Judge rules Union County blogger is protected by the state's shield law


#1

Judge rules Union County blogger is protected by the state’s shield law
By Tom Haydon
The Star-Ledger
on April 12, 2013 at 6:39 PM, updated April 12, 2013 at 9:57 PM

ELIZABETH — In a decision that could impact bloggers across New Jersey, a Superior Court judge ruled today that a self-declared citizen watchdog who writes stinging critiques of Union County government has the same legal protections as a professional journalist.

While questioning the quality and tone of the writing in Tina Renna’s blog posts, Judge Karen Cassidy concluded Renna “obtained material in the course of professional newsgathering activities” with the aim of disseminating it over the internet.

As such, Cassidy wrote in her opinion, Renna should be covered by the state’s shield law. Under that law, one of the most powerful of its kind in the country, journalists generally cannot be forced to reveal their sources or other sensitive information to law enforcement or grand juries.

This is LONG overdue! Despite self-interested pols’, “journalists’” and MSM corporations’ protestations, bloggers are much more like what the writers of the USC were familiar with (just for fun, find out who “Silence Dogood” was). Right now, some of the best coverage of stories - especially stories the MSM won’t cover because the stories mess with their cherished partisan narratives - is being done by bloggers who don’t work for MSM corporations and don’t have J-School degrees. Such bloggers are bypassing MSM spikings, forcing the MSM to correct egregious falsehoods, shaming the MSM into covering stories they don’t want to cover, and are forcing business model changes on the MSM. There are conspiracy-theorists and other nutcases “out there” too, as there were in the 18th Century when the 1st Amendment was written. The writers of the USC accepted that and tacitly gave Americans the right and responsibility to sort out fact from fiction.


#2

A judge actually protects Constitutional rights rather than redefining them!


#3

Well to be fair in the 18th century the 1st amendment wouldn’t have protected them (at the time it was seen as only applying to federal gov’t)…
But that’s beside the point, this ruling is a good thing; the 1st amendment is one of the most important in my opinion and should be upheld.


#4

This could be one of the most important judicial decisions of our time. Yes, even though Robert Clay is correct that the USC protects from the frederal government, this is still great news. (As he says.)

I’m sure y’all are more than aware of the strong forces out there attempting to censor free speech on the internet - one of the main sources of information - so any pushback is a win for liberty.

–Couldn’t resist. From the article:

With more people writing, however, the definition of journalism becomes blurred.

Honey, that was blurred a long time ago. :rofl:


#5

It was blurred when the MSM realized how much they could make with the news.


#6

Not necessarily disagreeing, but I think the bigger realization was how much they could influence - bordering on control - government policy and socio-political culture through disguising commentary as news, hit jobs and ad hominem attacks, politicized labeling, politicized lies, omission of important facts in stories, and selectively covering (or not covering) stories. To point out at least some tactics commonly used in the national MSM.


#7

The more power, the more self-importance they have, and vice~versa.