But there are people in the weblog world who do think of themselves as journalists. Just as there are career politicians who wish those same webloggers weren't.
And those politicians make law.
Goodbye citizen journalists?
We will soon see:
Licensing bill for journalists a control ployI'm reminded once again of that famous quote from Joseph Goebbels, the master of government propaganda:
By Bristol Herald Courier editorial board
A proposed Michigan law would require journalists to have licenses and applicants would need, among other things: “good moral character,” a degree in journalism and three writing samples.
What the Internet has brought to the brink, this law aims to put asunder.
The first two stipulations are not requirements to quality reporting. The third, while common in some job recruiting situations, barely scratches the surface.
What really is at work here is an effort by state Sen. Bruce Patterson to endorse some news outlets and deny access to others. He readily admits his bill is in response to instances where he believes a writer has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues. He also admits the bill is unlikely to pass but that he is merely trying to provoke public discussion before leaving office after two decades.
Patterson claims the law is needed because of an explosion in the number of media outlets: traditional, online and citizen-generated – and that this increase is adding to misinformation.
This is a not-so-veiled attempt to give approval to some news sources and deny access to others. If a journalist has shown themselves [sic] to be unreliable, he will lose sources and credibility. It is not the government’s job to intercede and ask for licensing steps for reporters watching over government.
[P]assing laws to restrict access, by licensing reporters, is a violation of the First Amendment and a clear attempt to restrict who can report on issues in Michigan. [link]
“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.”
And if it's the only player in the orchestra ...