“Who Watches the Watchmen?” Infowars Case Raises Difficult Question For Both The Biden Administration and The Media

“Who watches the watchmen”? That question from a federal judge this week came in a confrontation with the Justice Department over its targeting or charging journalists. At issue is the prosecution of a controversial host of a far-right website called Infowars. Owen Shroyer was charged with trespass and disorderly conduct during the Jan. 6th riot. However, Shroyer claims to have been present as a journalist while the Justice Department insists that he is an activist. When U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui asked for the basis of that distinction, the Biden Administration refused. The conflict exposes the problem with new regulations protecting journalists without clearly defining who is a journalist.

Recently, news reports of the Biden Administration targeting journalists in criminal investigations led to congressional hearings and a new policy that Attorney General Merrick Garland promised would protect the journalists in the future. I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on how this was just the latest in such controversies extending from the Clinton to the Biden Administrations. As I wrote on these pages at the time, the most glaring flaw is the continued failure to define who is a journalist. Without such a definition, the new reform is as worthless as the long litany of prior reforms.

Shroyer was arrested on charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds. Prosecutors also alleged that he violated an agreement not to engage in such conduct after he was removed from a 2019 impeachment hearing for heckling a Democratic lawmaker. Shroyer was openly advocating for the protest and the underlying view that the election was stolen. He marched with a crowd toward the Capitol shouting, “We aren’t going to accept it!” However, he insists that he entered the Capitol to report on the events for Infowars.

Under the Justice Department guidelines, the attorney general must approve the investigation or charging of a member of the news media with a crime. That led Judge Faruqui to ask the obvious question of whether the guidelines were followed or whether the Biden Administration simply refused to recognize Shroyer’s claim of journalistic status. The judge noted that “The events of January 6th were an attack on the foundation of our democracy. But this does not relieve the Department of Justice from following its own guidelines, written to preserve the very same democracy.”

The Justice Department however simply defied the court and said the regulations were “scrupulously followed,” but refused to explain how the guidelines were satisfied. John Crabb, head of the Criminal Division of the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C., wrote “[s]uch inquiries could risk impeding frank and thoughtful internal deliberations within the Department about how best to ensure compliance with these enhanced protections for Members of the News Media.”

Faruqi was not satisfied by such refusals and noted “the Department of Justice appears to believe that it is the sole enforcer of its regulations. That leaves the court to wonder who watches the watchmen.”

The court’s inquiry highlighted the fact that the earlier pledge is worthless without some ability to review such decisions and, most importantly, some definition of those protected by it.

It is not just the Justice Department that is discomforted by the question. The media itself is equally uneasy. As with the status of Julian Assange, the media would prefer not to address the distinction between Shroyer and other advocates in the media.

Newspapers like the New York Times have rallied around journalists like Nikole Hanna-Jones who have declared “all journalism is advocacy.”  She is now going to teach journalism at Howard University and other academics are encouraging the abandonment of traditional views of objectively and neutrality in the media. Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Once you discard objectivity, the rest is easy. Schroyer was an “overt and candid advocate” but he was not deemed an “advocate for social justice.”  Thus, advocacy on sites like Infowars or Fox News is not real journalism, because it is false or “disinformation” while advocacy on sites like the Daily Kos or CNN is based on truth.

Reporters not only now define what is true but can actively protest against those with opposing views. Recently, National Public Radio made it official and said that, for the first time, its journalists will be allowed to actively participate in protests. However, NPR will pick the causes that journalists can openly join. The rule allows reporters to become protesters for causes that support “the freedom and dignity of human beings, the rights of a free and independent press, the right to thrive in society without facing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability, or religion.” Two examples of worthy causes offered by NPR are Black Lives Matter protests and Gay pride protests.  It is doubtful that NPR would view pro-life or pro-police protests to fit that vague definition. Like the Justice Department, it reserves to itself to state which causes are worthy and which are unworthy.

Advocacy in the media is now rampant. Indeed, the White House regularly promotes the views of media figures like MSNBC’s Joy Reid and the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin who have been long criticized for their blind advocacy of pro-Democratic and anti-Republican causes. They would likely be protected under the Justice Department rules. Even when they are proven false in their assertions, they are treated as media advocates for the truth.

Advocacy reporting is the new touchstone of the journalistically woke . . . unless, that advocacy is for conservative causes or groups. I do not agree with Shroyer any more than I agree with Reid. However, they are both engaged in what is now celebrated as advocacy journalism. It is bad enough to witness the demise of traditional journalism but the Shroyer case may foreshadow an even worse future where only certain forms of advocacy will be allowed. As with NPR, what is being advocated will determine who is still a journalist. That will bring the movement of advocacy journalism to its inevitable end, leaving only advocacy in the wake of journalism.


