A new report indicates that the Obama administration handed over half-a-million dollars to their media partners at MSNBC in 2009.
The funds were part of the taxpayer funded stimulus, and served to run commercials during the Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann shows, meant to recruit young liberals for the President’s failed ‘green jobs’ program.
The Labor Department paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal stimulus funds to a public relations firm to run more than 100 commercials touting the Obama administration’s “green training” job efforts on two MSNBC cable shows, records show.
The commercials ran on MSNBC on shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann in 2009, but the contract didn’t report any jobs created, according to records reviewed recently by The Washington Times.
Spending reports under the federal Recovery Act show $495,000 paid to McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations LLC, which the Labor Department hired to raise awareness “among employers and influencers about the [Job Corps] program’s existing and new training initiatives in high growth and environmentally friendly career areas” as well as spreading the word to prospective Job Corps enrollees.
The administration claims that the decision had nothing to do with politics, but it certainly blurs the line of distinction between the main stream media and government. Is it any wonder Rush refers to it as the “State-run media”?
A court ruling last December would seem to indicate that no, bloggers are not privy to the same legal protections afforded so-called real journalists.
Via the Washington Examiner:
This past December, federal judge Marco Hernandez of Oregon issued a ruling in the libel trial of Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that has dangerous First Amendment implications.
Hernandez ruled that blogger Crystal Cox was not entitled to the same protection under media shield laws that other members of the press enjoy. This ruling made it easy for a jury to find her guilty of libel. That result threatens the First Amendment rights of all citizen-journalists.
I would argue that the work being performed by bloggers can sometimes be far superior and more timely than that being manufactured by the main stream media. From my personal experience, every time that I have come across something for the first time on an outlet like MSNBC or CNN, and commence researching, that topic has already been widely covered in the blogosphere.
But we’re not debating quality of work here. We’re debating basic First Amendment rights.
In a terrific op-ed by Jason Stverak, a strong case to apply those rights to bloggers is made:
“… why is this issue so complicated? Bloggers, like all citizens of the United States, have First Amendment rights. Has the definition of a journalist changed? Or has perception and therefore legal definition simply not adjusted to modern technology?”
He adds that:
The public now relies on citizen-journalists to perform an invaluable service to our democracy — serving as government watchdogs.
Media shield laws must be revised to make clear that bloggers and all citizen-journalists deserve the same protection as the city hall beat-writer at the local newspaper.
If you believe that bloggers should be included in a state’s shield laws and granted Freedom of the Press rights, then please sign the petition at Protect Your Voice.
And please read the rest of the op-ed about bloggers and First Amendment rights here…