The Escalating Assault on Citizen Journalism

In December 1997, after the FBI arrested independent journalist James Sanders for investigating the destruction of TWA Flight 800, not a single reporter at a post-arraignment press conference managed to frame even one First Amendment question. In fact, the Newsday reporter argued the government’s case, insisting the Justice Department found insufficient evidence to declare Sanders a journalist. The fact that Sanders had already written two successful investigatory books did not count. By challenging the media’s defense of a Democratic administration, Sanders all but sacrificed his First Amendment rights. At the time of Sanders’s arrest roughly 40 percent of America was using the Internet. Within 20 years that figure would approach 90 percent. The Internet was the great equalizer. It enabled citizen journalists to report stories that the major media underreported or failed to report at all. As the reach of the Internet grew, the apprehension of the progressive...(Read Full Article)
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