On Tuesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wondered if the First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of the press applies to bloggers. After receiving backlash from a number of people, including those who use Twitter, Graham recanted and acknowledged that bloggers are protected by the First Amendment.
“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves,” Graham told reporters Tuesday, echoing sentiments expressed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”
“Whether bloggers count as journalists has mostly been a matter of esoterics for reporter types. But as Congress weighs a media shield law in response to the Associated Press/Justice Department subpoena scandal, the question is gaining an urgency that lawmakers are finding hard to ignore as they turn to writing the bill,” the National Journal said.
Twitchy reported that a number of people of Twitter took the senator to task for his statement.
“Apparently Lindsey Graham needs to re-read the First Amendment,” one person said.
“When did Lindsey Graham turn into Dick Durbin?” Dana Loesch asked.
The staff at Twitchy also weighed in.
“We hate to break to you, Lindsey, but last time we checked, the First Amendment applied to all Americans — from ‘just bloggers’ to dim-bulb senators,” Twitchy said.
By Wednesday afternoon, Graham realized the situation he had gotten himself into and issued a tweet confirming what his critics had been saying.
“Just to be clear, every blogger is entitled to constitutionally-protected Freedom of Speech,” he tweeted.
“Awfully kind of you,” one person said in response.
“It’s jolly nice of Lindsay Graham to grant that bloggers are entitled to the First Amendment,” said the National Review’s Charles C. W. Cook.
This isn’t the first time Graham has crossed paths with the right to free speech.
In April 2011, we reported that the South Carolina senator suggested limiting free speech after a Florida pastor burned a Koran.
“I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” he told CBS’ Bob Schieffer.
- Lindsey Graham: Let’s limit freedom of speech in light of Koran burning
- John McCain, Lindsey Graham attack Rand Paul for marathon 13-hour filibuster
- New Jersey Imam: Free speech critical of Islam a ‘national security threat’
- Chicago policeman to journalists: ‘Your 1st Amendment rights can be terminated’