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Opening Arguments

You don't get a pass, press

From the "some of us more equal than others" school of journalism comes this Tweet by one Stefan Becket, the poltics editor at .Mic, about two reporter getting arrested at the scene of unrest in Ferguson, Mo.:

Reporters are granted a privilege by the Constitution. Like it or not, their rights being violated rise about that of an average citizen's.

Woo. Somebody responded that "your work ID and/or the 1st Amendment are not  'don't have to obey police in a riot' cards." I'm guessing he got a ton of pushback like that, because he then deleted the Tweet and replaced it with:

Sorry, that was stupid. Deleted. My point was that the outsized attention is understandable because the arrest crossed a definitive line.

No, he still gets it wrong. No "definitive line" was crossed. The First Amendment confers rights on citizens, not journalists.

One of the issues I've disagreed with Mike Pence on is his push for a national shield law for journalists. People already think we're a bunch of self-important jerks who pretend we can rise above it all. Asserting a special privilege on top of that is not exactly going to warm their hearts. And in this time, when technology allows anybody on the planet to get information out to everybody else on the planet, letting the government define who the "legitimate" journalists are does not seem likely to foster our watchdog function.