295 thoughts on ““Who Watches the Watchmen?” Infowars Case Raises Difficult Question For Both The Biden Administration and The Media”

  1. Everyone keeps blaming Biden but here’s the real question do you really believe this man is making these decisions? Who decided to close the pipeline putting thousands out of work and loss of a source of petro, who decided to open the border, who OK’d the Russian pipeline, who decided to pull out of Afghanistan without a plan. Do you really believe that a man who can’t take serious questions on the fly from “REAL” journalist is in charge? Is this Biden we see the first generation Ai Robot? Who is behind the curtain, what is their game plan, purpose and to what end?

    1. Let us assume that Biden is making the decisions.
      That means all the the decision makers at the State Dept, DoD. NSC, NSA, fully backed this catastrophe. They need to be forced from their sinecures. Decent officals would have resigned rather than participate in such a disaster.

      1. Not even whistleblowers leaking from the Deep State. They all fear the wrath of The Party.

  2. Let us not forget the real threat to America are white supremacist. The real threat is the clown show in the White House.

    1. I get blown away every day by you Republicans, especially you Trumpster Republicans, who love to wave the American flag and pretend you have any clue what it means to be a patriot. 13 US Marines lost their lives trying to keep the Abbey Gate safe, and instead of mourning the loss, instead of offering sympathy to the families and loved ones, and instead of coming together as a nation, Republicans are actually FUNDRAISING on this tragedy, trying to put all of the blame on Biden, claiming this wouldn’t have happened if they were in charge. They trot out impotent old men or know-it-all former soldiers who claim to have all the answers. They keep harping on what they claim are Biden’s faults in “causing” the problems with leaving. This is because the influence of Republicans nationally is waning–they hitched their wagon to Trump’s star, and Trump is a losing proposition. So, they take the problems with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and politicize it, including the deaths of 13 US Marines. They actually took down references to Trump’s poor agreement with the Taliban from their website, so people couldn’t refer to it to point out their hypocrisy and Trump’s blame in setting the stage for the problems that have happened. Politicizing the deaths of the 13 Marines is the most-repulsive thing they’ve done since pushing the Big Lie. There is simply no way to gracefully leave a country after losing a war. And, it was a Republican who started this war in the first place. There’s no way to draw down and stand down without being vulnerable.

      Trump set the stage for this catastrophe to happen by his ham-handed agreement with the Taliban, releasing 5,000 of their prisoners and drawing down US troops from 14,000 to 2,500. Biden accepted responsibility for what has happened, but he was following the recommendations of our military on the ground and he was stuck playing the lousy hand left him by Trump. Some of the dopes who post on this thread actually have the gall to question Biden’s sincerity when expressing condolences–repeating, of course, the rhetoric they got from their alt-right media. That’s what alt-right media have done to this country–more fallout from Trump, the Narcissist in Chief. As it turns out, the threat by ISIS was known about, which is why the Taliban were trying to keep crowds away from storming the gates at the Kabul Airport–it wasn’t to prevent people from leaving–it was to prevent a suicide bombing. The Marines were outside the gate, doing pat-downs, looking for IEDs, when someone detonated himself. And, now Republicans see a way to profit from the deaths of these brave Americans. You all make me sick.

      1. So tell us, Natacha, why did Biden abandon the Bagram airbase? It was a well-protected, easily accessible means of exit for any Americans and their allies. So why did your genius Biden give it away prior to their exit? Hmmm? Your “there is simply no way to gracefully leave a country after losing a war” says it all.

        1. Biden answered this yesterday, and if you paid attention to anything other than alt-right media, you’d know that the Joint Chiefs agreed that Bagram, which was on the top of a mountain, and less-accessible to those wanting to leave, should be de-commissioned. It’s some 45 miles or so away from Kabul and the means of entry are more treacherous. Plus, it would have taken thousands of soldiers to keep it up and running. Biden didn’t “give away” anything.

          1. “Speak softly and carry a big stick” says a lot. Biden gave away the stick.You don’t know what anyone said.

          2. “t’s amazing how the Deep State can’t find anything to leak in a Democratic administration despite massive failure”

          3. Biden’s “plan” is a Collossal Treasonous Sh*t Show he should be impeached and convicted and removed from office over. But lucky for Biden, number 1 reason he won’t be, is because he is a Democrat. Number 2 reason is Kamala Harris. So the country and the world will have to continue suffering through Joe Biden’s incompetent treasonous collossal sh*t show of an illegitimate presidency for now.

