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Registering Journalists

There have been a number of proposals in state legislatures that journalists need to be registered and the press monitored to "pervent terrorism." The logic is if guns or gun owners have to be registered, why not journalists? What are your thoughts?

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SageDave 7 Apr 12

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I think it was Benjamin Granklin who said, (I'm paraphrasing here) " Peopel who are willing to give up freedom in the name of security will get and deserve neither."


It is a shame that colleges have classes one can take such as ethics! We have "balancing a checkbook," but it doesnt have the impact as having to teach ethics. It should be mandatory.

The University of Missouri School of Journalism has two classes concerning journalistic ethics. I have noted such classes in other J-Schools around the nation.

@SageDave I was referring to classes on ethics in general, not specific to journalism. As an English graduate, I am aware of the classes required for a journalism degree, and have believed conscience journalists are guided by the tenants for the degree. It is why someone against the first amendment is so dangerous in such a high office. To spread such lies and vitriol and then lay it on the press by someone in charge of "leading" our citizens is frightening. Guns can be stolen and used without the owner's permission, journalists' learned skill cannot. So what purpose is supposed to be achieved by registering journalists?


Skip registration and just send them all to Gitmo.

May as well get this farce over with and dive right into the totalitarian oligarchy we’re heading for.


I eat more game because it is healthier and doesn't make me sick. However none of it was brought down by an automatic weapon. That's reserved for two legged game. As for hournalists, Dan Rather said it best.

I'm pretty confident Dan Rather's statement was meant to make a distinction (re: quality of the product) and never intended to support registering journalists!

@crazycurlz he's not supporting the idea. He's saying there is a difference between a commentator which is mainly what we have now and an actual journalist. In any case, I think regulating, complying and creating any dossier on journalists is a violation of first amendment rights granted in the constitution and the second we allow this; we leave the door open to more losses.

@Angelface I understand what HE was saying. (That's a given with Dan Rather). Apparently, I didn't understand what YOU were saying. The way you posted this, it appeared to me you were twisting his words into an anti A1 remark. It appears I was mistaken.


What a horrible idea. I suppose people should register their religion too, you know, to prevent terrorism. The logic follows.


I do believe that journalists need thorough training and a commitment to objectivity. Many in the right wing media, including Fox News, are not journalists, but propagandists.

All the media are propagandists. Very little objectivity. They all have their agenda.

@Thomas3 There is one helluva difference between the right wing media and the mainstream media on the issue of objectivity. It appears that you are falling victim to what those right wing media are trying to do.

@Thomas3 don't we all have our own agenda? Sometimes, we all make is being able to analyze facts with opinions, that we get clear on a least for that time bring! Would you agree?

@Freedompath When I taught at the college level, I started my classes with the statement " I try to be as objective as possible, but I do have biases or learnings toward certain positions. To my knowledge these are my biases *( and I would state them). them)..." Please analyze carefully what I say and take what I say with that forewarning."

Similarly, journalist should also make their assumptions and biases clear. Right wing "journalists" arte incapable of such honesty.

@wordywalt I am not sure the 'right wing,' even understands the concept of 'objectivity,' and the provoters, calling themselves journalist, need to identify themselves as such! As they are just a bad, kind of intertainment, under the label of journalism! And, having knowledge on mental illness...this does real harm to people and to this country! But, it is hard to rearrange, 'twisted minds,' of the likes of some of those journalist at Fox! I have heard people repeat ideas...word for word that Fox spews! I wonder how this kind of mind altering, can ever be stopped? Few people would listen, if they were being televised from an insane asylum and yet that is kind of distortions they are promoting!


Who the hell made that connection . So american. melt all the effing guns now ! And report the findings !

The connection was made by a lawmaker in NC and another in Tenn. Both far-right Republicans and both "good Christians," by their own admissions.


That way lies fascism.


Yeah the Supreme Court won't let that happen. Good luck with that. Define journalist. I write opinion editorial. I don't do investigative journalism.

are you suggesting that this might be legitimate for some types of journalism and not others?

@crazycurlz what I mean is that you could make the case under such a ridiculous idea of a registry is that anyone who blogs or writes opinion is a “journalist”. The nature of new media creates a lot of vagaries as to who is a professional writer and who is not.

thanks for clarifying, @jperlow a registry is a self serving tool, mccarthy era . agree

I too write a biweekly column for a local newspaper (Columbia Missourian), but there is research done for all of my columns. The "facts" must be verified before going off on a subject.

@SageDave Is it so improbable to require sources for reporting? Of course, confidential sources would be a problem.

@EllenDale Not improbable but certainly required if one is to have a meaningful "conversation" through the Op/Ed pages. The reason I write is to start the conversation, not to convince others that I am right and they are wrong. The better the sourcing of information, th more verifiable, th better the Op/Ed column - even if you disagree with the premise.

@crazycurlz Some consider a professional journalist as one who gets paid for their time and effort. The "citizen journalist" writing for a local paper is not considered part of the club. On the other hand, my paper has issued me a press pass and has given me access to individuals and subjects my fellow citizen journalist do not have.

Should the citizen journalist and/or bloggers be treated differently than the profession as it pertains to a state or national registry? I believe that registering these people is a violation of the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause and registering professional journalist would violate the Free Press Clause.

@SageDave I need more time than I have tonight to think through what you're saying, the distinctions you're making. this is the really scary domestic piece of trump in office...registering journalists threatens our democracy. Just the threat threatens our democracy. You are so close to this issue, I hope you'll post more...what are the chances he can pull this off, move it beyond a threat? wouldn't he have done this by now if it was possible? Why are the republicans allowing things to go as far as they are.
ugh. lots of questions, Dave. Hope you'll share as much opinion as you're comfortable sharing. important to discuss! Thanks for piping up


Journalist's have a set of rigid ethics they must abide by to be published. It is drummed into them throughout college courses and in the job. If they violate these rules they lose their jobs, and the standards that give them the credibility to have the job in the first place. They all recognize the importance of the job. To suggest that they need to be treated like this is a thug tactic to hide the truth and that is a terrorist tactic right there.


That is the stupidist idea, that another stupid person ever came up with. If that were necessary, then attorneys and accountants and even doctors would need to be registered! Everyone is already registered one way or the other!


No..1st amendment trumps all others..which is why it's the 1st.

While I agree with your sentiment, I think it’s specifically stated in the constitution that the order of the bill of rights holds no meaning.

@indirect76 perhaps..

It was the third Article in the twelve proposed articles of amendment that were sent to the states for ratification. The first concerned the number of members of congress, the second about their pay. The first has never been ratified, the second is now the 27th amendment. I don't think Congress was too worried about the order.


They have been glorifying the facts way too long it is time they pay the piper.

when the free press goes, so goes our freedumb

@crazycurlz Oh so it is ok to have gun control but the press is allowed to cause mass hysteria?

'mass hysteria'?

your statements leave no room for discussion. we can only agree to disagree. I won't engage with someone who's not open to self-reflection or growth. You have chosen your side and want to fight it. Find another sap


As a journalist, I believe that the courts have declared that a free press is essential to a growing and fair democracy. The courts have also held that the Second Amendment can carry certain provisions (no machine guns, no military style long guns, waiting periods and gun registration) and legal in the eyes of the SCOTUS. Real journalists, those who practice the ethical collection and dissemination of news, are the Fourth Estate, giving checks and balance to the three branches of government.

Absolutely agree.

Until we get a president who thinks he is entitled to "alternative facts" which as noted above get reported as News. Not sure of the solution...

Very well said.

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