Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reporter's license: A Michigan State Senator's idea

I'm sure it's frustrating to deal with the new media. So many new faces, so much on-the-job training, but one Republican state senator has taken it one step too far. The proposal by State Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton) is the latest in a long line of politicians who wanted to harness the media.

The idea of a media license sounds like something out of a Soviet Union playbook, but here it is. This probably won't go far, or at least I hope not, but government should stay out of regulating the media. Period.

It makes me nervous that elected officials even feel comfortable talking about it.


Anonymous said...

The story called it a ruse to get the media's attention. It worked.

This senator is actually trying to get at the real problem: term limits have helped to destroy Michigan. Just when newbie congressmen learn enough about the way state government works, what the people want and can live without, they are booted out for other newbies that, until this coming election cycle, get lifetime health care for their extremely short times in office. Good gig, if you can get it. Many of our elected officials, it turns out, were only in it for that personal gain rather than public service.

Hence the budget battles of the last 8 years -- even the congressmen don't understand the state budget because they haven't had enough experience.

Anonymous said...

I have a better idea: An IQ test for elected officials.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if this is an attempt to try to restrict blogging or what they deem as "inaccurate" news on the internet.

inky said...

I never quite understood the term-limit bandwagon. All it does, per the previous poster, is flood the system with inexperienced people who then scramble to game the system by running for other offices and/or jockeying for cushy appointments.

We wouldn't shop for the least experienced cardiac surgeon, would we?

Seems to me the easiest way to term-limit a legislator is to not vote for him/her again. The anti-incumbent activity going on right now with members of Congress and in governor's races shows the democratic process does work.

Anonymous said...

term limits is a republican idea that preys on peoples' desire for a simplistic solution. Surprise. Surprise.

And while we are on a media license idea, did anybody see the proposal in the Michigan Legislature for a newspaper tax?

Introduced by Sen. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton (Who said Democrats love taxes), the bill would require people to pay a "deposit" on each newspaper they buy that is equal to one half the cost of the paper. Publishers would have to set up newspaper collection centers, where people would get that deposit back if they returned the paper. Unclaimed "deposits" would become the property of, you guessed it, the state of Michigan.

Jim of L-Town said...

I'm actually on Inky's side on this issue. Elections are the term limits we need. What we need are better informed voters and a party system that isn't tweedle-dee, tweedle-dum. But I still oppose term limits.

Kevin McKague said...

Ditto on term limits. I'm even opposed to the 22nd Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, let's blame republicans for term limits! Brilliant! Know your history before pointing the finger, anon 11:23. Term limits have been around forever.

In case you didn't know: The Republican Party was born in the 1850s. Looks like you were the one preying on simplistic minds:

(From wikipedia) Term limits, or rotation in office, date back to the American Revolution, and prior to that to the democracies and republics of antiquity. The council of 500 in ancient Athens rotated its entire membership annually, as did the ephorate in ancient Sparta. The ancient Roman Republic featured a system of elected magistrates—tribunes of the plebs, aediles, quaestors, praetors, and consuls—who served a single term of one year, with reelection to the same magistracy forbidden for ten years. (See Cursus honorum) Many of the founders of the United States were educated in the classics, and quite familiar with rotation in office during antiquity. The debates of that day reveal a desire to study and profit from the object lessons offered by ancient democracy.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why this commentary thread turned to term limits. The story is about licensing journalists. It is a reaction to the reality that poorly prepared and under-informed people are being called journalists. Take a look at the newspapers today, there's no stinking news. And what news they do print is usually half the story or in many cases, plain inaccurate. The chances of this becoming law is nill, but the idea is to formulate and create conversation about the changing media in our lifetime. The Flint Journal got rid of the real journalists and hired some darling, lovely just graduated from college folks who don't have anybody with any real institutional knowledge to pass along. And it's happening all across the country. Bloggers think they're journalists, heck anybody with a stinking keyboard thinks he or she is a writer. It's a whole new world folks.

Jim of L-Town said...

Anonymous 00:19: Thanks for returning to the point of the thread. I do see the point and have often been embarrassed, even by my own lack of knowledge on subjects, when asked to cover something.

I get the point that journalism is a profession, but one of the only one that doesn't require some type of certification. Doctors, nurses, heck, even mechanics are sometimes required to take competency tests. Teachers have a rigorous system of certification.

I don't have the answer, but it isn't the government. Perhaps the industry should enforce its own standards.

Then you wouldn't have a situation where yours truly was considered the Oakland Press's chiropractic expert because I covered one speech at the Chiropractic annual convention.

It's worth having a discussion about.

Anonymous said...

Don't we already have a place to dispose of unqualified, incompetent and generally clueless journalists? It's called local TV news.

And as far setting high standards for the profession, no matter what the distribution channel for our content, I'm all for it. Just not through the force of law.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for not posting my last comment. It's good to see you are so fair-minded on this site. As long as those resorting to personal attacks embrace your point of view, post away. Someone challenges that thinking and the comments never see the light of day.

Jim of L-Town said...

Anonymous 14:41: I have no idea what you are talking about. I have not rejected a comment for more than a year, so perhaps the comment you sent did not properly show up. Please try again. I have no problem with comments that are opposite mine. In fact, I welcome them.