          4. “Why was Bagram closed before U.S. citizens left?

            Because Biden wanted to meet his deadline without regard to the security consequences or the safety of our citizens & allies.

            We are witnessing the horrific costs of Joe Biden’s terrible judgment.”

            ~Sen. Tom Cotton

      2. Yes, Natacha, same people don’t want more dead Americans. Biden has done everything wrong yet you cheer him on. You are the person that doesn’t care about the troops or Americans in Afghanistan.

      3. “There’s no way to draw down and stand down without being vulnerable.”

        There’s “being vulnerable,” and there’s being a sitting duck. Biden (and his Obama retreads) chose the duck.

        “. . . you have any clue what it means to be a patriot.”

        Gotta love how you redefine “patriotism” to mean: How dare you criticize our Deal Leader.

        “You all make me sick.”

        The only thing “sick” here is the delusional attempts to whitewash Biden’s utter incompetence. (And the pathology of diversion.)

        For the nth time: Americans, allies, and military equipment out *first*. Then, and only then, withdraw the military.

      4. Trump did not agree to them releasing 5,000 prisoners BEFORE we even left the theater. That was Biden’s idiocy. Biden takes responsibility for nothing. “Stuck playing the lousy hand left him by Trump” is pure political spin bullsh*t. Did Trump’s “plan” include leaving stacks of cash and billions worth of weapons to arm our enemies? No, that is all part of Biden’s “plan” which is actually a collossol treasonous sh*t show. Geezus you are full of it.

      5. Natacha wrote “Some of the dopes who post on this thread actually have the gall to question Biden’s sincerity when expressing condolences”

        Yeah, and? Did you watch Joe make it about HIM and HIS loss of his son, yet again? did you catch that? Beau did a short stint in military as JAG in order to use it to further his political ambitions. Beau did it so his father could use it to further his political career. Biden still uses it TODAY when Beau’s death from brain cancer had NOTHING to do wtih his military service. NOTHING. It was shamefull and disgusting to watch Joe Biden use his son Beau’s death in this way, yet again. The soldiers who died at the incompetence of Joe Biden deserve a h*ll of a lot more than a shamelss Commander in Chief using his own personal loss as an excuse to garner more sympathy for himself yet again. Biden accepts responsiblity for nothing. He is a disgrace.

        1. “Did you watch Joe make it about HIM and HIS loss of his son, yet again?”

          That was truly revolting: “Yes, I’m an incompetent, doddering old fool — who can’t manage an exit from a backward country. Yes, my mindless exit just killed 13 American troops. But, please, have pity on me. Don’t you know that my son died?”

          1. Biden is a corrupt, incompetent, shameless, lying, mean-spirited, lazy, political hack. He deserves NO respect.

            1. Arrogant, too. The way Biden turns his back on reporters and walks out of the room as if HE, himself does not OWE the American people direct answers is just revolting beyond words. He leaves all that to his low-level flacks like Miss Priggy the arrogant, snide, priggish press secretary, Jenn Psaki.

      6. Natacha says ” trying to put all of the blame on Biden”

        DUH, where else does it belong? Where did Biden say the “buck stops”? With him?

        100% of the blame for Biden’s sh*tshow debacle goes directly to the top: on President Joe Biden.

  3. Oh wow, I forgot, this is women’s equity day. I’m glad the pentagon reminded us of this today. I mean that’s the most important item on our military’s agenda today. Thank god we’re woke. I’ll bet a cadet at West Point can now major in women’s studies.

  4. whats going on in Afghanistan right now makes Benghazi look like a brilliant piece of military strategy. Political hacks in charge.

  5. BIDEN: Ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here. The first person I was instructed to call on is Kelly O’Donnell of NBC.”

    I wish some patriotic soul would put “I RESIGN” on his teleprompter.

  6. Biden says he will not let terrorism delay the retreat of America from the field.

    We are the new French.

    Actually the French are doing pretty well rescuing people while American troops do nothing..nothing but die.

    1. Scripted questions and scripted answers. They are praying he doesn’t go off script.

    2. Right now, 13 dead American servicemen. I know, it’s Trumps fault.

        1. No, both ISIS and the Taliban are known threats. Therefore the proximate cause is Biden.

    3. We are like the French. Early in WWII, the problem the French had was their leaders.

    4. You g:
      We are the hopelessly divided France of the 30s and a sitting duck for the Hitlers of our day. Too bad we banished our Winston Churchill to the wilderness of Florida. Let’s hope we avoid this “bitter cup” but it’s getting more and more likely with fools like Neville Biden in charge.

