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Newspapers Cut Wikileaks Out of Shield Law

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the something-about-clubs-and-members dept.

The Media 602

An anonymous reader writes "The US press has been pushing for a (much needed) federal shield law, that would allow reporters to protect their sources. It's been something of a political struggle for a few years now, and things were getting close when Wikileaks suddenly got a bunch of attention for leaking all those Afghan war documents. Suddenly, the politicians involved started working on an amendment that would specifically carve out an exception for Wikileaks so that it would not be covered by such a shield law. And, now, The First Amendment Center is condemning the newspaper industry for throwing Wikileaks under the bus, as many in the industry are supporting this new amendment, and saying that Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.'"

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LOLWUT? (5, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440180)

Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.

Did the news industry forget what journalism is?

Re:LOLWUT? (5, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440200)

Yes, a number of years ago.

Re:LOLWUT? (2, Insightful)

mike260 (224212) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440322)

Yes, a number of years ago.

Just shy of 9 years ago by my count.

Re:LOLWUT? (5, Insightful)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440620)

Probably at least 14; you remember Drudge's influence on "journalism" during the Clinton years? He's just a linkmeister like most of the web now, certainly not more of a journalist than Wikileaks providing resources to NY Times, etc. But still influential and drives the news narrative since most journalists (supposedly) have him as a home page to launch their leads [newsbusters.org] . Or that's what he became famous for from the late 90's anyway. It's hard to say if he's a leader or follower now from my POV... My point however is that journalists haven't driven the news by original, non-wire "news" in a long-time. It's been agenda-driven no matter who the "journalists'" leaders or masters are.

Re:LOLWUT? (2, Insightful)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440340)

Yes, they did. The current definition of journalism they appear to be working from is "Repeating whatever asanine behavior a celebrity or pseudo-celebrity has demonstrated for 24 hours a day until some other celeb/pseudo-celeb does something even dumber."

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440366)

Loooong loooooooong time ago. I wouldn't say it's about W, it's much before that.

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

tick_and_bash (1256006) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440372)

Did you forget what modern journalism is about? (Formerly known as tabloids.)

Re:LOLWUT? (5, Insightful)

Swarley (1795754) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440394)

They didn't forget. They all chose to pretend that it means something else. And by their definition, Wikileaks is most definitely not journalism. Wikileaks has never mentioned Lady Gaga even once! On a similar note, I highly recommend this from The Onion: http://www.theonion.com/video/time-announces-new-version-of-magazine-aimed-at-ad,17950/ [theonion.com]

Re:LOLWUT? (3, Insightful)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440704)

Wikileaks isn't journalism because they aren't supported by advertising, nor do they publish anything in daily dead-tree format. How could it be considered journalism? Wikileaks is about facts, not stories.

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440792)

So, journalism is not about facts.
It just has to be a money making operation that kills trees.

Thanks for clearing that up.

Hey Kingsford, did you guys know you were journalists?

Re:LOLWUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440952)

So there is no journalism on NPR or PBS?
Oh wait, you're being sarcastic, right?

Re:LOLWUT? (5, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440440)

Journalism is doing what your corporate sponsors tell you to say.

Keep the voters split and controllable by using hot point issues.

Re:LOLWUT? (3, Interesting)

M. Kristopeit (1890764) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440640)

if anyone tries to control me, i'll respond with my own soft point issues [ammunitiontogo.com] .

"Journalism" today (4, Insightful)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440590)

"Journalism" today is:
  • Present newsbites, not news
  • Present opinions, not facts
  • Never bite the hand that feeds you
  • Present infotainment, not information
  • Embedded propaganda operatives, not objective observers
  • There is no truth, only spin
  • The more biased the "news", the more eyeballs you get

Re:"Journalism" today (5, Insightful)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440768)

and that's why the best news program on tv is a fucking comedy show, they don't hide it

Re:"Journalism" today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440948)

and that's why the best news program on tv is a fucking comedy show, they don't hide it

Second best is also a fucking comedy show.

Re:LOLWUT? (0, Troll)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440626)

Journalism is not an industry, it's a vocation.

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440802)

Corporations in general used to be about bettering society by offering services. It became a vehicle to funnel money to their greedy executives. 30 years ago CEOs gained about 25 more than their average employees, it is now over a 1000 time more than their employees. News has become an industry and is part of entertainment. Journalism may be a vocation, but higher power censor/bend the news for their corporate overlord.

