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House Democrats Propose ‘Journalist Protection Act’

by Countable | 2.6.18

What’s the story?

Thirteen congressional Democrats are sponsoring the Journalist Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to intimidate or assault a reporter while they’re working.

Why does it matter?

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), who sits on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committee, said the legislation was necessary because of President Donald Trump’s rising hostility towards the media.

"President Donald Trump’s campaign and administration have created a toxic atmosphere," Swalwell said in a press release. He added,

"It’s not just about labeling reports of his constant falsehoods as #FakeNews—it’s his casting of media personalities and outlets as anti-American targets, and encouraging people to engage in violence."

The president has described mainstream media outlets as "a stain on America," “trying to take away our history and our heritage,” and “the enemy of the American People.” He’s also retweeted videos of himself body-slamming a person with the CNN logo on their face.

Last month, a man was arrested for calling CNN and telling an operator, "Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down."

The bill is supported by the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and by News Media for Open Government.

What do you think?

Do journalists need a bill protecting their safety? Or are they "a stain on America"? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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Photo Credit: Walmart)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(375)
  • Cinerina
    02/06/2018
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    I wish this weren’t necessary, but we must protect the legitimate press from retaliation and censorship.

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  • Susan
    02/06/2018
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    Absolutely this is needed. When you have a president who disregards the entire constitution including the First Amendment you need to have this stuff codified someplace where he might actually understand it since he’s too stupid to be able to read and understand the very document he’s sworn to protect

    Like (129)
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  • OlderNWiser
    02/06/2018
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    We absolutely need Free Press and journalists must be protected from our Dear Leader #45. His hate mongering and stirring up of violence against journalists —particularly jjournalists of color—targets them for violence, imprisonment, and every denial of Constitutional rights we can imagine. Ask the Water Protectors. Free speech and a free press, not violence, are the necessary rights that protect our freedoms. Ask those living in dictatorships what loss of journalistic freedom does. We are plummeting into a white supremacy dictatorship.

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  • Michael.J.L
    02/07/2018
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    That such a law even has to be proposed shows just far we have fallen from our American values.

    Like (89)
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  • Wendy
    02/06/2018
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    In the current atmosphere I’m afraid that journalists do need protection. I always thought the first amendment did that but the Trump administration only thinks that applies to journalism favorable to them,

    Like (64)
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  • Countryfirst
    02/07/2018
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    Now that there is a racist dictator in the white house and cowards in the republicans we must protect our journalists as well as freedom of speech..welcome to a DICTATORSHIP!

    Like (55)
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  • Joanne
    02/07/2018
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    Journalists protected, once unneeded, now absolutely necessary. Media suppression was one of Hitler’s tactics. We need this to protect our freedom of speech, freedom of the press, a free America.

    Like (43)
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  • Eric
    02/06/2018
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    I think we need an intrepid investigative reporter to look in to whether the recent militarization of local police departments coincides with GOP efforts to dramatically gerrymander districts, while ignoring Supreme Court decisions, while trying to impeach judges who rule against them, while getting the legislative branch to cooperate with an executive branch that is becoming more authoritarian and totalitarian. We can see the playbook of totalitarianism being followed in the executive and legislative branches. We can see these two branches trying to stack the judicial branch, and then ignoring that branch when they can't stack it. We can see the GOP trying to de-humanize and demonize "enemies of the state." Have they also been militarizing local police forces as part of an overall strategy to push for totalitarianism? Vote them all out while we still have a democracy and protect the journalists that shine light on their efforts!

    Like (34)
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  • AnonymousPatron
    02/06/2018
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    Since I am against a Putin-style oligarchy I would be for this bill.

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  • Jennifer
    02/06/2018
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    I’ll say yes to this when we get equal legislation to protect conservative students and free speech advocates on college campuses; until then...ummm, No!

    Like (28)
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  • Walter
    02/06/2018
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    Something ironic about those most suffering from Trump derangement syndrome (aka mainstream media journalists) who’d ask for special protection from hate crimes. They’re not police officers, or military and can’t be said to be protecting us. In fact they’re likely as not to be responsible for spreading hatred via reports backed by “undisclosed sources”. At best they deserve the protections afforded a common citizen as you or I, certainly not more.

    Like (23)
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  • SneakyPete
    02/06/2018
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    It’s an interesting dilemma that our friends across the isle propose...... Do journalists need a bill protecting their safety? Not no but Heck no...... The current laws as written provide more than adequate protections for the media in the performance of their respective (???) unbiased (???) duties. Contrary to what Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said, that the legislation was necessary because of President Donald Trump’s rising hostility towards the media. I’ve a question for Rep. Eric Swalwell. Is this nothing more than an attempt to slander President Trump, while bolstering the “MSM” in return for their continuing biased support of the Democrat agenda through their constant reporting of favorable to the Democratic Cause. They additionally do this through misinformation, distraction, and disinformation reporting of news stories which are detrimental to the President and the Republican agenda. In closing, we seen repeatedly that the “MSM”, print and cable have with,I suspect coordination with Democratic elements, the spreading of “Fake” propaganda to support a common goal of, hindering President Trumps Agenda. 2*6*18.

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  • operaman
    02/07/2018
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    Journalists Protection Act? I’m more willing to throw my vote for “Taxpayers Protection Act. Just a question, will this Act protect “Fake New” Journalists, Antifa Journalist, Liberal/Progressive Journalists or will “Just the Facts” Journalists? Is this Act to support Journalists seeking to report the truth or to suppress the truth? My pet cockroach wants to know if he has to run to darkness.

    Like (18)
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  • Chickie
    02/07/2018
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    Although the 1st Amendment, Freedom of Speech, should protect journalists, because of the toxicity of #45 it is now absolutely necessary! Vote yes PA representatives!

    Like (18)
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  • Liz
    02/07/2018
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    Please remember the reporters that were shot with rubber bullets and arrested for covering the oil pipeline!!

    Like (16)
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  • Guy
    02/07/2018
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    We have courts for this. They already have protection. And we need to ask ourselves, What is a journalist today? Do National Enquirer reporters count as Journalists-and do pushy obnoxious paparazzi count in this group as well? If so, then it is us who need protection from them.

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  • Alyssa
    02/06/2018
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    This is such a waste of time! It’s already a crime to intimidate and assault people - journalists are not above the rest of humanity and don’t deserve extra protections. Are you really using our money to pass unnecessary laws so you can look morally superior?

    Like (13)
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  • Robert
    02/06/2018
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    Pass this act. Journalists are being threatened by Trump and Trumpanzees. A culture of hate for our valuable institutions is developing from Trump’s rhetoric. As we anticipate impeachment, take necessary steps to protect all people who are being bullied.

    Like (11)
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  • Melissa l.
    02/07/2018
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    Protecting a free press is the cornerstone of a healthy republic.

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  • Joseph
    02/07/2018
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    We already have laws for it and it is called assault and we definitely do not need the federal government involved in anymore than they already are which is too much as it is. If being charged with assault did not stop someone from committing the crime passing this law will not either. It is just like stronger gun laws will not prevent the person from getting a gun and shooting someone they already ignored the law against murder

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