Time for Federal Licensing of Journalists

 

shutterstock_276576074It’s overdue. Most important jobs that involve the public have standards — not any old schlemiel can be a brain surgeon or a cosmetologist, you know. A federal credential would not only ensure reporters are vetted so they’re fair and accurate, it would make it easier to deal with those who practice journalism in unorthodox ways.

For example: At many public events, there’s a space for the journalists, so you know who’s reporting on the event; they have tags around their neck, indicating they are legitimate.

But some people think they can just flout the rules and write about something without the necessary tags, and so you get stories like this:

A Donald Trump campaign staffer and a private security guard removed a POLITICO reporter from a campaign rally here on Thursday evening for reporting at the event without the campaign’s permission.

A campaign staffer spotted the reporter typing on a laptop outside of the press pen at the San Jose Convention Center and asked the reporter, who was attending on a general admission ticket, if he had press credentials. The Trump campaign has refused to credential the reporter for multiple events.

That’s how it should be, right? It’s obvious this guy was trying to write something about the campaign, and permission had not been granted. He didn’t get the message. If you don’t have the proper laminated badge around your neck, what makes you think you can write about something?

It would make it easier to do something about those James O’Keefe types, too. They shouldn’t be allowed to do that.

There are 172 comments.

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  1. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Next thing you know campaigns will be herding reporters down the street with rope corrals.

    • #1
  2. Dustoff Inactive
    Dustoff
    @Dustoff

    BDB

    Ridiculous.  No one could be that much of a control freak.

    • #2
  3. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Of course. I guess Donald should look to the Hillary campaign as the way to do press access. He can learn the way it is supposed to be done, since the media never complains about it, or writes stories about it , or comments about it.

    James, the media has chosen sides for decades. Pardon me if I fail to shed a tear, since the media did not when industry after industry was destroyed by the people they shill for.

    Hillary has announced the destruction of pretty much every resource extraction business with the willing media as cheerleaders and you expect some sympathy for rude treatment when the GOP is supposed to submit to proctology by the oppositions agents?

    Sorry, but the comfort of DNC operatives with bylines is not my major concern right now.

    • #3
  4. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    I’m uncomfortable with this story the way it is presented.  Sounds bad; I don’t like it.

    I wonder what the rest of the story is.  Journalism in America has for a long time been a very clubby affair, and has worked as a guild for the left.  Play ball, get a seat.  Play the right kind of ball, get invited to the correspondent’s dinner.  Or whatever.

    Journalism is one of the less-transparent areas of American discourse, with an overarching priesthood defending certain ideologies and temporal factions.  heretics are reduced one way or another.

    What are the “groundrules” this reporter, his organization, and the larger press community operate under these days?  Anything like the 2008 and 2012 groundrules where lefty hack bookwriters were explicitly allowed to leverage “journalism” credentials to gain unprecedented press access inside campaigns and then not report until it was time to sell the tell-all books after the election?  This was an awful abuse of power, an usurpation of the trust placed in journalism by Americans, and an absconding of information which should have been public (that’s what press credentials are for) for private purpose.

    Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment.  This is probably a Bad Thing.  Well, it’s just one in an old long line, as more and more people are beginning to see.

    Trump didn’t bring this trouble.  Politico did, from 2008 and 2012.  Now what were the groundrules?

    • #4
  5. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Ball Diamond Ball: Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment

    As Glenn Reynolds says, just another DNC operative with a by-line.

    I like the new performance artistry on display.

    • #5
  6. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Ball Diamond Ball: Next thing you know campaigns will be herding reporters down the street with rope corrals.

    That was control-freak behavior from the other side.

    If someone outside the corral had been taking notes, should they have been questioned and removed from the event?

    • #6
  7. KC Mulville Inactive
    KC Mulville
    @KCMulville

    Don’t worry. Microsoft and Facebook will address all your concerns.

    • #7
  8. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    James Lileks: If someone outside the corral had been taking notes, should they have been questioned and removed from the event?

    If they had, I doubt it would have been news worthy, since it would have made the media’s chosen candidate look bad.