  7. It’s striking that JT chooses not to mention John Sullivan (aka Jayden X), a self-proclaimed liberal “journalist” and agent provocateur who has been charged for his acts on 1/6: ustice.gov/usao-dc/defendants/sullivan-john-earl
    Sullivan captured one of the videos of Ashli Babbitt being killed.

    Here’s a more informative discussion of Shroyer: emptywheel.net/2021/08/20/the-how-of-owen-shroyers-arrest/

      1. I disagree with you, but even if that were true, the column I linked to isn’t about the Mueller investigation. It’s a more informative discussion of Shroyer.

    1. Young needs to get out of his arm-chair. Rather, he stirs the pot with unsubstantiated garbage.

      “What’s happening in Afghanistan is horrible. But how else was U.S. involvement going to end?”


      “The images we’re seeing from Kabul are shocking, heartbreaking and embarrassing. But the real stain on our national honor was in making promises to Afghans that we never had the intention or even the ability to keep. Twenty years of U.S. blood and treasure gave Afghanistan not a secular democracy but its flickering illusion. And history will see this withdrawal, painful as it is to watch, not as ignominious but as inevitable.”

      1. So that’s the spin they plan to use to try to weasel out of responsibility.

        Thanks anon.

        That simply adds another disgrace to a mountain of crimes and blunders.

        MSNBC might buy it but world leaders are choking with rage at the dishonor and betrayal of Biden.

        Nobody will ever trust him again.

        Obama said “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to f**k things up.:

        We all did. I knew he would be a disaster but he supassed even my most pessimistic expectations.

          1. I must be making headway or you wouldn’t be griping. Thanks for the support.

            1. Young is also quite clueless.

              You’re certainly not making any headway with me.

          2. Anonymous, people are dying. This is a chaotic route. Yet you blame Young for criticizing? The list of people to blame will be extraordinarily long, as most world leaders, as well as everyone with eyes and critical reasoning, understands this was handled disastrously.

            Instead of focusing ad hominem on Young, why don’t you make an actual argument? If you think you can defend this, give it a go. Make some positions with which we can agree or disagree.

            1. “Instead of focusing ad hominem on Young…”

              Here she goes again, just tossing “ad hominem” into a sentence…

              1. No content from Anonymous the stupid.

                The deaths don’t seem to matter to you at all.

      2. Anonymous asked how else was US involvement going to end?

        1. Well, we still have many bases in Japan and Germany. WWII has been over for 76 years. Our military kept a presence there, and we’ve become quite good allies with both countries. There is a way to gradually draw down active involvement with a country while still keeping some military there just in case things go left. Which they did.

        2. We could have gradually drawn down, observing how the Afghan army handled the inevitable Taliban insurgence. When the Taliban threatened the families of the Afghan army, and told them the US was going to leave them high and dry, the marines could have blown up the terrorists. Nothing would have underscored our support like helping defend the families of our allies.

        3. If we were going to just chuck it, and let the terrorists overrun the country…again…we could have evacuated all civilians and allies before drawing the military down to unsustainable fighting force.

        4. We could have allowed our military to leave the airport to do sweeps for evacuees.

        5. We could have swept away the Taliban blocking and assaulting people outside the airport. After all, that was a violation of the Afghanistan Peace Agreement.

        6. We could have maintained Bagram Airfield instead of disappearing during the night, surprising the heck out of the new Afghani commander. Bagram was set up to prevent suicide bombers and trucks from having a clear lane to ram civilians and military. Vehicles have to serpentine to get in.

        7. We could go and get evacuees instead of having cargo planes leave half empty.

        8. As soon as the Taliban exhibited aggression, they were in violation of the peace agreement and should have been blown up, with our boot on the necks of the survivors.

        Terrorists do not respect appeasement. They see it as a weakness in prey they wish to kill. We have to be hard targets that bite back exponentially harder than we are bit. It has to be intuitively obvious to the meanest understanding that hostilities against the US will leave you worse off than before.

        I wouldn’t say the past 20 years was a “flickering illusion” of a secular democracy. We did make some progress with imparting some Western values, in the fact that so many Afghani girls got an education. Those girls have had a taste of what freedom is like.

        Some of those girls will be evacuated here, to live out normal lives in the West instead of cowering under a burka, or shot the moment they step outside without a burka or a male chaperone.

        We can’t overcome thousands of years of tribalism, corruption, extremism, and violence. But we were able to reach some people. The fact that Afghanistan quickly fell to terrorists is disheartening, to be sure. I used to think the ideas of human rights, women’s rights, freedom of religion and speech, and representative democracy could be exported. It’s not that simple.