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

nazsco (695026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440642)

better than slashdot, who never knew.

a law can't say "journalists can protect their source, except that tool wikileaks" (at least before bush)

it must forbidden a category, which wikileaks will fall in. So why the summary just mentions wikileaks?

what are they REALLY discriminating agains newspapers? websites? colaboratives websites? what? WHAT? ...don't make me RTFA.

Re:LOLWUT? (2, Funny)

schwnj (990042) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440660)

"We must never forget that the real news is delivered on TV, by real, officially-licensed newsmen. Coming up: How do they get those dogs to talk in the beer commercials? Cowboy Steve will tell you!" - Kent Brockman

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

coastwalker (307620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440786)

Welcome to your prison. Wikileaks is naughty and you can watch it being destroyed on news at ten. It doesn't contribute to the economy (so we are told) so they all deserve to die. And someone will make sure that they do. enjoy.

Re:LOLWUT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440700)

yes.

Re:LOLWUT? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440780)

It's Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck telling it like it is of course!

That has to be a joke (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440188)

Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.'

Only because they have redefined what journalism is so almost all 'journalists' now work to increase page views/advert sales and so tend to publish whatever gossip their owners tell them.

Re:That has to be a joke (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440282)

Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.'

Only because they have redefined what journalism is so almost all 'journalists' now work to increase page views/advert sales and so tend to publish whatever gossip their parent corporations or government tell them.

Clarified that for those that were unsure.

Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (4, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440196)

What does American law have to do with Wikileaks?

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (5, Informative)

metrometro (1092237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440288)

Welcome the very, very messed up world of journalism law in the early 21st Century. Tech advances, the law plays catch up.

Your reading list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libel_tourism [wikipedia.org]

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/26/speech-act-now-a-law-big-win-for-libel-reform/ [discovermagazine.com]

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_V2BY9JufdkJ:immi.is/%3Fl%3Den%26p%3Dvision+immi.is&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a [googleusercontent.com]

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440300)

It applies if Wikileaks has either people in the US or equipment, or if anyone from it's org wants to step foot on US soil.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440318)

What does American law have to do with Wikileaks?

I would imagine that being "foreign" may just mean a different kind of intervention becomes legitimate, which might be why Wikileaks resides in a bunker under a Swedish mountain

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440336)

Correct, so the "law" pretty much say that all foreign journalism isn't journalism in USA.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (5, Insightful)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440364)

US Politicians incorrectly believe that the US owns the entire internet.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (5, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440516)

US Politicians incorrectly believe that the US owns the entire internet.

Actually, there is an acknowledged problem that "American interests" (i.e., US-registered corporations) own and operate a large fraction of the world's international cables, and almost all of the intercontinental cables. So it's easy for the US government to think of at least the "Internet backbone" as US property.

The Internet might be a better place if this problem were fixed.

Of course, the corporate world is slowly becoming a truly international culture that is independent of mere governments, so maybe the problem is being fixed. Whether this is an improvement isn't clear.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440836)

it'll become clear when people are taking corporate oaths of loyalty, pledging allegiance to the logo

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440380)

Maybe what we need is to get get American law set up so that it protects local wikileaks servers that contain leaked docs from, say, Algeria or Iran or China or wherever, and deny extradition of wikileaks people to those countries. Meanwhile, we encourage those countries to set up similar laws that protect wikileaks servers in their domain from actions by the American government. Then we'd have the ideal situation, that every government could be proud of the job "our own" wikileaks subsidiary has done in exposing the evil deeds of the politicians in those other countries. And their wikileaks subsidiaries could return the favor, by telling us about the misdeeds of our politicians.

And we should all support wikileaks' ability to use the latest, strongest encryption and anonymizing software.

We just need to be quiet about this strategy, and work on convincing our local politicians that wikileaks should be supported when it leaks things that embarrass governments that we don't like.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440918)

>We just need to be quiet about this strategy

SHHHHHHHHHHH.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (0)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440486)

That's like saying BMW is foreign, why do they need to obey American safety regulations?

Or even more to the point, I don't think it matters HOW foreign you are, when you publish U.S. state secrets, you better bet American laws apply to you.

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

Josh04 (1596071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440648)

And the same to North Korea!

Re:Ummmm....wikileaks is foreign (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440720)

They don't. There are a lot of high-end foreign automakers that sell cars in the US without any 'required' safety specs met at all. Often these cars are only driven on private property (i.e. race tracks), or never driven at all (i.e. collectors taking them, by trailer, to car shows). It's only when they want to drive them on American roads, they need to meet safety regs. And even then, all they would need are 'collector' plates to ignore the anyway (similar to how old-timey cars can still drive on public roads).