    When I see a press that cares more about Lois Lerner, the Benghazi dead, the mysterious complete lack of security by Hillary and her regular list of proven lies than Trump’s  old girlfriends, call me about the press being treated unfairly.

    Until then , if you lie with yellow dogs, you smell like yellow dogs.

    • #8
  9. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    TKC1101: James, the media has chosen sides for decades. Pardon me if I fail to shed a tear, since the media did not when industry after industry was destroyed by the people they shill for.

    Our paper just did a series on the effect on small towns in the Iron Range of mine closures due to the slowdown in Chinese steel production. But there’s good news; a new deal with ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor West and Cleveland Works steelmaking facilities might boost taconite production through 2026.

    “The Media” in general is not “The Media” in specific.

    • #9
  10. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    James Lileks:

    Ball Diamond Ball: Next thing you know campaigns will be herding reporters down the street with rope corrals.

    That was control-freak behavior from the other side.

    If someone outside the corral had been taking notes, should they have been questioned and removed from the event?

    Absolutely not.  After all, that was a public street.  As I understand it, there are no groundrules for walking down the street.  Now do we know what the groundrules were for the Trump event?  Will the public learn the deals that journalists make to stay in the good graces of the powerful?

    As I said, I don’t like this.  It sounds bad.  Well, so far, we have Politico’s side of the story.

    Here’s a stab at a Trump response: “This was a Politico reporter doing Politico business in breach of an agreement which Politico signed, and which every other outlet seems to have no problem adhering to, not only at my My events, but at all ticketed political events held on private property.  It’s not like we were just wandering down Third Avenue holding up traffic.  Every campaign has the same groundrules.  Reputable news outlets follow them.  Next question.”

    • #10
  11. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Ball Diamond Ball:Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment. This is probably a Bad Thing. Well, it’s just one in an old long line, as more and more people are beginning to see.

    Trump didn’t bring this trouble. Politico did, from 2008 and 2012. Now what were the groundrules?

    Let’s imagine President Hillary’s security forces removing a reporter from Breitbart or the Blaze or Salem Radio or Town Hall or Hot Air or PJ Media from the audience because they recognize the person, and the person is writing things on a laptop. That’s jake?

    • #11
  12. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    James Lileks: Our paper just did a series on the effect on small towns in the Iron Range of mine closures due to the slowdown in Chinese steel production. But there’s good news; a new deal with ArcelorMittal’s Indiana Harbor West and Cleveland Works steelmaking facilities might boost taconite production through 2026.

    Sounds like a good series. Which party candidate has your paper recommended in the last three presidential elections? Would you say it editorially favors Hillary or Trump? Has it covered the email scandal with any depth? The IRS scandal?

    Would you say it gives fair  and equal coverage to both GOP and DEM presidential hopefuls?

    • #12
  13. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    James Lileks: Let’s imagine President Hillary’s security forces removing a reporter from Breitbart or the Blaze or Salem Radio or Town Hall or Hot Air or PJ Media from the audience because they recognize the person, and the person is writing things on a laptop. That’s jake?

    I understand it is SOP it they decide to. Are you asserting Hillary provides better opposition access than Trump?

    • #13
  14. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    James Lileks:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment. This is probably a Bad Thing. Well, it’s just one in an old long line, as more and more people are beginning to see.

    Trump didn’t bring this trouble. Politico did, from 2008 and 2012. Now what were the groundrules?

    Let’s imagine President Hillary’s security forces removing a reporter from Breitbart or the Blaze or Salem Radio or Town Hall or Hot Air or PJ Media from the audience because they recognize the person, and the person is writing things on a laptop. That’s jake?

    Let’s make that candidate Hillary at a ticketed event on private property — with groundrules.  Good luck to any of the afore-mentioned people getting on the premises to begin with, without credentials, if recognized — due to their status as journalists.  Isn’t that the same thing?  The whole thing stinks.

    Were there groundrules for this event?  I don’t know.  I’m not the journalist.