          1. Anonymous:

            WHAT do you disagree with, exactly? Because it seems like all you can do is insult people.

            Which one of the points, numbered for your convenience, do you disagree with?

            If you think this withdrawal was done impeccably, then make an argument?

            When all you do is insult, I believe you cannot answer the position with a cogent argument, and so you resort to juvenile name calling. However, if that’s what revs your engine, then you’ll just be blown off as foolish and insincere.

          1. Anonymous the Idiot.. Karen is so much smarter than you, and YOU can’t handle a woman being smarter than you…a dumbass.

        1. The fact that Afghanistan quickly fell to terrorists — Karen S

          Or, from another point of view… the fact that Afghanistan quickly fell to Afghans

        2. Karen, as usual, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of facts, and I really wish you’d stop repeating the crap you heard on Hannity the night before.

          1. We didn’t lose the war with either Japan or Germany, so we weren’t forced to retreat from either country. We did lose the war with Viet Nam, and withdrawal from there was as bad or worse. The fall of Saigon was terrible, and thousands of Americans were left behind. The bodies of the last 2 US soldiers who were killed in Viet Nam weren’t even retrieved.

          2. NO ONE, including your hero who drew down our troops, foresaw that the Afghan Army would stand down to the Taliban. There is simply no way to draw down and stand down without being vulnerable.

          3. Check with your hero on WHY he thought it was a good idea to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners and to draw down our troops from 14,000 to 2,500 BEFORE Americans and our Afghan allies were out. Well, you could check the RNC website–Oh, wait–I forgot–they took down the reference to the bungled agreement Trump made with the Taliban without even involving the Afghans. This was so Republicans can politicize the withdrawal from Afghanistan and not have their own words of praise about Trump used against them while they fund raise from it.

          4. What are “sweeps for evacuees”? There are millions of people living in Afghanistan. Was the US military supposed to go door-to- door? How many years would that take? Some of our allies have tried to get out for years, only to have their applications for SIVs detained in limbo thanks to Stephen Miller, appointed by your hero. The Marines who were killed were outside the Abbey Gate and were doing pat-downs to prevent an IED suicide bombing inside the airport.

          5. As it turns out, the reason the Taliban were trying to keep people at bay outside the airport is because they, as well as the US and British forces, were put on alert that a suicide bombing was coming soon. People were told not to go to the Abbey Gate, but they kept coming anyway. Most of the Afghans storming the airport are not qualified for SIVs. They see a chance to get out. That would have happened no matter what.

          6. it was the decision of the Joint Chiefs to abandon Bagram, and for good reasons: it would take thousands of soldiers to maintain the facility and to secure order. The approaches to Bagram are dangerous and harder to secure. It’s 45 miles away from Kabul, and harder for Americans, contractors, Europeans and our allies to get to without getting hit by sniper fire and blown up with IEDs. It was a military decision. More of Fox News’s know-it-alls second-guessing those in charge, and all for political reasons.

          7. There are contingency plans for evacuating Americans, including use of helicopters. Those on buses who have been cleared can get to the airport. No one will be left behind.

          8. The Taliban hasn’t exhibited aggression–they want us out. They’re trying to change their image. The ISIS-K faction is their enemy, too. Hannity probably didn’t explain to you that at the present, the US and Taliban are united against the ISIS-K. War makes for strange bedfellows.

          As far as your blathering about Western values and “imparting Western values”, that’s not why the US went to Afghanistan. No one asked us to come there and tell them what they’re doing wrong vis-a-vis womens’ rights and how they should change things. Bush went there to get Bin Laden, who was in Pakistan. The entire war was a mistake.

      3. “But how else was U.S. involvement going to end?”

        How about a *rational* exit strategy? *First* you exit Americans, your allies and military equipment. Then, and only then, does the military exit. (The CIA was smart. They got out some 2 months ago.)

        You don’t wait until the country is overrun by your enemy, then say: “Oops, I think we forgot someone.” You don’t abandon key military assets (e.g., Bagram Air Base) that you need to execute that exit. You don’t surrender some $80 billion in military equipment to your enemies. You don’t depend on your enemies for “safe passage.” You don’t abandon intel to your enemies. You don’t use, as your means of exit, an urban airport that is surrounded by your enemies — and that, as we just witnessed, is easily accessible by terrorists.

        The Biden exit is a deadly debacle. The rungs of this hell are (from top to bottom): McKenzie, Milley, Austin — then the Obama retreads running the White House.

  8. “Opinion: A Texas woman who works with indigent defendants says she was arrested in retaliation for her work”

    by Radley Balko


    ‘Gerstein says his firm is working on a report about this sort of retaliation. “As people like Anna challenge the status quo, the people who benefited from that system are lashing out,” he says. “We’re seeing it all over the country.”’