And when someone publishes US state secrets, the US cannot [legally] do anything except deport them. That's why the US government goes after whoever the foreigner got the secrets from.

Bill of Attainder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440218)

If it names someone specifically to be punished, it's clearly unconstitutional.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440348)

It's that the exception reads like it's directed at Wikileaks, not that it names Wikileaks directly. Basically, it's limited to news sources with "editorial control", I believe.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440546)

Yeah, I don't see how they can do it though without specifically naming Wikileaks. All Wikileaks would have to do is begin publishing some sort of "news-like-content" and bam, they'd become shielded.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440830)

All Wikileaks would have to do is begin publishing some sort of "news-like-content" and bam, they'd become shielded.

Alternatively, some enterprising source that already operates that way could selectively source news from Wikileaks. They might occasionally make some donations to keep it going too.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1)

Toksyuryel (1641337) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440880)

Except wikileaks does have editorial control, as they decide what leaks to release, when to release them, how to release them, and format them for easier reading.

Journalists vs. Wikileaks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440220)

Well jeez. I don't know who to root for here. Both are largely arrogant and self righteous groups who think they're doing gods work but are mostly about propping up their egos and bank accounts (just like the rest of us). I'll just have to flip a coin.

Re:Journalists vs. Wikileaks (0, Redundant)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440316)

And what exactly are you doing to make the world a better place? Other than posting anonymous, baseless rants with absolutely nothing to back up your cynical claims, that is.

Re:Journalists vs. Wikileaks (3, Interesting)

darien.train (1752510) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440674)

I show up as anonymous because of a site error I'm currently experiencing, not out of cowardice as the auto-naming system implies.

If you think that most US newspapers are doing a good job just look at those statistics about people thinking Obama is a Muslim.

I thought Wikileaks was pretty cool until it published names of Afgan informants which is certainly not cool for many reasons. SO...both groups are looking pretty crappy these days and it's hard to take a side.

Go ahead and shoot the messenger.

Journalism ain't what it used to be (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440224)

Journalism used to be about taking risks to bring critical public interest information to everyone, with a strong ethic and moral code. Now it seems that to most of the industry, it's about finding out what trouble Lindsay Lohan will get into next.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440420)

The only ones who actually seem to point out the inconsistencies in politicians anymore are the comedians.
Journalists are too worried about getting their access and privileges denied to do anything other than spout the party line for whichever network they're on.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (5, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440442)

Journalism used to be about taking risks to bring critical public interest information to everyone, with a strong ethic and moral code.

On what planet? Here on earth journalism has always been about what will sell papers or garner eyeballs.
 
I mean seriously, the drek quoted above gets posted and moderated 'insightful' every time a story about the media posted - but it is not now and never has been true.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440764)

Sure... but there used to be more of a demand for reporters with courage and integrity.

The problem isn't what is published, the problem is what people buy.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440776)

Selling papers and getting eyeballs is not always at odds with publishing things of vital interest to the public.

When in the past when propaganda has masqueraded as fact, it has often been denounced in history books as "yellow journalism". When investigative reporters have delved deeply into affairs others might wish private, and worked hard to inform the public, it has often resulted in both critical acclaim and very good sales -- such as in the cases of the Watergate scandal and of Edward R. Murrow's opposition to McCarthy.

The journalism that we as a culture claim to hold most dear is investigative reporting of critically important information. (Paparazzi and gossip mags/shows seem to indicate that the Other Kind is highly valued by masses of people too.) Wikileaks does the collection and dissemination of things in a similar vein, though it doesn't editorialize to the same degree that most reporters would need to in order to write an article or produce a TV show. I don't see how it can't be considered journalism, though.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (1)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440804)

You're right - journalism hasn't changed, the culture has. It used to be that a politician being corrupt was the biggest news of the day, and it garnered public outrage. We've gotten so used to this that it's no longer enraging, and it happens so frequently that it isn't interesting to the general public. Celebrities, on the other hand, are always doing something unique and interesting.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440828)

journalism has always been about what will sell papers or garner eyeballs

That's called publishing. Journalism is quite different and is becoming less dependent on publishing, as evidenced by wikileaks.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440596)

Now it seems that to most of the industry, it's about finding out what trouble Lindsay Lohan will get into next.

Well, technically that is actually journalism. Just not very useful journalism. I think you're looking at the past through rose-colored glasses. There has always been yellow journalism, gossip rags, propaganda sheets, etc. It's not like all journalism in the past was a noble effort to advance the public interest.

