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Bloviating Zeppelin: Blogging From Prison?

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Blogging From Prison?


It depends on which article you read. Josh Wolf, 24, is considered either a blogger or a journalist. He does have a blog at Josh Wolf.net. The URL indicates that it is a blog. In any event:

SAN FRANCISCO--A freelance journalist and blogger was jailed on Tuesday after refusing to turn over video he took at an anticapitalist protest here last summer and after refusing to testify before a grand jury looking into accusations that crimes were committed at the protest.

Earlier this year, federal prosecutors subpoenaed Wolf to testify before a grand jury and turn over video from the demonstration, held in the Mission District on July 8, 2005. The protest, tied to a Group of 8 meeting of world economic leaders in Scotland, ended in a clash between demonstrators and the San Francisco police, with one officer sustaining a fractured skull.

Wolf, who posted some of the edited video on his Web site, www.joshwolf.net, and sold some of it to local television stations, met with investigators, who wanted to see the raw video.(Click here for more on his role in the video blogging world.) But Wolf refused to hand over the tapes, arguing that he had the right as a journalist to shield his sources.

OPINIONS?

I, of course, have mine and that is this: we in the New Media Blogosphere have to grapple, as do the courts, with the proper placement of blogs and bloggers in the overall scope of media itself. Are we bloggers only? Are we journalists? Are we shills for various corporations? We are all of that and more.

After looking at Wolf's blog and peeking around (and noticing that his mommy, fer Christ's sake, is blogging for him now!), he quantifies and places himself in the category of journalist though he took his degree in psychology from SFSU. He does have some background in journalism having worked, as he writes, for his high school paper, UCSB's Daily Nexus and then at the Santa Barbara Independent. He does not have, however, any experience with what one would normally call the Mainstream Media -- and likely has gone out of his way to not do so.

But here's where the lines begin to merge and the fog of gray, in my opinion, began to take hold within his fevered brain. He saw himself as part of the New Media and under that fell blogging. The fact pattern is that he posted videos of a 2005 anti-capitalist protest on his blog. His video(s) likely contained images of illegal activities during said protest.

My guess is that he features himself not quite under the guise of Mainstream Media and, further, features himself oblivious to some forms of law both because of his status as a blogger and a journalist. Though Fornicalia has what is considered to be a state "shield law" from various contempt citations, no such law exists on the federal level.

And that is where Mr. Wolf now sits: under federal authority.

Apparently Mr. Wolf is unaware of the difference.

Let's say I am a blogger. Further, let's say I am precisely Mr. Bloviating Zeppelin and have taken the same video of the same event and posted it on my blog. Let's say that one day I am contacted by authorities who want to sneak a peek at my raw footage. Would I say yes? Would I say no? Would I magically consider myself a "journalist" and take my stand?

Folks: I'm no journalist. I'm just a fat guy with a free account in Blogger who enjoys seeing my own words in print. But I'm also sufficiently sagacious to know when to comply with a reasonable request, for good reasons, from my local authorities.

When we as bloggers enter the atmosphere of real journalism and we through all appearances attempt to portray ourselves as journalists then I shall assume that there is a leaning towards the consequences of our actions to be "journalist-like."

To turn a current phrase to ol' Josh: "Yo dude; what were you thinking?"

BZ

7 Comments:

Blogger TexasFred said...

And ALWAYS remember to preface ANY negative remark with: "And in MY opinion", we all have one, and most of em stink too...:)

Thu Aug 03, 08:54:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Aw c'mon TF, yours don't stink -- predominantly I LIKE 'em!

BZ

P.S.
When you're Right, you're RIGHT.

Thu Aug 03, 09:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Amendment I

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.

-Note that freedom of speech is for the People, not 'the press'.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

-Note that only those things given in the Constitution to the Federal Government is to be used by the Federal Government and nothing shall impinge upon all OTHER rights, which are held by the People.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

-Note, your State may try to regulate freedom of speech. It is not theirs to do so as it is held by the People.


No protected class of Citizens known as 'the press' or 'journalists' are mentioned.

The act of disseminating information is known as 'publishing'. The Web and Blogs are publishing.

An individual may be: journalist, commentator, analyst, reprobate. But as a Citizen of the United States you are a Citizen FIRST and retain the rights to ALL of those professions. Using them *responsibly* is your own business.

You have the right to remain silent.

When you speak you are held accountable for your speech be it verbal or published. That is the responsibility of YOU as a Citizen.

Anonymous speech that is not slander or libelous is *protected* as a Right. That is something held by We the People to use on Our own and is well respected and established from the very foundation of the United States. It may be hateful or derogatory, but it *is* protected.

'Journalists' and 'the press' and 'publishers' get *nothing* more than I, as a Citizen, get. There is no higher individual amongst the Citizenry, save those elected to or appointed to Public Office, and even *they* are accountable as Citizens for their activities.

The gentleman in question wishes to remain silent. That is his RIGHT.

The State has need of information and has used due process of law to subpeona that information or otherwise ask it of him as is necessary for investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing. He may remain silent. He may also remain silent in jail as that is due process at work. That is what we have given the State to get information vital to criminal investigation.

If you give 'the press' a free pass on that, you are then giving them *more* by virtue of mere trade than I get as a Citizen.

Needless to say I am *against* 'press shield laws' and all FOR using one's right to silence.

But then, I have strange thoughts.

Thu Aug 03, 03:08:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

I'd have no problem complying with what they requested. Heck i'd be flattered they took the time to read it .. LOL

Thu Aug 03, 06:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger The Best [ Ghostface ] said...

TO Bloviating Zeppelin,

Good analysis I agree with you on this, and also in other fields you have people who get involved and when they are facing the consequenses they don't want to play.

Fri Aug 04, 02:03:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Gayle said...

Hi BZ.

I certainly wouldn't be stupid enough to not reply with their request. I think perhaps he needs to learn a bit of humility.

Fri Aug 04, 02:10:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Stacy said...

Realistically, someone was hurt. If there is video existing that shows this assault, it should be made available. If if were a protester who was the one injured, you can bet for damn sure he'd be showing that video; to the highest bidder even. Law enforcement live a tough life.

Fri Aug 04, 07:12:00 PM PDT  

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