One of the worst senators in the nation, Dick Durbin (D.Ill.), wonders whether the First Amendment covers bloggers in the above video. I can understand why Durbin brings this up. First, because Durbin is a Democrat hack. Originally elected to Congress from the congressional district including Springfield, Illinois, Durbin ran as a pro-lifer, defeating pro-abort Republican Congressman Paul Findley. Realizing that a pro-life Democrat was going nowhere in Congress, he switched to being a pro-abort and now has a 100% rating from NARAL and a 0% rating from National Right to Life. That he is a Catholic is of course of no consequence to him in regard to his politically expedient choice of embracing abortion uber alles. Durbin is a down the line liberal and most contemporary liberals and Democrats hate and fear the new media that does not give them lock step subservience as does most of the mainstream media.
Second, Durbin, a graduate of Georgetown Law School, must obviously be a rotten attorney as the issue of the extent of First Amendment Freedom of the Press was long ago decided by the Supreme Court in Lovell v. City of Griffin (1938). In that case, for a unanimous court, except for Benjamin Cardozo who recused himself, Chief Justice Hughes wrote:
The liberty of the press is not confined to newspapers and periodicals. It necessarily embraces pamphlets and leaflets. These indeed have been historic weapons in the defense of liberty, as the pamphlets of Thomas Paine and others in our own history abundantly attest. The press, in its historic connotation, comprehends every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion. What we have had recent occasion to say with respect to the vital importance of protecting this essential liberty from every sort of infringement need not be repeated. Near v. Minnesota, supra; Grosjean v. American Press Co., supra; De Jonge v. Oregon, supra.
This is in complete accord with the intention of the Founders. In their time news sheets were small affairs, put out by printers to supplement their income through advertising. In effect they were the equivalent of bloggers who have adds running on their blogs. Pamphlets and handbills were commonly printed at private expense by any person or group who wished to communicate ideas to the public. In the years leading up to the Revolution, patriots had organized Committees of Correspondence to inform the public of the dangers from British encroachment on American liberties. The Founding Fathers would have been the very last to restrict freedom of the press to professional, or paid, journalists, who in any case were very few in number in their day. Durbin either does not know this, in which case his bone ignorance is a wonder to behold, or he is a threat to fundamental American liberties.