Re:Journalism ain't what it used to be (1)

dnahelicase (1594971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440676)

Journalism used to be about taking risks to bring critical public interest information to everyone, with a strong ethic and moral code. Now it seems that to most of the industry, it's about finding out what trouble Lindsay Lohan will get into next.

As far as I know, it's actually evolved into a business where you buy story feeds from the AP so that there will be words under whatever headlines you can make so that people and advertising dollars will notice that you exist.

Why... (5, Insightful)

mike260 (224212) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440250)

...do journalists need special bonus rights over and above the standard package?
What is the problem to which this is the solution?

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440402)

A better question is, why is there one class of citizens that are given special speech protections that others are not?

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440636)

actually that's exactly the same question, but oh well.

Re:Why... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440586)

Journalists are granted specific rights which others do not receive. For example, they have the right not to reveal the sources of their information. This is critical to their ability to report on sensitive issues where whistleblowers wish to remain anonymous. Other people can be forced to testify, so long as it isn't against themselves or their spouses, and be held in contempt of court if they refuse. There are other such rights, but I won't go through them all right now. The point is that this shield law is one such right.

Journalists also have additional responsibilities to go along with this. For example, a journalist is expected not to reveal information that is a threat to national security, they are required to protect the identities of minors, and so on. Regular people don't have such restrictions, either.

The logic here is that these are special privileges granted to journalists, and that bloggers and sites like wikileaks do not qualify for them. If everyone who puts up a post about what they had for lunch is suddenly a journalist, then everyone will have those privileges. But those privileges are not intended for everyone, and if everyone has them, they are going to get in the way. Then they are going to get taken away from everyone, including the real journalists.

Re:Why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440706)

But the people working at newspapers and on the tv are not real jounalists. Tabloids and Wikileaks do more real Jounalism than corporate news networks.

Re:Why... (4, Insightful)

gknoy (899301) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440838)

The logic here is that these are special privileges granted to journalists, and that bloggers and sites like wikileaks do not qualify for them. If everyone who puts up a post about what they had for lunch is suddenly a journalist, then everyone will have those privileges

If, on the other hand, the blogger chooses to blog about local political corruption, or the abuses they witness commited by local police, why should they not be accorded the same priveleges and held to the same responsibilities? What differentitates someone who investigates for The Daily Rag from someone who investigates and publishes on his personal blog? How is a newspaper (or Time Magazine, or the WSJ) fundamentally different from a collective of bloggers who have organized to publish information on abuse, corruption, or wartime errors? (I'm not saying that Wikileaks is any of these.)

Mod Parent Up. (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440896)

This.

Wikileaks is not journalism. It has its value, certainly. In some ways it's complimentary to traditional journalism; in other ways it's essentially supplanted or usurped roles held by traditional journalism. But it's not the same thing.

It has freedoms and advantages journalists don't; conversely, it's in our best interest as a society that journalists have some additional protections that the rest of us that aren't journalists don't need. Hell, dictionary.com publishes a lot of information/documents I find useful, but it's not a journalist and doesn't need this shield law either.

Let's also not forget that the greater freedom Wikileaks enjoys also means less checks on its power. Maybe Julian Assange is the second coming of the religious figure of your choice and he'd never allow anything to be published that isn't true or misleading, but that doesn't mean that (insert name of person associated with political group or religious group that you dislike) won't create WhateverLeaks tomorrow and "leak" a bunch of bogus documents with the same freedoms. Our systems of law need to plan for the worst among us as well as the best.

But this is Slashdot, where anything related to Wikileaks mostly qualifies for knee-jerk support or condemnation, as appropriate, rather than any kind of rational analysis.

Re:Why... (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440820)

The problem is that deep coverage is difficult, close to impossible, if would-be whistleblowers can not legally protect their sources.

Sure, immunity to slander anyone and anything referring to an unnamed source is also a problem. As usual, what's need is to find a golden balance.

LOL (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440252)

Wouldn't it be nice if we had politicians who did what's right for once, rather than what's politically expedient?

Yeah, and I want a pet unicorn, too.

Bill of Attainder (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440256)

I do believe that this would be unconstitutional since it would be singling out Wikileaks.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440434)

I doubt it. A bill of attainder is a law that says someone is guilty of something. This law instead grants protection to a class of organizations, then states that a specific organization is not a part of that class.

Might be a due process concern, though.