    1. I think it is similar with the ‘homeless’. “Helping the Homeless” is a tax-devouring racket that helps everyone in the program except the homeless.

  9. The simple issue here is the government did not follow its own guidelines, and they refused to admit that to the judge. But this naturally leads into whether the standards of journalism have changed today and, like professor Turley, I notice that it has and disapprove. But the government is vulnerable on this. When advocacy gets official support, that always leads to censorship. Inevitably. When journalists, with official support, believe they can advocate for “justice”, according to their own standards, they will refuse to inform the public of the “truth” that refutes their advocated positions. They will hide it, distort it or label it something like “misinformation”. But there is a growing number of Americans, including judges, who also notice and disapprove of this new “advocacy journalism”, and don’t want to let them get away with it. That defiance will grow. It will inevitably lead to a counter-movement of journalists whose own advocacy will confront the first group, point by point. So who are the real “journalists” here? Can we still pretend it has anything to do with the first amendment?

  10. There are couple theorems relevant about todays Blog subject;

    (1) decision making theory (Patrick Unleavy) states that “Government and politics can be treated as a series of decisions taken by persons and institutions who make rational decisions, or who act as if they made rational decisions, in the light of their interests and the circumstances in which they operate.

    (2) Logocentrism (Jacques Derrida) “Mistaken faith, in modern Western metaphysics, in certain transcendental ideas such as truth, meaning, and justice, which have been illusorily stabilized by being named and encoded in linguistic signs.”

    (3) Decentring (C. Norris) “Attack on the dominance and centrality of certain authoritarian Western concepts (God, man, reason). In deconstructive criticism, texts are decentred by a process of analysis which denies a central meaning; meanings are disseminated and deferred.”

    Or as Saussure postulated “The fundamental principle of the arbitrary nature of the linguistic sign (reporter/insurrectionist [my words]) does not prevent us from distinguishing what is intrinsically arbitrary-that is unmotivated -and what is only relatively arbitrary”. Using Saussure description of who is signified and who is the signifier, depends on the arbitrary definition of a journalist in today’s medium (the intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed).

    The dystopian left has been and continues to be usurping words, meaning, and truths to suit their ideology, and their intent on causing riffs between the classes and political beliefs of citizens. To what end I know not, but maybe total control of society is a simple answer.

  11. Whether he was there in the capacity of a journalist who personally supported the protest, or a participant, depends upon his actions. If he broke a window, shoved aside a police barricade, pushed or shoved or otherwise assaulted a police officer, or engaged in any crimes, then he was a participant. If all he did was film and observe, then he was acting in his capacity as a journalist.

    Considering the rise of citizen journalists, blogs, online news, and various other grassroots reporting efforts, the distinction between journalist and participant needs to be firmly defined.

    1. -Karen S,
      Again, well said.
      Your ability to use critical thinking skills, facts and objective analysis is much appreciated.
      Please keep posting.

          1. I wish I could laugh at these willfully ignorant people, it’s just not funny any more. Anyone can make mistakes, but to double down and triple down even more insanity, is just heartbreaking.

            1. Fishflaps You and nastycha must spend a lot of time laughing your cankles off staring into to the biggest part of your broken mirrors,

    2. Considering the rise of citizen journalists, blogs, online news, and various other grassroots reporting efforts, the distinction between journalist and participant needs to be firmly defined.

      All true.
      The danger is allowing the government to define exactly who they allow to “report” on government doings. We are all journalists. There is no requirments no test to be met.
      What you describe are chargeable crimes. Homeless person. or someone that has had a byline in the NYT for 20 years.

      In this case the govt is abusing its overwhelming power to abuse all that got within the shadow of 1/6 as hard examples of what will befall all that would dare challenge said power.

  12. “Owen Shroyer was charged with trespass and disorderly conduct during the Jan. 6th riot.”

    – Professor Turley


    Did the communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs) in America say “charges?”

      1. You don’t suppose that is irrefutable, direct insurrection against the U.S. Constitution, American freedom and American free enterprise, do you?

  13. “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.” 

    Thomas Jefferson, inaugural address on 4 March 1801, Third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809

    Not!, George Washington.

    War, an oligarchic, Monopolistic, Kelptocracy with enmity toward all nations unless they obey and only entangling relations with all nations.

