The freedom of press clause makes it clear that the First Amendment is meant to protect not only freedom to speak, but also freedom to publish and distribute speech.”

  3. Surely he has the right to question whether people have first amendment rights, under those same rights.
    Surely being allowed to question things is what the first amendment is all about?

    1. “Surely he has the right to question whether people have first amendment rights, under those same rights.”

      Ben Sanders,

      surely he does have that right. We must remember though that having the right to express an opinion, means other have a right to not only disagree, but to castigate the opinion expressed if they feel it is horribly wrong. Graham is a public disgrace and has been for almost all of his time in the Senate. Unfortunately, there are at least 85 other Senators that are similarly disgraceful and I may be being charitable in quoting a figure that low.

  4. We need to have a full blown First Amendment series of topics, one on each Prong of the First Amendment.

  5. The First Amendment gives the press the right to publish news, information and opinions without government interference. This also means people have the right to publish their own newspapers, newsletters, magazines.

    I do not know why people think that there is this Journalist protection. You wear the mantle and then you are protected. Any of us has the right to create our own free press, whether it is a flyer, newspaper, scribble in the concrete, blog, website. The news media itself wants to have this preference. The jerks on tv will say that so and so was not a journalist or that Julian Assange is not a journalist.

    We dogs on this blog are journalists. There is no certificate issued like a law license or medical license for a journalist and nor is there for the medium. The medium is often the message.

  6. What constitution…. I did recall reading one one time…. But that’s history…. Now, all good republicans and democrats unite…. Celebrate a death blow….

  7. Google: Illinois First Amendment Center and look up Five Principles of the First Amendment. Word press wont let me print the excerpt

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