The issue of whether bloggers are technically journalists has been discussed since, well, since blogging ever became a thing — and the line between the two is only becoming more blurred. But Sen. Lindsey Graham in some interesting comments Wednesday didn’t seem quite sure if bloggers should even receive First Amendment protection.
Speaking to reporters ,the South Carolina senator asked rhetorically, “Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves?” the Free Times out of Columbia reported.
“Is any blogger out there saying anything — do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”
In general terms, any U.S. citizen is granted freedom of speech under the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment does also say, as Graham is alluding, that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the press. It is this provision that has Graham wondering if it extends to bloggers as he helps draft a new media shield law to protect members of the press after the federal government has come under fire for targeting the emails of Associated Press reporters and a Fox News reporter without warrants.
Making a distinction between a what constitutes a journalist versus a blogger becomes important when the content crosses into national security, Graham explained.
“You can sit in your mother’s basement and chat away, I don’t care. But when you start talking about classified programs, that’s when it gets to be important,” the Free Times reported Graham saying. “So, if classified information is leaked out on a personal website or [by] some blogger, do they have the same First Amendments rights as somebody who gets paid [in] traditional journalism?”
This is a question Graham hopes will be addressed.
(H/T: National Journal)