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"Authorized journalists".

"The Internet," lawyer Dusty Horwitt opines in The Washington Post, "... is burying us in extraneous data that prevent important facts and knowledge from reaching a broad audience."

"The overload siphons audiences and revenue from newspapers," he complains.

"[P]erhaps the best way to limit the avalanche is to make the technologies that overproduce information more expensive and less widespread ... via a progressive energy tax ..."

Ingenious: Tax new media competition to stifle it and keep the dinosaurs on life support. And this guy's serious. Like the function of a privately-owned newspaper is to be a privileged partner of government rather than a watchdog.

And that brings us to a concept l call "Authorized Journalists"--those whom government recognizes as legitimate purveyors of information--to the exclusion of all others.

I first encountered this years ago at a political rally, where Sarah Brady appeared with anti-gun congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA). l went there to get the story for our local gun group's newsletter and was promptly approached by a police official. He let me know in no uncertain terms that questions would only be tolerated if asked by recognized members of the press--even though this event by a public official took place at a public park. I invited him to arrest me (seriously) and he retreated, but the concept of state-sanctioned reporters struck me as chilling, to put it mildly.

I've seen this many times over the years, notably in the case of a gun shop the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is trying to close down over alleged recordkeeping violations. ATF submitted court documents complaining about a supportive customer photographing an inspection as part of a citizen oversight of public employees conducting public business. "The person ... did not have any affiliation with any newspaper or news agency," the complaint read. along with their protest that the photos then showed up on the proprietor's gun rights blog.

ATF is out of step with other federal agencies, as ABC News' "'The Blotter" reported on the CIA, the NSA and federal courts taking steps to recognize bloggers.

Still, government authorized journalism is only half the equation--we also need to look at what the anointed media do with their elite status. Meaning how they slant supposedly straight news stories to fit their anti-gun agenda. And ignore other stories altogether.

Author/economist John Lott addressed this in his The Bias Against Guns, where he demonstrates selective reporting by agenda-driven media and government, what reviewer, economist and syndicated columnist Walter Williams called "sins of commission and omission."

Combine that with an almost astounding ignorance of their subject matter. I'll give you one example--I could literally produce hundreds more from my blog alone.

The news agency AFP published a photograph captioned "An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets which she says hit her house ...' Thing is, they were complete, unexpended cartridges, meaning the photographer and editor were either oblivious or didn't care.

Sounds like just the people we want the government making sure we get our gun news from, doesn't it'?

Visit David Codrea's online journal The War on Guns at
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Title Annotation:RIGHTS WATCH
Author:Condrea, David
Publication:Guns Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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