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I'm a Conservative Troglodyte who puts more emphasis on common sense rather than political parties.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005

First Amendment Sanctuary an uphill Battle
(how ya like dem Apple(s)?)

Wizbang put up a post that addresses the application of the First Amendment relative to bloggers being forced to divulge the names of anonymous sources, and how the blogosphere fits into the definition of "journalism."

Kevin Aylward gives an overview of the Apple Mac Summons & Complaint on one particular application of the issue. Glenn Reynolds gives an example of "aggressive negotiations" when someone disregards an "embargo" on the release of information that a company (GM) might not want public.

Incidentally, neither party should be looking to the Department of Justice to recognize blogs as "journalists." The DOJ has proven where their loyalties lie in that regard on the Leggett case (although in a bit of a different context). Vanessa Leggett spent five (5) months in jail for failing to identify her sources on a crime novel she claimed to be writing. In failing to turn over her research to prosecutors she was found in contempt by a federal grand jury. It might seem like a stretch to connect this case to the issues raised by Wizbang and Instapundit. However, simply put, if the DOJ does not recognize a blog as journalism a grand jury would, more than likely, be obligated to find you in contempt as well.

"Federal prosecutors contend Leggett was not a journalist and did not fall under the First Amendment's protection of the press. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld her incarceration, noting that neither she nor any other journalist has a qualified privilege protecting confidential sources. "

On a side note, I am aware of Daimler Chrysler, actually, firing two of their Brampton, Ontario employees who released a bit too much information on the, now, common Chrysler 300C to a Forum designated to promoting the Chrysler line (and discussing good and bad). Both, employees were , eventually, reinstated, and members of that forum, have since received preferential treatment inclusive of a tour of the Brampton plant. However, the fact remains that it is continuously more difficult to remain a "John Doe," and the 1st Amendment is not a saving grace in most regards.

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