Tuesday, September 17, 2013

“Free Flow of Information Act” Targets Independent Journalism

James Tracy
Activist Post

The fact that the US Senate is now defining what a journalist actually is sets a dangerous precedent threatening the present marketplace of ideas that in recent history has been greatly expanded by the internet.

According to the text of an amendment sponsored by Senators Diane Feinstein and Dick Durbin to the proposed “Free Flow of Information Act” (PDF) that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 12, only salaried journalists will be given the free press protections guaranteed to all US citizens by the Constitution.

Under such a law presumably only the news reporters and analysts employed by moderate-to-substantial revenue-generating news entities are regarded as “legitimate” journalists. This is because the Feinstein-Durbin amendment’s wording is especially vague on exactly what type of news organization the writer needs to be affiliated with to be able to comment and report freely.

The major concern with this move is twofold. First, it is fundamentally unconstitutional. The First Amendment unambiguously states that

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

If such legislation achieves passage free speech will be diminished as thousands of independent journalists conducting valid research into a variety of malfeasance and corruption by major institutions may be open to government subpoenas and legal action by those they investigate and report on. Further, such a law paves the way for Congress to formally license journalists, which is close to happening in the United Kingdom.

Secondly, this measure involves more than an oblique targeting of alternative news media and the extremely important work they do. As their coverage and analysis of incidents such as the Boston Marathon bombings and the unfolding Syrian crisis suggests, independent news websites have played significant roles in helping the public to better comprehend the underlying political dynamics and import of such events.

With this Constitutional framework in mind, acts of journalism indeed extend to all forms of political speech, for humans are by their very nature political beings. The ability to accurately observe our world and its many confusing facets can only be arrived at through an often discordant multitude of voices, information, and perspectives that comprise a free marketplace of ideas.

Boehm, Eric. “Feinstein Wants to Limit Who Can Be a Journalist,”Watchdog.org, August 12, 2013.

Huff, Ethan A. “Diane Feinstein is Trying to Eliminate Protections for Alternative Media with Amended ‘Free Flow of Information Act,’”NaturalNews.com, September 14, 2013.

This article first appeared at MemoryHoleBlog.com, the official blog of Dr. James Tracy.

This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Paul J. von Hartmann said...

Preamble to the Bill of Rights

"...in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added..."

Hide Behind said...

Durbin has been sinking too new lows for years now, didn't think he would go low enough to get between Feinsteins thighs, but politics and her money and power has probably seen even odder bed mates.
This is not control of journalist or the trade of Journalism, this is the elimination of free speech and hense free thinking.
If you look close enough you will find multiple cases of news of personal and political financial people is constantly being Manipulated along with news and visual audio. spurces participating incoverups of political natures until after the issue was voted into being.
There was control of press in every nation, in US since at least 1860,s. I have already gone back to asking for snail mail odd place fax and public facilitys mail services.
Haven,t bought an old manual Remington yet but am looking at two different ones.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you pay attention to the names of these unconstitutional acts and bills that are increasingly being passed by Congress......they usually are the exact opposite of what they pretend to be in the first place. I mean, really? The "free flow of information" would make you think that the act is being passed to make more Americans able to become involved in the free press movement and free to report what is not being reported in the main stream media. This is definitely not the case at all!

How can our elected representatives in the US Congress attempt to define what or who a journalist might be in their eyes? Are they seriously afraid of what is being reported in the alternative press?

Why, YES....I truly think that they are afraid. That is why more restrictive laws and acts are being passed! This is why over 40,000 laws are being passed every year....to make every American in this nation a possible criminal. This is why the President has to write up executive orders when he thinks the Congress is moving too slowly.

We no longer have a truly "free" country.....at least when it comes to the freedom of press, the freedom of speech, and the freedom to criticize our Government and how they are running the nation. When the powers that be have to write laws to protect themselves and their ultra-wealthy "friends".....then that is when our political ideals cease to be called a "Democracy" and we are falling further into a state of politics called "Fascism". The corporations run and control our government.......that is the best example of the word!

Anonymous said...

This is fucking insane.

Gus Costello said...

The Constitution was never there for the people... it was there for the manipulation of the people.
Georgie W Bush remarked that it was just a 'piece of paper.'
Georgie should know as it was his kind that orchestrated this fraud.
There were two constitutions.... on was not voted on by the people and the second, that was voted on, placed the people in permanent debt to the bankers of the United Kingdom.... a con of massive proportions.... Gus

Anonymous said...


News false to Feinstein the first amendment grants us all the right to free speech. No where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights are specific rights granted "journalists" that are not granted to all citizens. This is a very very blatant and dangerous attempt at erasing the first amendment. This action is grounds for impeachment. The co-sponsors of this bill are openly and clearly violating their oath of office. They are traitors. of the worst order. This bill and others that attempt to stifle our freedom of speech are direct attacks on our way of life and our freedoms and should be treated as threats as such. Impeachment is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Dianne Feinstein thinks Billionaires should be the only ones who get to decide who gets to be a "real" reporter. ( who else is paying salaries ? )

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know where you think it says this in the bill. I see this story everywhere, but the stories don't actually reference any citations of the bill that would limit it to professional, salaried, or paid journalists. I read the whole thing and couldn't find one part of it that lead me to believe that it would be limited.

