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To blog or not to blog, that is the question

By AV . ·
I have been reading quite a few things lately about blogs in the news. One thing I had read in the past few days was about bloggers being held accountable under campaign finance laws for having links in their posting to political organization's websites. The US government wants to consider this a campaign contribution of sorts even if no money was involved.

There has also been calls for bloggers to have the same rights and be considered as journalists. It turns out, that journalists don't have clearly defined rights. For example, the two NY Times journalists being prosecuted for not revealing their sources in articles they printed. They certainly don't have anything equivalent to Attorney-Client privilege.

Maybe I'm reading this all wrong, but I think that our right to freedom of speech is being eroded away. I wonder where the line is drawn. Though TR is a forum and not a blog, could the US government one day decide that I can't post links or discuss a certain subject?

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Of course they could

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to To blog or not to blog, t ...

they are the government. Let me know if they get a treaty with the UK including extradition, I'll have to start being nicer to George.
Interesting I suggested in a thread that reporters could make money by blogging intead of writing for media corporates. As for the political links, the trick in the UK is to mention the opposing political parties, that way you can't be seen to be benefitting a particular one.
There's no rule you have to be nice about the opposition, just fair.

PX's Why I'm voting for George would have given them a fair bit of material.

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Blogging not a new form of speech; it's

by deepsand In reply to To blog or not to blog, t ...

merely a new way of communicating.

As such, there are no "new rules" particular to blogs.

The issues are, as with any other form of communications, who owns the medium, who controls the content, who funds it, who gains from it, and, with regard to politics, does it unfairly influence those who do or would govern.

That is, like any other speech, it must be judged in full context.

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7 Shield law

by Oz_Media In reply to To blog or not to blog, t ...

The 7 Shield Shield Law codifies the privilege, arising under the First Amendment, that protects professional journalists from compulsory disclosure of confidential sources contacted or materials obtained in the course of gathering information for public dissemination. A professional journalist is defined as one who is engaged in

??.gathering, preparing, collecting, writing, editing, filming, taping or photographing of news intended for a newspaper, magazine, news agency, press association or wire service or other professional medium or agency which has as one of its regular functions the processing and researching of news intended for dissemination to the public?? See Civil Rights Law, Art. 7, Section 79-h (a) (6).

NOTE: This should also include a 'weB LOG'yet as that is not a professional broadcast or medium it is harder to define unless individually based on the writer

This definition omits, however, explicit reference to a professional journalist who is engaged in preparing a work product for publication by a book publisher. The omission leaves journalists and their publishers vulnerable to contempt proceedings for failing to reveal sources or turn over notes that were used in preparation of a book.


This 7 shield law is ALL that Martin Bashir's lawyer had to say when Jackson's media attorney (Ted Boutrous), tried every which way he could to ask about how the documentary on Jackson was falsely obtained.

99.999% of the questions were objected to and instantly striken as protected under the 7 shield laws. They couldn't even ask the most remotely vague questions about what Bashir had said to Jackson in order to get his cooperation. Thus Jackson's claims are uncontested, nor able to be validated.

NOTE: Blogs have been/are being considered by TR already.

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It definitely won't protect you if

by AV . In reply to 7 Shield law

the government wants to know your sources. The 2 NY times journalists face jail time because they won't reveal their sources on who leaked the name of a CIA operative.

At risk is their integrity as journalists. If they lose their appeals, they will have to go to jail. If they don't go to jail and they reveal their sources, we all lose our freedoms because no one will ever come forward with any information if they think they are at risk.

If the government contends its a matter of national security, a criminal investigation or whatever else they deem to be that important, laws don't apply. Thats not right.

Martin Bashir's case is an excellent example of how the laws could work. I'm not sure I agree with his methods though. Didn't he misrepresent how his interviews would be presented to Jackson?

I saw your note at the bottom of your post. I think blogging and the like is a timely issue and definitely needs discussion.

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Well that's the whole point

by Oz_Media In reply to It definitely won't prot ...

As for the faurst case, you are speaking of a direct federal offence, plus aiding and abetting.

In the case of Michael Jackson, Bashir is simply a witness who has reported comments from Jackson. The reason HE can be protected by the 7 shields law is because he was simply reporting and was NOT reporting or covering up for a crime in the process of doing so.

As for him misrepresenting Jackson, that is the entire issue he is using the 7 shields law to refrain from answering. Jackson's lawyer is TRYING to get him to, not so much admit guilt, but even the slightest mention of
"DID you say to Michael-"
"OBJECTION- as protected by the 7 shields law"
"When speaking to Michael about conducting the interview-"
"OBJECTION- same objection 7 shield"
"Your honor let me rephrase that for the court...Michael Jackson agreed to conduct the interview with you, Mr. Bashir-"
"OBJECTION-7 shields"

It's like pleading the 5th. As a defendant it doesn't help your case too much unless you are guilty as ****. As the prosecution it simply protects the information for use by the prosecution.

As for blogging it has been discussed, it has gained SOME favor with MANY issues brought up that would reduce it's effectiveness and even harm other aspects of the site. I believe CHAT is the latest idea.

It's just time to wait and see what they come up with now.

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Your still accountable

by jdclyde In reply to To blog or not to blog, t ...

When people use the blogs to spread lies and rumors it is still slander and is NOT a part of your "freedoms".

You do NOT have the right to say what you want when you want, because your rights stop where someone elses start.

If you make a statement, you SHOULD HAVE to be able to back it up with FACTS. If you can't back it up, you have no business saying it. Too many wackos out there now lieing to seniors that the proposed changes to Social Securty will take their check away. And some people are either uninformed or unintellegent enough to understand the part that IT DOESN"T affect current retirees.

Say what you want, just say the truth and be able to support it and you won't have to worry about this.

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I don't think that was the point

by gralfus In reply to Your still accountable

The original poster was commenting that the US Gov't wants to treat an endorsement by a blog as a campaign contribution. So the real problem here is not what was said in a blog, but that anyone could be so thick-headed as to consider a link to a website in the same realm as a monetary contribution. If that were the case, then each section of the Internet infrastructure could be said to be contributing in the same fashion. It is an ad absurdum fallacy, i.e., if we take the argument to an extreme, we can demonstrate that it is not valid. And how will the alleged contribution be converted to a monetary value for a receipt, and how will it be taxed? It can't be.

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by AV . In reply to I don't think that was th ...

Right now, you can post links to anything political in a blog and have no affiliation, but that could change. They can count the clicks. I don't know how the government could assign a value to it, but I have no doubt they would find a way.

I think they could use it as a way to say a certain candidate received illegal campaign contributions.

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Don't see this happening

by jdclyde In reply to Yes

Just like we were going to pay a "postage" charge on E-mail.

Who would keep track of this?
How would they collect?

Remember many of your bloggers are destitute college students with more time than money or brains. They are just paroting what they hear on campus and haven't had the exposure or experience to have developed their own set of political beliefs. Talk to a college student about politics and they are clueless. They can't defend ANY of the ideals that they have been fed with a rational explanation, let alone provide FACTS to back up their explanation.

These are the people that are going to get taxed? Can't take what they don't have.

This is all a pipe dream and hype.

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Follow the money

by deepsand In reply to Yes

For purposes of determining whether or not such violates elections laws, a blog is no different than any other method of communications.

Generally, it's the money trail that tells the tale.

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