    Journalism is effectively already federally licensed.  It’s just done in a way that carries no accountability.  You can’t repeal a law that has never been passed, and need not be, because it is already in effect.  Journalists in positions of power (not the local mining news) are part of the power structure, and guard their position and perks.

    Groundrules.

    • #14
  15. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Ball Diamond Ball: Now do we know what the groundrules were for the Trump event? Will the public learn the deals that journalists make to stay in the good graces of the powerful?

    As for the first point, if you want to say that the ground rules state that no one outside of the press pen shall be allowed to take notes, fine; that had better extend to everyone else, and all attendees sign a non-disclosure form upon entering, and agree not to upload any portion of the event to social media. Is that where we want to go?

    As for the second point, I can only speak as someone who was duly credentialed to cover two presidential campaigns and five conventions, and the number of instructions about “the deals” I received was exactly zero. My editors knew I was conservative; didn’t matter. Our paper was the first to put up video of a Code Pink protest at the RNC convention because I had the footage and ran to to the desk before anyone else had it.

    Is the mainstream media liberal? Yes. Does this mean you should discount everything they report? Your choice. Do we cheer small examples of muzzling reporters because we hate The Media? Sure, if we’re inclined to toss out the 1st amendment because some people are using straw purchasers at illegal talk shows to buy assault stories. Think of the children.

    • #15
  16. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    James (may I call you James?), would you have been allowed to report from the site without press credentials?  By both the company, and by event management?  I’m ignorant here — probing for the landscape.  If you’re on the job, are you required to flash the badge, or would you have been okay going in a general admission (or whatever it’s called) and reporting from the cheap seats?

    OTOH, perhaps you could once again pass for Andwoo Sullivan.

    • #16
  17. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    When someone treats you poorly, your sympathy for that person’s troubles is diminished, no? This effect is heightened if the person’s hostility persists.

    Granted the press is not someone. But Mr. Lileks is making a case for the press collectively, not individually. Clearly there are many journalists who have integrity. Sadly, these are scarce lately; maybe they always were. The press have damaged their reputation to the point that it’s hard to take their reporting seriously. Most of it is not designed to inform, it’s designed to advance an agenda or to provide vacuous entertainment for the masses.

    James Lileks: Does this mean you should discount everything they report?

    Pretty much, yes.

    James Lileks: Think of the children.

    Seriously?

    • #17
  18. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    drlorentz:

    James Lileks: Think of the children.

    Seriously?

    No, Lileks is of course riffing.  He may actually be the most conservative of the big-name Ricochet muckity-mucks.  Peter Robinson is more likely to engage on behalf of a slighted conservative point, whereas Lileks will come off the top rope once he’s had enough.

    • #18
  19. Tom Riehl Inactive
    Tom Riehl
    @TrinityWaters

    OK, I clicked on and read the story.  Who is the maligned person?  There is indication of possible misuse of press credentials in the past.  So, is this a case of arbitrary silencing of an individual, or something more pedestrian?  I ask because there is a predisposition towards faulting Trump for everything that occurs at his events.  Honest question…

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Irrespective of whatever was done to the journalist, defending it by saying “Hillary does it too” is a very bad tactic when your sole rationale for your candidate is that he is better than she is.

    • #20
  21. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Percival:Irrespective of whatever was done to the journalist, defending it by saying “Hillary does it too” is a very bad tactic when your sole rationale for your candidate is that he is better than she is.

    My argument for Trump isn’t merely that he’s better than Hillary.

    It’s also that he notices reality, and reacts.

    The so-called press has essentially been nothing more than democrat operatives with bylines for generations.

    They seem to expect that this will never bring consequences, and never should.

    They’re quite happy to be treated like prison inmates by the Hillary campaign, but squeal like pigs when the Trump campaign evicts one of them who won’t play by the rules everyone else agrees to.

    My sympathy is non-existent.

    • #21
  22. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I always thought the attacks on Trump supporters were over the Top,  but I appreciate that this post reveals them to be strong believers in freedom of speech for those they agree with.

    • #22
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    So Trump is following in the footsteps of Obama, who tried to delegitimize Fox news.

    Four more years! Four more years!

