Owen Shroyer doesn’t deny he was present at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He also doesn’t deny he encouraged the protestors as they stormed the building. However, the fact that he asserts he was there as a journalist covering the protest for Infowars makes his case problematic to a liberal government.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has stated that the Justice Department must approve investigations or charges against a member of the news media, but it’s steadfastly refusing to handle the case in accordance with its own regulations. Rather, it told the judge that its regulations were “scrupulously followed” even as they were blatantly disregarded.
The statement led Judge Zia Faruqui, who is handling the case, to wonder what happens when a government body refuses to obey its own rules. Put simply, who watches the watchmen?
Some would say that Mr. Shroyer doesn’t deserve to be treated as a genuine journalist because he combined activism with his journalistic activities. The big problem with this argument is that liberal journalists do the very same thing, and would never expect to face charges based on participation in a protest they are covering.
National Public Radio, for instance, announced in early August that its reporters could take part in protests and activism, as long as the protests in question were approved by corporate overloads. NPR has offered few details on which protests would be approved, but did note that Black Lives Matter protests and gay protests were examples of acceptable causes — even though BLM protests throughout the nation degenerated into violent riots.
Other journalists, such as Joy Reid and Jennifer Rubin, have long abandoned any pretense of impartiality and are using their platforms to dump on conservative viewpoints while extolling liberal ones.
Merriam-Webster defines a journalist as “a person who engages in journalism.” It’s an accurate, unbiased definition of the term, making it clear that far-left, left-leaning, conservative, and right-wing reporters alike are journalists and so worthy of the protection. Sadly, the DOJ has shown that it cares nothing for justice or even its own rules and regulations. The move should alarm anyone who cares about freedom of speech and basic rights.
No government should have the right to define who is (and isn’t) a journalist. If journalists are to be afforded additional protections due to the nature of their work, these protections should be available to all journalists. If not, the government is not really protecting freedom of speech, but rather putting special protections in place for a select group of favored individuals.