The question then becomes what qualifies one as a journalist in the age of new media? Is one required to have a byline at a major media outlet when the perspective of MSM is so skewed one particular way that they’ve tanked public trust?
[Note: This article was originally posted on December 11th, 2011. The IFNM website was attacked by hackers and many articles are now gone from the archives. As a public service, IFNM is now reposting said articles.]
This is certainly scary, although it should scare some of the progressive trolls whose content is built on innuendo and libel.
In a case that’s sending a frightening message to the blogger community, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that a blogger must pay $2.5 million to an investment firm she wrote about — because she isn’t a real journalist.
As reported by Seattle Weekly, Judge Marco A. Hernandez said Crystal Cox, who runs several blogs, wasn’t entitled to the protections afforded to journalists — specifically, Oregon’s media shield law for sources — because she wasn’t “affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system.”
The Obsidian Finance Group sued Cox in January for $10 million for writing several blog posts critical of the company and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick. Obsidian argued that the writing was defamatory. Cox represented herself in court.
The judge threw out all but one of the blog posts cited, focusing on just one (this one), which was more factual in tone than the rest of her writing. Cox said that was because she was being fed information from an inside source, whom she refused to name.
Without the source, she couldn’t prove the information in the post was true — and thus, according to the judge, she didn’t qualify for Oregon’s media shield law since she wasn’t employed by a media establishment. In the court’s eyes, she was a blogger, not a journalist. The penalty: $2.5 million.