Several Democrats in Congress have introduced the Journalist Protection Act, essentially because the President says mean things about them. But there’s also a nefariousness to this sort of law.
Ostensibly, backers argue that journalists are in more danger than ever — presumably excepting those that are war correspondents or live in repressive regimes that account for most of the world — and its all because President Trump calls them “fake news” and criticizes them by name.
Yes, that is pretty much the argument, along with some very iffy numbers that even with their iffy-ness seem particularly small and inconsequential compared to the proposed federal government intrusion.
California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell, who wrote the bill with more than a dozen Democrat co-sponsors, told CNN — where would he find a friendlier outlet? — the bill is designed to protect “journalists in every corner of our country if they are attacked physically while doing their job.” His bill would make it a federal crime to cause bodily harm to a journalist while he or she goes about reporting.
Further, and more to the political point of the bill, Swalwell accused Trump of creating a “toxic atmosphere,” emboldening people (read: reckless, angry Trump supporters) to attack members of the press. “I really wish I didn’t have to introduce this, but we have seen rhetoric from the president declaring the media as the ‘enemy of the state,’” Swalwell said.
Threats against the media is actually nothing new.
When I was a newspaper columnist, I had plenty of threats. Twice I had death threats — both related to me writing about gay issues. It never occurred to me that I should have special, extra protections that say, a prosecutor, a social worker or a 7-11 clerk does not have. Extra protections for certain people is almost always a bad idea, just as hate crimes are a terrible and dangerous idea when the actual actions are already crimes.
Speaking on an ABC panel on this topic, employment lawyer Sara Blackwell said the bill is unnecessary and in violation of the 10th Amendment’s enumerated powers clause. “The states do make it a crime to hurt journalists. Each state has assault, battery, harassment, threatening laws, all of those kinds of crimes against anyone.” She said it looked more like a “Trump smear campaign.”
The 10th Amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Criminal law and law enforcement is the province of the states under the 10th amendment. There are very few exceptions. In fact, if this bill were ever passed and signed into law — which it most certainly will not be — it would very likely be struck down as unconstitutional.
And the numbers do not suggest there is any real problem for the basic American journalist.
The Freedom Press Tracker, which the Congressman and CNN referenced to show the violence, reports that there were 44 attacks against U.S. journalists while they were doing their job in 2017. There is no context as to previous year’s levels of attacks, as it appears this organization just popped up last year — coincidentally when Trump took office, not when Obama was bugging AP offices in Baltimore or threatening Fox News reporter James Rosin or journalists were being mugged in St. Louis.
Further, the Freedom Press Tracker numbers include 13 journalists who said they were falsely arrested, plus those hit by rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and so on during riots. So, probably incidental. It also includes aggressive video bloggers. One “journalist” named “Rebelutionary Z” shows up multiple times in the 44 count at different demonstrations in different cities. Draw your own conclusions there. This means that the acts of targeted violence for political reasons in 2017 were virtually nil.
Globally, however, its a different story.
Zero from either category were in the United States.
Because there is no problem. There’s just anti-Trump politics.
Rod Thomson is an author, TV talking head and former journalist, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.
Get more stuff like this
Don’t miss a single act of Revolutionary Truth... delivered to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.