Journalist Protection Act an Unconstitutional and Shameless Political Ploy for Media Attention
“Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, on Monday introduced the Journalist Protection Act to make a federal crime of certain attacks on those reporting the news,” the Congressman’s media flack team announced. “The Journalist Protection Act makes it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury to a journalist affecting interstate or foreign commerce in the course of reporting or in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from newsgathering for a media organization.”
Why is he pushing this, aside from to ingratiate himself with the press (he’s got the Communications Workers of America and the News Media for Open Government coalition giving him thumbs up)?
“President Trump has created a climate of extreme hostility to the press by describing mainstream media outlets as ‘a stain on America,’ ‘trying to take away our history and our heritage,’ and ‘the enemy of the American People,’” the release claims.
You see what Swalwell’s doing here. Understanding that President Trump is an avatar for his supporters, this is an attempt to conflate them with violent haters. And for the life of me, I’m trying to see where Trump is wrong in his assessment.
Still we don’t want people beating up our crusading reporters, do we?
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No, of course not. No sane and honorable person believes in initiating violence in a Bill of Rights culture under rule of law. Certainly no supporter of the Constitution does, and I’d challenge Rep. Swalwell to produce one who has. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to look far to find headlines like:
- Female Reporter for The Hill Allegedly Punched by ‘Antifa’ Protester in Charlottesville
- WATCH: Antifa Beats CBS Journalist In Richmond For Recording Them
- Reporter beaten, spared in Milwaukee riots: ‘Stop! He’s not white! He’s Asian!’
Anybody want to bet me I coudn’t find a dozen more similar links in a couple minutes?
First of all, as legal commentator Amy Swearer points out at The Daily Signal:
“The general police power—that is, the broad authorization to enforce criminal law—is reserved to the individual states by the 10th Amendment. The federal government’s ability to enact and enforce criminal statutes is limited, and must be based on one or more of its enumerated powers.”
And there are already laws in each state against assaulting and/or threatening people.
So Swalwell tries to get around that by claiming this involves interstate commerce. Unsurprisingly, considering he’s a California Democrat, his fidelity to the Founders’ understanding of the Commerce Clause is as fraudulent as his fidelity to their intent for all enumerated powers.
Case in point: Look what an oath-breaking usurper he’s proven to be on the Second Amendment.
Swalwell’s journalist bill raises two other glaring issues:
“Whoever … intentionally commits, or attempts to commit … an act … with the intention of intimidating or impeding newsgathering by such journalist…”
That leaves much open to interpretation. We’ve all seen “snowflakes” demand “safe spaces” because they claim “conservative” speakers make them “feel” unsafe. And I’ve seen plenty of “progressives” claiming to have been threatened by statements of sentiment, rather than intent. There’s a big difference between my saying I predict or hope something happens to you as opposed to I am going to do it to you. And that’s coming from someone who has endured anonymous “pop a cap in yo’ a$$” – type comments on numerous occasions over the years.
There’s also his qualifying definition for what constitutes a “journalist”:
“The term ‘journalist’ means an individual who— ‘‘(A) is an employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity or service that disseminates news or information…”
In other words, if you’re an independent citizen journalist, what Juan Williams disparaged as “just a blogger,” guess who Swalwell doesn’t give a rip about? More importantly, guess which story was broken by “independents” going where “professional” media did not?
I’ve been fighting that “Authorized Journalist” crap for years, and while I’ve since gained generally-recognized credentials, I’ll always remember the time before I did, 22 years ago. That’s when I was threatened with arrest for trying — as Swalwell’s bill requires — “to investigate events or procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest…”
Fortunately, because it’s a lunatic bill everyone knows is just being introduced to get some ink (a lot, actually) to make him appear relevant, Swalwell’s attention-seeking gesture is going nowhere. While GovTrack hasn’t posted a likelihood of enactment prognosis yet, my prediction is the percentage will be in the single digits. Feel free to revisit that link in a few days and see if I’m close.
There’s another general observation that needs to be made, and that is how the press seems to believe it is above accountability for its role in promoting subversion. Per Pat Buchanan’s latest:
“These people are political enemies posturing as journalists who create ‘fake news’ to destroy me, says Trump. Enraged media, responding, reveal themselves to be not far removed from what Trump says they are.”
Instead of “MSM,” I’ve taken to calling them the DSM, which stands for “Duranty/Streicher Media.” Walter Duranty was The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning (!) apologist for Stalin, who helped cover up the communist dictator’s engineered mass starvation in the Ukraine, and who portrayed Great Purge victims as guilty. And Julius Streicher was a prominent anti-Jewish propagandist for the Nazis who ended up on the end of a rope after being convicted at Nuremberg.
“Just a blogger,” colleague and friend, the late Mike Vanderboegh, on occasion saw fit to remind journalists that media figures like Streicher had been held to account before, and that doing so in time of conflict was now a U.S. policy initiated by one of their “progressive” political heroes. He called it “Bill Clinton’s Rules of Engagement,” observing:
“Bill Clinton changed the American rules of war as they then applied. The Serbs were being recalcitrant, so, in his frustration, he decided that the politicians, the news media and the intellectuals who laid the predicate for the enemy’s war effort were legitimate targets of war.”
In other words, it’s in their self-interest to not stoke the fires of rebellion to where American citizens are left with no choices but to surrender all pretexts of principles and obey clearly tyrannical orders — or say “Nuts” and start pushing force back with force of their own..
Swalwell and his media fanboys would probably consider that idea the kind of threat his bill would mete out severe punishment for. At the risk of becoming a target (I know, it’s probably a little late for that), I’d call trying to do that a huge mistake.
Let’s instead rely on the framework for peaceable redress designed by the Founders, one with limited delegated powers for the national government, powers compliant with “the supreme Law of the Land” for the states, and respect by all for the Bill of Rights.
Let’s make sure full due process — along with a right to keep and bear arms that shall not be infringed — applies to all: You, me, and hell, even politicians and journalists.
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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”