Open Letter To Badge-Carrying Journos

To: “Badge-Carrying” Journalists
From: Mitch Berg, uppity peasant
Re:  Here’s My F***ing Badge

Two whom it may etc etc,

Over the past 11 years or so, not a few journos have asked “citizen journalists” to show you their “journalist badges”.

I haven’t eaten Cracker Jacks in years, so I don’t even know how I’d get one.

But as a blogger, here’s my “badge”:  In the SCOTUS case of Lovell v. Griffin (1938), Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote for a unanimous Supreme Court:

“The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press in its connotation comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.”

Given that we uppity bloggers are the ones that actually “defend liberty”, I think that settles that.

That is all.

6 thoughts on “Open Letter To Badge-Carrying Journos

  1. Now Mitch, play nice. You’re showing exactly what the qualifications are for “journalism” and exposing the truth about how low they are is one of their dirty secrets. You’re hurting their feelings and you know that feelings are all that matter to lefties.

    Remember all those journalists in the old black & white movies? You know, from before monopolies took over the media. They had qualifications, too. Bottles of booze, cigarettes, and a bad attitude were all that they needed to show that they were serious journalists. These days you get folks who’ve got college degrees from the department where everyone who failed every other major wound up, but they’ve been indoctrinated into the right group-think so they “pass.”

  2. Interesting question: does a journalist badge require that you contribute original content, as in writing first-hand observations in a journal?

    Is it enough to simply repeat what someone else told you? Reporting what He-Said-She-Said makes you a reporter, but are you a journalist or merely a gossip?

    What if you pay for the gossip instead of contributing your own observations or your own first-hand listening, i.e. subscribe to the Associated Press, then sell the gossip to your own subscribers. Does re-selling paid-for second-hand gossip make you a journalist?

    Hard to see why someone who re-sells second-hand gossip should be entitled to more legal protection than someone who offers original observations or first-hand reporting. Might make more sense to regulate everyone EXCEPT bloggers and gad-flys.

  3. Joe’s comment reprises an argument I got into with a, um, political figure last year. This figure claimed that I wasn’t a journalist – but that he was, because he ran a newspaper.

    Of course, the newspaper ran nothing but syndicated copy, news releases and legal notices. There was no reporting of any kind. While I disdain the term “journalist”, I do more reporting on this blog than the figure’s “newspaper”.

    The badge, literally, was the only qualification he had.

  4. Re: journalism “badges” — it’s a very old story. Here’s a link to a Washington Monthly article from way back in 1986 that features some of the brave work of students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, including my favorite all-time journalistic inquiry:

    One of my fellow Medillos was physically expelled from the Glencoe police headquarters for attempting to reenact the Watergate grand jury memorizing scene from All the President’s Men over some minor traffic case. Another called a local developer and announced, “Hello, I’m doing an expose on your shopping mall.” I got through one particularly uneventful week by ‘filing’ a series of stories saying that a volcano had failed to erupt on Winnetka school property that day; that an ice age had not begun on the soccer fields; that a secretary had spilled a cup of coffee, which informed sources characterized as “an accident.”

    Of course, Medill is considered one of the best journalism schools in the country.

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