Tuesday, September 18, 2007

If I was president...


I was contacted by Zach Edwards from the Nevada portion of the Barack Obama campaign, wanting me to respond, as a blogger, to some thought-provoking questions. Here are the questions, and my answers:
1. Should bloggers be considered journalists? Should bloggers have access to press passes through the same outlets as traditional media? Should they accept press passes?
Yes, yes, and yes. Clearly the idea of the "journalist" has changed in recent years since the advent of blogs. The assumption of bloggers as partisan, or issue-driven, is really a myth spread by the traditional media. I make no attempt to hide my liberal, pro-Democratic ideology. But does that make me unfit to be considered a journalist? No.

Even before Fox News we had agenda-driven journalists. Does anyone think a credentialed reporter from the NRA would be an unbiased commentator? Or how about one from the Wall Street Journal? The difference with bloggers is that we, on both the left and the right (largely) are open about our biases, unlike the aforementioned Fox, which hides behind their "Fair And Balanced" slogan.

2. How do you feel about Net Neutrality? What issues do you think are the most important in the Net Neutrality debate?
The airwaves, all spectra of radiated information, are actually owned by the people of the United States, and leased & licensed, however unfairly, to corporate media. This was why, in the early days of broadcast, we had the Fairness Doctrine.

The internet, while not broadcast through the air in the traditional sense, needs to be open and unrestricted. The minute some ISP is allowed to add a surcharge for certain content, or block content entirely, the same thing can happen to airborne broadcast media. Imagine having basic cable, and having to pay extra for CBS content? For HBO, no problem, as it is not a broadcaster but a content provider. Thus, a surcharge to have a premium cable package is acceptable. But content made available freely everywhere can not be censored nor charged extra for.

3. How do you feel about provisions in the Patriot Act that allow internet communications to be intercepted and analyzed if one party is outside the U.S.? What is your biggest concern about the Patriot Act and internet privacy?

The FISA Court rulings address this issue very well. While I personally find them too intrusive, the fact that they mandate an application for a warrant, although after the fact, is somewhat comforting.

But the wholesale breaking of the FISA Court laws, and the demands for protection from prosecution by telecom companies, is disgusting, hypocritical, and frankly frightening.

Well, that was fun. I asked my contact to try and organize a meet-up with Sen. Obama & L.A. bloggers, so we'll see what happens.