    The “American” Empire” is turning in on itself. All Empires collapse, not from external or foreign invaders, but from internal and domestic corruption, decay and failure of “its” principles and values … it, the “American Empire” professes to embody.
    dennis hanna

    1. ‘The “American” Empire” is turning in on itself. ‘ (dennis hanna)

      Ever hear of “organized stalking” — taking place in the U.S. since the implementation of the Patriot Act, and probably longer?

      Americans preying on other Americans…

      If it isn’t stopped, it’s game over.

      1. Military, Industrial, (Congressional*), Surveillance, Security, State … M.I.S.S.S.
        There no facts, only interpretations.
        Read National Defense Authorization Act, Detention without trial: Section 1021
        Again, the so-called authors and ratifiers of this “legislation” and the elected and unelected offices who are to enforce (interpret?!) this law cannot agree on what it means, allows or instructs.

        “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

        Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p.146

        Will the principles and values of the United States Government Change?
        Will the principles and values of the United States political class change?
        Will the principles and values of the United States power elite change?
        Will the principles and values of the Military, Industrial, Surveillance, Security State change?
        Will the principles and values of the citizens of the United States change?
        History repeats because man’s passions simply do not change.
        Democritus, circa 460 – 370 B.C.E.
        After a short time, on to Syria, oops!, already there. On to Lebanon, Iran and … China?, Russia? … options, options, options … so many options.
        “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”
        Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, p.146
        dennis hanna

        1. Oops!
          (Congressional*) was part of and included in of President Eisenhower’s drafts, but was left out of(?!) or deleted from the final work and oral presentation by President Eisenhower. When asked why? President Eisenhower responded it was enough to pick a fight with the Military and industry.
          dennis hanna

  14. Does Uncle Joe Biden & defense secretary Lloyd Austin have the guts?

    A MOAB strike on the Taliban leader in Kabul’s presidential palace.


      Joshua 6 NIV

      20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

      21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

  15. OMG, Turley, how on earth can you only find “advocacy journalism” on MSNBC or WaPo, but ignore the daily, constant, pro-Trump, anti-Democrat, anti-Biden slop put out by your employer around the clock? You can only see “provably false” advocacy when it’s not Fox, InfoWars, OAN and other right-wing extremist outlets. The longer you work for Fox, the more you lose credibility because your purchased opinions are so obviously biased. You can include yourself in the category of an advocate journalist.

    IMHO, the case you cited is a no-brainer: even if one is really a journalist, which this InfoWars loser clearly isn’t, as proven by his prior heckling conduct, that is still not a license to break and enter the Capitol and participate in an attempted hostile take-over of the House of Representatives. The First Amendment isn’t implicated at all. You cannot defend against a charge of breaking and entering or trespass by claiming to be a journalist, any more than you could defend a charge of being a peeping tom by trespassing on private property and peeking through a bedroom window by claiming to be a journalist. The First Amendment protects speech, but not otherwise criminal conduct.

    And, once again, the only people Turley finds worthy of scorn are female: one a woman of color (Joy Reid), and one a Jewish woman (Jennifer Rubin). But Turley has nothing to say about brain-dead bottle blondie Kayleigh McAnny who said on Fox, with a straight face, that Biden’s presidency has been marked by endless crises, but there were no crises during Trump’s tenure.

      1. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. IIRC, the treatment was to lay under UV light for 2 days while drinking bleach.

    1. ignore the daily, constant, pro-Trump, anti-Democrat, anti-Biden slop put out by your employer around the clock

      What leftists mean by “pro Trump” is FOX not mearing President Trump and blaming him for every screw up Biden is making. They are used to the propaganda outlets, throwing in a Trump smear on every single story they post.

      Its hard when your whipping post is taken away from you, right?

    1. “Ezra Klein shrugged off the Afghanistan disaster by saying ‘it could be worse.’”

      That did not age well.

      I wonder, will President Biden take questions if he makes a statement today?
      And if so, are they going to be only from pre-approved, selected members of the press corps?

      1. Upstate: “I wonder, will President Biden take questions if he makes a statement today?”
        Nope. The WH and State Department have cancelled appearances and gone into hiding. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were trying on disguises so they can leave the building without being asked embarrassing questions. Clown suits would work. They would also be appropriate.

    2. Now the suicide bombs are coming. ISIS and the Taliban are quarreling, ISIS is eagerly trying to egg on violence against the US in order for the Taliban to get the repercussions…

      All we’re waiting on now are the double tap bombs that take out first responders, the attacks on hospitals and other vital infrastructure.

      A rational person changes his mind and actions when confronted with a mistake. I cannot understand why this Administration keeps staying the course. Total withdrawal is clearly going to create a terrorism hotbed, massive human rights violations, rape, murder, destabilize the region, empower China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, and trap many thousands of Americans and our allies in Afghanistan.

