On The Other Hand, Georgia Republicans Who Think Their “Ethics in Journalism Act” Is A Solution To Mainstream Media Bias Are Incompetent

The previous post notwithstanding, “Ethics in Journalism Act” is a cure worse than the disease. It is disturbing to see Republicans imitating Democrats by trying to thwart core Constitutional rights, but there is no other way to describe this exercise in foolishness, grandstanding, pandering, ignorance and/or stupidity.

The Georgia House of Representatives is considering , HB 734, sponsored by six Republicans who have apparently never read the Bill of Rights. if passed into law, it  would create a Journalism Ethics Board with nine members appointed by Steve Wrigley, the chancellor of the University of Georgia—and if he supports this monstrosity, it’s time to send him packing. The board would design a process by which journalists “may be investigated and sanctioned for violating such canons of ethics for journalists, to include, but not be limited to, loss or suspension of accreditation, probation, public reprimand and private reprimand.”

Sure! What a great idea! Put a government-created body in charge of overseeing the content of what journalists write and publish! Why didn’t someone think of this before?

I wonder how many Supreme Court opinions directly or indirectly signal that such a scheme is illegal, impossible, and offensive to our Constitution? A hundred? Two hundred? I wonder how many appellate court and Supreme Court opinions, including dissents, could be cited to support the “Ethics in Journalism Act?” Actually, I don’t wonder at all. There are none, because one of those monkey-human hybrids they are creating in China could figure out that the act is unconstitutional through the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

As unethical, irresponsible and arrogant as the news media is, and as often as they abuse their rights, their immunity from government sanctions and control must be absolute. As Clarence Darrow said, “In order to have enough liberty, it is necessary to have too much.” No aspect of our society fits that description more perfectly than Freedom of the Press.

“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.”

I wonder what part of “make no law…abridging freedom of speech or of the press” Republicans in George don’t understand?


14 thoughts on “On The Other Hand, Georgia Republicans Who Think Their “Ethics in Journalism Act” Is A Solution To Mainstream Media Bias Are Incompetent

  1. Must be one of those “common sense” laws the Dems are always talking about. I guess someone felt it was necessary to “do something”.

    • Of course. No one needs access to a printing press, pen and paper is enough. Home printers should be limited to six copies per document and you should only get them after passing a background check.

      Am I doing it right?

  2. I wonder how many Supreme Court opinions directly or indirectly signal that such a scheme is illegal, impossible, and offensive to our Constitution? A hundred? Two hundred?

    Are there that many? I would have figured that the 1st amendment is so clear that it wouldn’t take very many before the lower and district courts were crystal clear on the matter.

  3. Unfortunately, it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the “living constitutionalist” reasoning that the Constitution must grow change and adapt with changing times should eventually spread to the Republican side of things. It has been the Left’s message for a few years now that the constitution was written in a different time, when circumstances were different, and that it was flawed, because parts of it were compromises to accommodate slavery. In 2014 a law professor even published an article advocating that the Constitution be eliminated, and that we turn to a purely statutory system such as they have in the UK and New Zealand, where fundamental rights can be changed relatively easily, as New Zealand just found out with a swift change in gun laws.

    It should also come as no surprise that, when these tactics of pushing change to keep up with the times have some success, that the other side might adopt them to see if it can push its agenda head by the same means. I had this discussion at some length with an Australian woman who is otherwise a dear friend, but who’s easy acceptance of restrictions on Free speech in the name of civility and keeping hate quiet frankly shocked me as an American. try as I might to explain that we put the Bill of Rights in place for a very good reason and due to some things that history is pretty clear about, all she would say before saying she had to bow out of the discussion because it was going nowhere and we were not going to find common ground, is that there should be a mechanism whereby everyone can get together and decide that certain things should never be said and certain things are just not allowed no matter what for the good of society as a whole.

    • It is clear free speech can be harmful. It is also clear, however, regulated speech is more harmful. As soon as anyone is empowered to control or decide for others that power corrupts or others seek to corrupt those empowered.

      • Regulating any freedom previously guaranteed is a problem. It’s the government saying to the people that it no longer believes they can be trusted, like a parent taking a toy or a privilege away from a child because they can’t be trusted. The thing is, we aren’t children, and the government isn’t our parent. Rights aren’t supposed to be revocable benefits that can be withdrawn incrementally or in toto on the decision of the grantor.

        • Regulating any freedom previously guaranteed is a problem.

          It’s fun to think that this outrageous proposition is a Trojan Horse, intended to garner bipartisan agreement from the Supreme Court that regulation can not be applied to a right – that nothing regulated can be said to be a right – leading to catastrophic unemployment in Washington with little or no governmental safety net remaining to catch the now-free-falling irrelevant, thieving dross (the value of religious charities would be learned by our enemies).

          Consider, even beyond firearms, our rights to own property, earn a wage, own a business, educate children, or build a shed in this light. Mao’s been here a long time. Too bad the less-bad-guys aren’t intellectually capable of hatching diabolical schemes. I’m confident this is too much to hope for. We can be certain they’re being idiots in earnest.

          • I’m going to call your argument a straw man. That single sentence doesn’t say all the things that you are purporting it does in your first paragraph.

            • Maybe my seemingly-absurd conclusion made you think I’m reductio absurdum-ing, but I assure you my opinions are far more radical than you can probably imagine. No, I was agreeing with you and raising your bet with reckless gusto. Imagine a world in which people could simply make things, and exchange those things for other things without involving a crack team of bureaucrats!

              Sometimes I think I’m Gulliver lost in some mad fantasy land…

            • Nope! Agreeing with Steve-O. Phone screens are insufficient media for keeping these things straight. I also further understand the miscommunication. “This outrageous proposition” refers to the intent to regulate the press rather than Mr. O’s quoted text.

  4. Words have power and words are dangerous. Therefore, words should be regulated. The words of journalism carry more weight than normal words, so they need stricter regulation. Journalists should need to undergo background checks, not just into their criminal histories, but their associations and opinions as well. Society cannot allow extremists to subvert public opinions. Journalism is a serious responsibility, so the penalties for breaching ANY journalism restriction should be a felony that also strips the individual of ALL 1st amendment rights for life. We need both federal and state regulation of this. Journalism products (‘articles’) must only be transported from state to state via authorized agencies (media outlets) licensed by the federal, state, and local governments. Each time a journalist submits and product to an authorized agency, they must undergo a quick and simple background check to verify they haven’t recently done anything to justify the revocation of their license and warrant prosecution. Some state and local agencies may require waiting periods between the background check and the product being accepted. The software and hardware used by journalists must be purchased from authorized agencies, licensed, and recorded. Some state and local agencies may require the equipment to mark each journalistic product with a unique identifier, so it can be traced. Many states may only allow journalism licenses to people employed by the state itself. In these states, it is illegal to distribute journalism products unless your job for the state requires it. Journalism may be restricted in location. Journalism will not be allowed on any federal property unless specifically marked. Any journalist setting foot on federally administered property will be prosecuted for a felony. States and localities may restrict journalism at schools, universities, libraries, sporting events, courthouses, banks, and other areas. Please consult your local laws. Businesses and employers may exclude journalists from their property. If a journalist wishes to enter or be employed by such a business, they risk trespassing or more serious charges.

    All the restrictions above have been approved for restricting Constitutional rights. They have been approved by local courts, state courts , state supreme courts, federal courts, and the Supreme Court of the US. If they can be applied to an amendment that state ‘…shall not be infringed.’, how much weaker is ‘Congress shall make no law’? You can just make and alphabet agency do it and then you don’t even have to reinterpret it!

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