Re:Bill of Attainder (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440454)

No, they just have to word it such that its vague enough to apply to anyone doing what wikileaks does, not just wikileaks. But, when will congress issue letters of Marque and Reprisal to give fuel to privateers who might attack wikileaks on the high intertubes?

Thin end of the wedge (5, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440260)

If these protections - like being able to film cops at demonstrations - apply only to "accredited journalists" (or whatever you want to call them) then how long will it be before onerous demands are required to gain accreditation?

I understand in some ways why they want to a closed shop and shut out bloggers and other herberts who they perceive as amateurs. But, so the proverb says, be careful what you ask for - you might just get it.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440650)

I'm not sure how you reconcile "free press" with the notion of having to apply for a permit to be a member of the press? It's a little like having freedom of religion, but you have to go register to be a member of one of a group of "approved" churches.

There's precident (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440936)

In many jurisdictions you require a permit to own a gun. You require additional tax stamps to purchase certain kinds of guns as well in all jurisdictions. This has been ruled to be ok per the second amendment. Regulating isn't restricting according to the court.

Now perhaps you disagree, but then perhaps you disagree only in the case of speech. However you can see where this stuff starts sneaking in. When you start trying to do end runs around the Constitution in one area, it establishes precedent to do so in other areas.

Re:Thin end of the wedge (5, Insightful)

Toksyuryel (1641337) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440956)

There actually is a group of "approved" churches. Ones that are on that list are not subject to taxation, while the rest are.

Sickening (5, Insightful)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440264)

Regardless of whether or not you support wikileaks, the method for taking one's rights is to first make a single exception that has some significant support, then follow it by expanding the law to include more and more exceptions, until finally some politician can say, "Well, how do we nail an *exception* masquerading as part of the general public?" and BAM, you have a new, inclusive restriction on your rights. The stable state of laws is always one of all or nothing. The moment you slip into in between, the law will move towards whichever end the government prefers. I don't get how the journalism doesn't understand that by making one exception, they lay the groundwork for more exceptions to be made, until eventually there is no source protection.

Re:Sickening (1)

Somewhat Delirious (938752) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440834)

Exactly. As the article states:

"One of the odors emanating from Washington, D.C., these days is from journalists marking their territory.

Whatever awkwardness previously existed as journalists desiring a federal shield law wooed the legislators they’re supposed to be watching, it’s now worse. In recent weeks, the two groups have publicly joined forces to exclude WikiLeaks from possible protection under the bill. In doing so, journalists have managed both to look territorial and to endanger the independence they’re striving to create."

Like the record industry and the movie industry before it, the news industry seems to be the next to try to get state protection for a business model that is starting to be outdated and is threathened by new models emanating from the internet. Apparently they are even willing to sell out some of the last principles that give them some legitimacy in order to get it...

On a side note, as potential "collateral" wildlife I'd prefer being confronted by a French accordeon player any day, especially when the accordeon players at least has a basic knowledge of history and the ability to learn from it, something that US administrations and their armies have consistently failed to do. I'd also prefer it if the US military stopped promoting people to general who compare war to deer hunting. It does nicely illustrate the attitude of the US towards the rest of the planet though: their own private hunting grounds with civilians as collateral wildlife.... Dehumanization has always been the key when it comes to fighting wars.

Ugh. (3, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440328)

This is unfuckingbelievable. The so-called journalists offering up Wikileaks as a sacrificial lamb should be ashamed of themselves.

This just in. (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440376)

Which part is news? The fact that people, especially "people of business," tend to act in their self-interest, or that the leadership of gigantic news organizations are amoral "business" men and not idealistic journalists desperately fighting for the love of the first amendment?

Gutless Cowards (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440382)

The entire professional news industry & every US reporter, investigator & journalist is a gutless fucking coward for supporting this.

I hope they all die in a fire & soon.

Re:Gutless Cowards (3, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440698)

Or, maybe they're not cowardly, they just don't believe in the same things that you do.

Journalism... (1)

spektre1 (901164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440426)

to paraphrase, is also known as "reporting", or revealing information to the public that may not have been widely known. So how exactly is Wikileaks (and for that matter, bloggers, which are part of the same maligned group) *not* Journalism? Definitions and semantics seem to be a major part of the legal arguments that seem to be made about this topic. And it sounds awfully familiar to the arguments I hear related to the whole "games/art" debate.

Those dirty weasels. (2, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440428)

I can't believe that journalists and newspapers, the supposed guardians of democracy and open society, could somehow believe that it is okay to sacrifice someone else to gain protection for themselves.