      I understand the desire and effort to withdraw from Afghanistan, to allow the country to stand on its own. But terrorists and extremists are STILL the most organized in this country. They will STILL fill the vacuum left behind.

      Our allies aren’t going to fix our mess, either. Germany was wheels up less than 2 hours after the suicide bomb at the gate.

      This was such a terrible mistake, yet the Administration just keeps plowing forward, hoping to appease terrorists. The only way to truly appease terrorists is with the destruction of the West, the death of all Jews, and a global caliphate of human misery and abuse. We have got to find our backbone, but the Biden Administration is too squishy.

      Qick! Send in the marine with two moms! She can reason with the terrorists who shoot women for leaving their home without a burka and a male relative chaperone!

      1. After negotiating with the Taliban, Trump officials criticize Biden for negotiating with the Taliban
        JM Rieger 1 hr ago

        Hours after an Islamic State attack in Afghanistan killed more than a dozen U.S. service members, former president Donald Trump continued his efforts to rewrite the history of his 2020 deal with the Taliban.

        Trump officials touted their Taliban talks before criticizing Biden’s Taliban talks

        “We had an incredible agreement, they weren’t killing our soldiers,” Trump said Thursday, contrasting the lack of attacks on U.S. troops after his Taliban deal with the “tremendous danger” that he said American troops were facing under a Biden-negotiated security agreement with the Taliban.

        Trump failed to mention that his agreement required significant U.S. concessions in return for Taliban cooperation, even as the Taliban continued to attack and kill Afghan forces after the deal was signed. The agreement also hinged, in part, on a May 1 withdrawal deadline for all U.S. forces, which Biden later extended.

        Trump officials scramble for distance from his Taliban deal
        Now, as the United States works to finish its evacuation while relying on the Taliban for security assistance, Trump officials are criticizing the withdrawal that they themselves called for and negotiations with the Taliban that they previously supported. You can watch examples of these comments in the video above.

        In 2018, then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley praised the Trump administration’s engagement with the Taliban.

        “The U.S. policy on Afghanistan is working,” Haley said. “… We are seeing that we are closer to talks with the Taliban and the peace process than we’ve seen before.”

        Now, more than three years later, Haley is criticizing the Biden administration for its engagement with the Taliban.

        “The thing is, there are times where you have to negotiate with the devil, but you negotiate with the devil from a point of strength,” Haley said Sunday. “… We literally have no leverage right now with the Taliban. All we’re going to see them do is they’re going to buy time and act like they’re going to be nice until Aug. 31.”

        Trump’s deal with the Taliban, explained
        In 2019, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended his negotiations with the Taliban, telling CNN that he would “trust but verify” what the militants said. Months later, Pompeo told Fox News that he expected the Taliban to follow through on the agreement.

        “Are they really living up to that commitment? It’s our expectation,” Pompeo said two days after the agreement was signed. “I met with them myself when I was in Doha. I looked them in the eye. They revalidated that commitment.”

        As the Taliban overtook Kabul 17 months later, Pompeo told Fox News that he never trusted that Taliban.

        “We never trusted the Taliban,” Pompeo said Aug. 15. “You can ask them yourselves. We made abundantly clear if they did not live up to that piece of paper, to the words that they had put on the ground, we weren’t going to allow them to just walk away from any deal that they had struck, we were going to crush them.”

        Now, as the Biden administration rushes to evacuate tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans, Trump has shifted to criticizing Biden and the agreement that Trump made with the Taliban nearly 18 months ago.

        “It’s a great agreement from a lot of different standpoints,” Trump said Aug. 17.

        “And frankly, Biden didn’t have to even go by that agreement,” he added, before pivoting to another topic: the southern border.

        Now we know why the RNC took down references to the Trump-Taliban agreement from its website.

        Karen says that a “rational person” changes his mind when confronted with a mistake. What, exactly, were Biden’s “mistakes”? Trump and Republicans just hide their former support for Trump’s badly-flawed agreement with the Taliban and then lie about it. And, Nikki Haley is wrong: we DO have bargaining power, and we can and will get out Americans, contractors and Afghan supporters. And, we would have had more bargaining power if Trump hadn’t drawn down our troops from 14,000 to 2,500 and released 5,000 Taliban BEFORE evacuating Americans. Those are inconvenient facts Republicans just can’t escape.

        1. “Trump officials scramble for distance from his Taliban deal
          “Now, as . . .” [. . . ]

          When you copy the words of others (which you did liberally), you need quotation marks and a citation — lest you be guilty of plagiarism. (Or were you trying to avoid fair use restrictions?)

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