    • #23
  24. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    In olden times, a journalist probably would have informed his readers of the name of the other journalist being written about.

    • #24
  25. Robert McReynolds Inactive
    Robert McReynolds
    @RobertMcReynolds

    TKC1101:

    Ball Diamond Ball: Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment

    As Glenn Reynolds says, just another DNC operative with a by-line.

    I like the new performance artistry on display.

    I believe Rush came up with that imagery first.

    • #25
  26. Michael Collins Member
    Michael Collins
    @MichaelCollins

    Federal licensing of journalists would work well along side of so-called campaign reform laws.   That way government could have complete control over the political process -which would finally ensure “fair” elections.   Incumbents get to define “fairness” of course.  I don’t know why anyone would object.   It is a good thing we know in advance that there are no reasonable objections, because once the system is established there won’t be a chance to raise them anyway.

    • #26
  27. Tim H. Member
    Tim H.
    @TimH

    We would absolutely be criticizing the Clinton campaign if it pulled something like this.  Heck, it HAS pulled things like this, and we’ve rightly jumped on its case.  So let’s not do a 180 and act like there’s no problem, no story, and besides, they had it coming, when a campaign on our side does it.  We have principles, and we don’t throw them away because they’re violated by somebody with an (R) after his name.

    James has pointed out a…let’s say “regrettable” incident Trump’s campaign had with the press.  Here on Ricochet, saying that Hillary does it, too, doesn’t work as a defense, because none of us are on her side.  (And because it’s a tu quoque fallacy.)  This is not a left vs. right debate here, and we’ve made lots of criticism of Hillary’s abuse of the press for a long time.

    I was a big critic of the Secret Service’s heavy-handed treatment of citizens during Bill Clinton’s administration. But I was still able to criticize them when it was done under the Bush administration.  (Remember their investigation of Michael Ramirez for a cartoon?)  That’s because I believe this in principle, rather than for partisan reasons.

    If we don’t hold the Trump campaign to the same standards we do Hillary’s, they’re not really “standards.”

    • #27
  28. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    It seems to me that the press, as a whole, is a dilution of ideas. Who you read is very much a consequence of your political philosophy. You can always find a reporter whose interpretation of the “facts” agrees with your preconceived ideas. Any attempt to regulate the press is a bit frightening. Who will set the standards and who will monitor that they are maintained? I find Trump’s behavior every bit as onerous and Hillary’s. They are two of kind, both dishonest. With all news of the campaigns the rule remains: caveat emptor.

    • #28
  29. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I understand the temptation to turn off a free press. Israel often gets much worse treatment than most other countries merely because it is both comfortable to report in Israel, and press freedom is guaranteed. If you eliminate free speech, it becomes much harder to generate the stories that make the country look bad. So Israel gets much worse treatment than do Venezuela or Russia or Turkey etc. etc., especially because the press is hostile to Israel but often sympathetic to dictators. An easy fix is to simply revoke press credentials.

    But there is a real price to pay if you go in that direction.

    Remember that this administration keeps talking about prosecuting people who question global warming. How far behind is suppression of blogs? Especially if we can do it with a reasonable-sounding explanation: “The Fairness Doctrine” or “Press Equality” or “Hate Speech.” Trump himself has said that libel laws should be rewritten to make it harder for people to print whatever they like.

    • #29
  30. HVTs Inactive
    HVTs
    @HVTs

    James Lileks:

    Ball Diamond Ball:Cry me a river if some hack at Politico got the Jorge Ramos treatment. This is probably a Bad Thing. Well, it’s just one in an old long line, as more and more people are beginning to see.

    Trump didn’t bring this trouble. Politico did, from 2008 and 2012. Now what were the groundrules?

    Let’s imagine President Hillary’s security forces removing a reporter from Breitbart or the Blaze or Salem Radio or Town Hall or Hot Air or PJ Media from the audience because they recognize the person, and the person is writing things on a laptop. That’s jake?

    So, you are intending to evoke the Obama Administration’s (when Hillary was part of it) banning of Fox News because—as it publicly expressed—it wasn’t living up to the their definition of a news organization?

    • #30

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