Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Mayor had the time to press the flesh,

but not to respond to even one of my questions.
OK, I get it, he's busy.

Had he the time, I would have asked him if he has given any more thought to recognizing the First Amendment rights of bloggers.

His position is that bloggers aren't "the press".
They are not entitled to  First Amendment protection of their free exercise of a Constitutionally protected human right to be "the press".

More specifically, they are not entitled to inclusion in his press conferences.

Had he the time, I would have asked about his violation of our Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty (to be the press) except by due process of law.  His disparate treatment of bloggers, and everyone else who are "credentialed" only by the First Amendment, is not the result of due process of law.  It is at best "allowed" by poorly written law.

Berry has not denied equal access to bloggers by exercising the law.  He does it in utter disregard for the law.

He has sent forth Deputy Communications Director Breanna Anderson as his champion.  She will answer questions for him, about what appears to be a civil rights violation, for no good and ethical reason.

Anderson is the second layer of insulation between the Mayor and the community members he serves.

She works under Dana Gardner who replaced Chris Ramirez as the Mayor's PIO.

Interestingly, Ramirez is now serving in a diametrically opposite role at KOB TV.  He is an investigative reporter whose job it is to get past the Mayor's flacks in order to ask him some questions face to face and on the record, instead of the other way around.

I suspect he can actually do that, because he is "credentialed" by the Mayor, despite the fact, the Mayor has no Constitutional authority to "credential" anyone as a member of the "press".

Membership in the "press" according to the spirit of the Constitution, does not require possession of any trinket or talisman as proof of membership.  I suspect the framers would have agreed that the tenets of liberty put the onus on government to prove that someone isn't the press, before it falls upon a citizen to prove that they are.

Did the political pamphleteers who merited protection under the First Amendment, have to present some proof that they were the press?  Was it issued by the government?  Was the government given authority to deny the talisman without due process?

Would the protection created for the political pamphleteers of that day, have been withdrawn the day they stumbled upon computers and the internet, and put away their quill pens and parchment?

Was it?  Did we miss that meeting?

Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill, it is curious that the Mayor would take such controversial stand over affording bloggers the simple courtesy of inviting them to press conferences.

The Mayor and the leadership of the APS are of one mind when it comes to the meaning of "communication" with interest holders.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but bloggers are anathema to the Mayor, School Board Members and Superintendents, politicians and public servants everywhere because bloggers, beholden to nobody but their readers, will ask inconvenient questions, questions the "credentialed" media won't ask out of fear of losing their "credentials".

photos Mark Bralley

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