Anonymous said...

Vote out all incumbents...

send a message

Anonymous said...

I thought “Free Flow of Information Act” was a joke! How Orwellian!

This proves the real purpose of the bill is to protect the mainstream media, which is largely liberal democrud based!

Anonymous said...

The Zionist owned and controlled mainstream media must be running scared now that more people are getting the true news from independent journalists.
Senators Schumer, Feinstein, and the APAC darling, Senator Lindsay Graham want to shut down independent news. Can their motives be more clear?

FerFer1958 said...

maybe those reporters should create an organization that pays each reporter 1.00 a month. there! a salary! somebody has to think about a loop hole they can use to conform to the law.

Anonymous said...

So, when the western main stream press describes Pravda as State Controlled Media, then it makes perfect sense to describe NBC, CBS, ABC and so on as State Controled Media as well. Such as "State Controlled Media ABC is reporting..."

Janet Phelan said...

Another attack on our freedoms by those who are pledged to honor and protect them. Feinstein has distinguished herself repeatedly as an enemy of the Constitution and liberty. This "Act," however, takes her to new depths of political depravity.

Anonymous said...

This proves the real purpose of the bill is to protect the mainstream media, which is largely liberal democrud based!

Are you that caught up in the left/right sham that you don't recognize its a CORPORATE media and that both sides support it??? Wake up!

scott huminski said...

Big deal, here are 2 state harassment statutes that are under attack in federal court. They make criminal any conduct that "alerts, annoys,harasses"

This blog is a crime under the broad language being attacked in the below case.


Anonymous said...

Who keeps re-electing this loon?

EDwin said...

We, the American people need to meet and greet those senators and hang them for TREASON.
After all, congress has officially declared WAR on the American people and I think we should give them what they want.


S M said...

we need a second American revolution!

Diane R said...

I wonder if these 'liberal' bozos know how close they are coming to mimic the police state.

Anonymous said...

Colorado recalled their senators. Calif you should be next. WHO KEEPS VOTING THIS FASCIST @ITCH back in?

Anonymous said...

What I would say to them, "I AM a FREE-WILL being here on this earth having a human experience. You do NOT have a contract on me in anyway shape or form.... so kindly FO!"
"And if you THINK you do IT IS ILLEGAL. SHOW ME ALL THE LEGAL CONTRACTS THAT YOU THINK YOU HAVE ON ME. Take notice, the whatever you have on me MUST BE signed BY ME, which would be deemed correct BY ME NOT BY some other tom, dick or harry who seem to think 'they' own me, until then BO."
This where I think it is time to take a REAL good-look at these OPT papers I think they just may do the trick in getting these MINDLESS TWITS off our backs, after all 'they' did create these STS(service to self) laws. Sure people may trash these OPT papers, but look at who we are dealing with, MINDLESS-TWITS in the power seats, sheer nut-cases, so let's drown them in their own stupid laws. OPT papers (just so that you know, in a court room situation, there is a law for the common people, which everyone uses but don't get anywhere with it AT ALL. Then there is the corporate law which they use against you in court, that the ordinary lawyers are NOT TAUGHT in law school to, only taught to those who are good at high IQ memorizing and real good at keeping secrets and most of all OBEYING these mindless crooks (ie. high society lawyers, judges etc). Remember that America is a corporation NOT a country and these corporate laws come out of 3 city states: the District of Colombia, London Inner City and the Vatican City, these are your controllers and they are under the jurisdiction of the queen of England and her right-hand pirate mate Evelyn de Rothschild. So OPT papers folks - may be a hard slog and you really do have to get off your derriere, but good to have under your belt, the knowledge ie, just incase folks.

Anonymous said...

A comment here questioned whether the text of the bill really does disqualify citizen-journalists from freedom-of-the-press protections.
It surely does. Read the details, per Library of Congress summary

"Defines a "covered person" as a person (including a supervisor, employer, parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate of such person) who: with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning matters of public interest, regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes on such matters by conducting interviews, making direct observations of events, or collecting, reviewing, or analyzing original writings, statements, transcripts, photographs, recordings, tapes, data, or other information; has such intent at the inception of the process of gathering the news or information sought; and obtains such news or information to disseminate by print, broadcasting, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means."

Only those individuals who REGULARLY act as a journalist are protected. And only if they report on ORIGINAL documents. So, if I receive a credible COPY of information from a whistleblower and put it on my blog, I get ZERO protection under freedom-of-the press.

Few journalists report from inspection of original documents, so even mainstream journalists may not be protected any more.

Evil, evil, evil.

Anonymous said...

Yeah um...,

"Anonymous said...
Vote out all incumbents...
send a message
September 18, 2013 at 6:37 AM"

Your the problem.

Anonymous said...

Your comment was completely sound until you said the mainstream media was "liberal democrud based".... If you think that the conspiracy being committed here is a liberal conspiracy you are a fool.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I'm so tired of people thinking the conservatives are the good guys and vice versa. BOTH sides unconditionally support the corporate agenda

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