I give up... I'm leaving the country. Europe, here I come. Freedom of speech and the press was really all America had going for it anymore... now we're eroding that as well.

It's all about control (5, Insightful)

thewiz (24994) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440432)

Our "friends" at the newspapers like it when they're allowed to keep information from the public and then publish it for the sensationalism. To have someone else horn in on their territory is not to be accepted. In the last 20 years I've seen the "news" business go from fact driven reports to "newstainment". I'd rather read the information that Wikileaks puts on their website and make my own decisions based on the FACTS. Wikileaks is more of a journalist trying to put out the information they get so that we aren't keep in the dark by politicians, TV news monkeys, and the "We'll do whatever our government tells us to do" newspapers.

Apologies for the rant; I just get a little P.O.ed when the big guys are trying to squish the little guys who are willing to show us what's really going on.

Re:It's all about control (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440678)

I agree with you especially since it seems that the news "readers" (I don't even think of them as reporters any longer) are so cozy with those thye are supposed to cover. They all attend the same parties and star-f*** each other.

Re:It's all about control (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440692)

In the last 20 years I've seen the "news" business go from fact driven reports to "newstainment".

Yellow Journalism [wikipedia.org] is nothing new, according to the Wikipedia article, it's been going on since the later part of the 19th century.

Re:It's all about control (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440842)

I find it entirely appropriate that at the center of "newstainment" is "stain".

Ben Franklin is rolling in his grave (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440552)

These laws are designed to protect sources, and yet they want to exempt a specific organization? If you allow this, you give the government the ability to do it to anyone at anytime. Your shield law becomes a useless piece of paper. All the government would have to do is claim you are threatening national security and what judge in their right mind would not see this as the reason why Wikileaks was exempted and claim precedence? Our government should not be afraid of Wikileaks. Part of why we have a country is because a single person/organization told us we couldn't print things they didn't like, and we will allow it now?

Teach the Newspapers a Lesson! (2, Funny)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440558)

Cancel your subscription, or stop buying the paper.... All seven of you...

Re:Teach the Newspapers a Lesson! (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440794)

I wish I could mod you funny. I laughed, thank you!

Re:Teach the Newspapers a Lesson! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440852)

Sorry, that's just me... I bought all seven subscriptions. Guinea pigs shit a lot and clean newspaper was getting scarce.

In an alternate historical timeline (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440588)

Woodward and Bernstein are declared "not journalists", "Deep Throat" is unmasked and secretly prosecuted, the Watergate Hotel remains just another uninteresting building in the District of Columbia, and Richard M. Nixon, after successfully driving to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, goes on to third and fourth presidential terms.

No no no. (5, Insightful)

glrotate (300695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440600)

The whole idea is flawed. There should be no special rights for journalists.

The knife cuts... (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440666)

Apparently Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein are quickly drafting a special amendment that says the law wouldn't apply to "websites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents."

Hmm... So does it mean that a website, hosted in the USA, which is serving as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents, such as secret North Korea documents, would not be protected and so some N.Korean dissident who leaked that information could have their identity revealed by the US Govt at the request of the N.Korean Govt?

Nice.

This is exactly why a "shield law"... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440712)

...is a very, very bad idea.

Wait... I think I missed something. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440736)

Isn’t the easy (and obvious) way to shield your anonymous sources still to just actually not know who they are?

Re:Wait... I think I missed something. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440756)

It is then harder to verify that the source is legitimate.

Re:Wait... I think I missed something. (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440790)

They actually try to do that?

The code of ethics for the industry (3, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440752)

From now on, the Comics Code will apply to all accredited news outlets with the force of law. Everybody else will be ordered to shut up.

Dear Wikileaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440888)

Dear Wikileaks:

The spot's getting hot.

Please move to a syndication model.

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33440898)

I can see it now. Wikileaks is no more, however the founders of wikileaks have opened up a new site names wikileaker.
 
  Good luck playing catch up Fed. govt.

"Shield Law" IS special rights for certain people (3, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 4 years ago | (#33440958)

Sort of funny to see someone write about how the "shield law" is "much needed" and complain that it won't apply to everyone in the same paragraph. The whole point of a "shield law" is to provide special rights for a limited set of people.

For regular folks, if the cops have reason to believe that you know something about a crime, you'll get subpoenaed and required to testify, under penalty of perjury, potentially against your will. Journalists seem to think they ought to be exempt from the regular laws.

You can't give everyone an exemption or they'll claim they were "reporting" when they drunkenly bragged that they knew who killed Mr. Body. That's the problem with the shield law idea.

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