Yesterday the US Senate attempted to define who is and is not a journalist. In the process of passing a "Shield Law" to protect journalists and their sources, a fiery debate ensued over just who is a journalist and who deserves the shield law protection.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) was adamant to only extend the protection to "real reporters" and not, she said, a 17-year-old with his own website.
"I can't support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I'm not going to go there."
Matt Drudge, a man who redefined journalism at the dawn of the new media, and continues to lead the industry in traffic and influence took to Twitter to defend bloggers and to hammer the senator:
"Comments from Sen. Feinstein yesterday on who's a reporter were disgusting. 17-year old 'blogger' is as important as Wolf Blitzer. Fascist!"
And Drudge is speaking from personal experience. There was a time when the political and media establishment targeted him as "Public Enemy #1" and his groundbreaking work was derided as the end of journalism. Drudge tweets that even a federal judge attempted to define his work as non-journalism:
"Federal judge once ruled Drudge 'is not a reporter, a journalist, or a newsgatherer.' Millions of readers a day come for cooking recipes??!"
See Video at Breitbart
Media Shield Act Leaves Most bloggers Unprotected From Government Intimidation;Moves On To The Full Senate
A Senate panel on Thursday backed legislation that would offer protections to a broad variety of journalists who do not want to divulge their confidential sources of information.The key point of debate over the bill, which was advanced by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 13 to 5 vote, had been the definition of a journalist.