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What Price The First Amendment?

“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”.

Words. Simple and direct. No society on Earth had ever heard their like before… they were truly as revolutionary as the revolution that spawned them. It was the beginning of the evolution of the freest, most open and dynamic nation/state in history. Cobbled together from a handful of often cantankerous and contrarily independent colonies. How, then, were these wildly disparate groups of peoples forged into the instrument for truth and freedom that is the United States of America?

We know that we stand on the shoulders of giants. Even a cursory glance through our founding documents reveals them to be the inspired works of thoughtful, highly educated (most of them were reading Homer in the original Greek by the time they were 12 or 13 and doing trigonometry and calculus as well) men who risked everything to birth this nation of free men, against odds that reason said were impossible.

Information was passed from person to person. The papers of the period were mostly one page ‘broadsheets’ which could often be found plastered to the wall of the local tavern. Political views and opinions were often printed in pamphlets which were circulated through the towns and villages. There were no ‘professional’ journalists… only individual Americans speaking their minds and hearts.

The founders realized that a free and independent press was critical to having a free and open society. There is nothing at all in the Constitution, Bill of Rights or the Declaration of Independence that defines journalism. One does not have to pass some sort of litmus test to be a writer or a citizen journalist. At least until now, it seems.

Judge Hernandez

A federal judge has decided to take it upon himself to define what, in his liberally-inspired mind, is the definition of a journalist. He’s already way off the reservation as far as the Constitution is concerned. Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that blogging was not journalism and bloggers were not journalists. It didn’t help that the subject of this legal action was one Crystal Cox, a blogger who is being sued for defamation.

That Ms.Cox was obviously way, way off base is readily apparent when reading the available documentation. The very first paragraph she wrote in the blog in question says it all. She stated, “There are several reasons why I claim Kevin Padrick, Obsidian Finance, is a thug, thief and a liar”. Pretty obvious to me why she’s in hot water. Bloggers and journalists have backed away from this story like it was the bubonic plague.

Responsible journalism and responsible blogging journalism are one and the same thing. The facts are that you will, on any given day, find more truthful, cogent reporting in the journalistic blogosphere than all of the supposed main stream media combined. This uber-liberal Oregon federal judge should break out his copy of the Constitution, open it and read it… something which I’m sure is foreign to him.

This first amendment to our Constitution is the rock to which all of the other amendments are anchored. Protect it we must… protect it we will.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

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