Friday, May 28, 2010

Regulation of Reporters

Michigan to me is a whacked out place. They are always running commercials in my state about going to work in Michigan or vacationing to Michigan. I have zero desire to do either one. My guess is the vast majority of Americans feel the same way, hence the reason their economy is in a worse slump than the rest of the nation.

But now one of their politicians is coming up with the bright idea of "licensing" reporters. This is a bad idea on so many levels.

First, that pesky 1st Amendment was made so that reporters would not have to fear or kowtow to any politicians. Now, whether a media organization decides to get into bed with the political party of their choice is their decision. That doesn't mean the government should step in to help us out.

Second, who is going to verify that the politicians that license the reporters are of good standing moral character? It certainly isn't a qualification and you can't say that politicians are even more moral and upstanding than the population at large. No need to mention names (Spitzer, Sanford, Craig, Clinton, etc, etc). While some reporters may "not know what they are talking about" some politicians know nothing of what they are making laws and regulations on. At least the reporters are just talking about stuff they don't know.

Third, just because it used for hair dressers, auto mechanics, and plumbers doesn't mean we should license everyone. Frankly, I see no reason to license hair dressers, auto mechanics, and plumbers through the government. Why not let private organizations provide their stamp of approval, you know the ones whose members actually engage in the trade for which they are approving. What do politicians know about hair dressing, auto mechanics, and plumbing?

Fourth, the chance for corruption from this is so great. Want to silence a reporter, just start planting some rumors of bad moral character. Do you not think that cronyism, kickbacks, and corruption reside in every single regulatory agency of the government? Then you haven't been paying attention to the news for the last 2 millenia.

I am not a real fan of reporters anyway. I don't trust most of them, and most of them don't know what they are writing or talking about. That being said, I will stand up for their right (yes, freedom of the press happens to be a right) any day, even though they may not like most of my political views.

The nice thing about the article is that only the one politician is sponsoring the bill and it has next to zero chance of actually being passed. Said legislator is on his way out and wants to start a "discussion." Why not propose a bill to round up people of a certain ethnic orientation that we are actively engaged in combat against and put them in internment camps? At least we have precedent to do that, in spite of being a really bad idea.

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