Failed political candidate and documented obfuscator Joe Miller and Internet crap-stirrer Thomas Lamb have their panties in a bunch because businessman and blogger Andrew Halcro has decided to take advantage of the constitutional protections this country provides for freedom of speech and the press. But wait, Mill-Lamb bawls, he can't do that; he's no journalist.
It's hard to disagree with this conclusion. Halcro is way too smart to be a journalist.
Half the journalists in the country today are morons. They're journalists because they couldn't get real jobs. They drink too much and don't know nothin'. Or they used to drink too much. Now they just eat too much and don't know nothin'. The drinking took place in the better days before they all went gutless and joined the SPJ, known to its members as the "Society of Professional Journalists" and to those who do real reporting as the "Society of Polite Journalists."
The SPJers are prone to wet themselves in panic if some old school reporter asks a tough question at a "press conference," which is where the SPJers go to get their "news" when they're not just getting it from press releases. You see, they're not just morons. They're spoon-fed morons. Public relations is the new "real journalism." Public relations stole the show years ago. Public relations these days does the news.
Take one comment from Spinmeister A, and one comment from Spinmeister B, and put them together into your "fair and balanced" journalism, and never mind if it has any intellectual merit. No wonder Halcro is no journalist. He is and always was a "policy wonk," as they say. He has always been a lot more interested in ideas than the "objectivity" charade.
"Bloggers aren't journalists," he once wrote. "Having a blog simply means I'm a guy with time on my hands, thoughts on my mind and a computer within reach.”
This is the statement Miller, his attorney and Lamb appear to believe is the smoking gun that should lead a court to order Halcro to, in essence, work as a private investigator for Miller, who wants to know who -- if anyone -- in the Fairbanks North Star Borough revealed he'd been a bad, bad boy. When Miller's coworkers went to lunch, the borough's part-time lawyer got on their computers to try and make it look like they were voting in his online poll on who should run the Alaska Republican party. Miller was caught in this subterfuge. His first response was to lie about it.
The borough eventually pried out the truth. Rumors of this surfaced when Miller ran for Senate. Halcro wrote about them. The full and unvarnished story finally came out for all to see after news organizations -- including Alaska Dispatch, but notably not some of the state's other high brow "journalists" -- sued the borough to gain access to Miller's personnel file, showing he'd cheated and lied. Miller believes this public exposure -- as opposed to his cheating and lying -- cost him the job of U.S. senator for Alaska, and he's been on a months-long, lawsuit-driven witch hunt to find out who exposed his cheating and lying.
Maybe if he ever finds any guys or gals responsible, the state can give them a medal for performing a public service.
No mention of 'journalism' in First Amendment
You'd think a West Point-educated former U.S. Army officer would have the honor to simply admit he made a mistake in Fairbanks, and let all this misbehavior fade into the dustbin of history. But not Miller. He seems to have left honor behind when he quit the Army, and he seems to have skipped the basics of Constitutional Law when he went to Yale.
He and his cronies seem to think the Constitution has something to do with "journalists," and now they think they've caught Halcro saying he is not one. Great. I agree. Halcro is no journalist. And here is what the First Amendment to the Constitution says, word for word:
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.
Do you see the world "journalist," "journalism," or "journal" in there anywhere?
A clear reading of the First Amendment reveals the founders of this country wanted the government to refrain from "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press." And those are exactly the activities in which Halcro was engaged, the press in this case being the internet or maybe we should just call it the Interpress. It is both the best thing and the worst thing to happen to news in this country in 100 years because it takes the whole business back to where it began around the time of the American revolution, before big corporations took over and created that bastard called "journalism."
When this country began, the "press" was really just a bunch of guys like Halcro. It wasn't until large, monied interests gained control of the business that the marketers started talking about journalism. It was a great scheme for squeezing out the little guys. Who wants to deal with all those different, individual voices if there is one higher source from which will be delivered “The Truth," the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Goodbye Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." Hello CBS's "Walter Cronkite." Not to badmouth Cronkite. He was grounded in an old journalistic ethic that believed reporters were supposed to challenge the system, but he was equally part and parcel of the corporate news takeover destined to lead to what former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin so beautifully described as the "lamestream media," even if she often missed why it is lame.
It is lame because a whole bunch of those journo-types lack those things Halcro, or for that matter Lamb, bring to the table: Intelligence, a questioning mind, and enthusiasm for the debate. These are good things in a democracy. You'd think Lamb would be supporting Halcro here instead of joining Miller in some intellectual wacko land. Many of the best minds in America today come out of the U.S. military academies; Miller seems to be running a campaign to make himself the exception that proves the rule.
So Halcro is no journalist? Who the hell cares. What is a journalist anyway?
The late Hunter S. Thompson, who is about to be quoted here, probably answered that question as well as anyone. But first a word to parents. Get your children off this website now. Thompson's language is neither nice nor politically correct, but here is what he said:
The press is a gang of cruel faggots. Journalism is not a profession or trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits — a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.
And that's the best of them. A fair number of "journalists" today lack the intelligence of a chimp. I long ago abandoned the idea I'm one of them. I'm a reporter and a writer. I report and I write. I'm no journalist. I guess that makes me like Halcro.
There. Maybe Miller can come after me now. We shouldn't have reporters taking advantage of those First Amendment protections, should we? The First Amendment is reserved for "journalists," right?
Contact Craig Medred at firstname.lastname@example.org
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