- A Clash of Definitions: YouTube personalities, with a combined audience surpassing major news networks, intervened in a U.S. District Court, challenging a DOJ motion to silence free press. At the core of this debate, who is “press” in the digital age?
- Undermining Independent Journalism: The government’s stance is to diminish independent digital reporters, especially on YouTube, with the Assistant U.S. Attorney calling them “YouTube Personalities.” The brief argues that the 1st Amendment protects all individuals disseminating information, not just failing mainstream media.
- Potential Legal Precedent: Not just a disagreement between a journalist & a Fed Attorney; it reflects the changing landscape of journalism in the digital age & might redefine First Amendment protections.
In a significant move symbolizing the clash between traditional media and the rising tide of independent journalists, a group of “YouTube Personalities“, who together command an audience numbering in the millions, have filed an amicus curiae brief in a U.S. District Court in Florida.
Eric Blandford – “Iraqveteran8888”
Paul Glasco – “Legally Armed America”
Jared Yanis – “Guns and Gadgets 2nd Amendment News”
Hank Strange- @hankstrange
Patrick James – “Baby Face P”
Tim Harmsen – “Military Arms Channel”
Clint Morgan – ClassicFirearms
John Mullally – “KB32 Tactical”
Micah Young – “2a Edu”
John Correia – “Active Self Protection”
Mark Davis – “DLD After Dark”
Kenneth Graham – “Marine Gun Builder”
Scott Wilson – “Drop It Like It’s Scott”
Curtis Hallstrom-“VSO Gun Channel”
Mark Dickinson-“James Madison Audits”
1Joel Persinger- “GunGuyTV”
John Keys and Shermichael Singleton- “GunsOutTV”
Their contention? Defending their First Amendment right to free press.
These YouTubers are seeking the court’s permission to weigh in on AmmoLand News journalist John Crump’s emergency motion to intervene against a gag effort by U.S. Attorney to silence free press.
This move is particularly important as Crump is challenging the U.S. government’s motion which calls for prohibiting the dissemination of a Presentence Investigation Report (PSR). However, behind this legal jargon lies a broader fight about who gets to be considered a member of the “press” in today’s digital age.
The amici curiae, which translates to “friends of the court,” are essentially individuals not directly involved in a case but believe they have relevant insights that could aid the court’s decision-making. The Youtube collective, which includes independent video journalists reporting on issues like the Second Amendment, government misconduct, and the right to bear arms, has a substantial following. In fact, their combined viewership reportedly dwarfs the primetime audience of major news networks.
But why is this case so crucial for these digital influencers? It’s because the government, in its move, has made an implicit suggestion, downplaying the significance of independent reporters, particularly those who operate on Google’s Youtube platform and who don’t associate with mainstream media. This belittling by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Laura Cofer Taylor goes to the extent of referring to them as mere “YouTube Personalities.”
However, as the brief argues (embedded below), the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of the press doesn’t just cater to the aging mainstream media outlets but to anyone engaged in the act of information dissemination. This is particularly significant in a world where the lines between professional journalists and citizen reporters are increasingly blurring.
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First Amendment Fight
The brief also cites precedent stating that the First Amendment not only protects expression but also the public’s right to access information. As the digital landscape evolves, distinguishing between a private citizen and a journalist becomes increasingly challenging. Now, major news events often feature footage from citizen journalists armed with cell phones rather than traditional media crews. The changing dynamic underscores the argument that First Amendment protections shouldn’t be contingent on one’s professional status or credentials or approval of some Assistant United States Attorney.
John Crump is pivotal to this case. While he does share some of his work on platforms such as YouTube, Mr. Crump boasts a long-standing relationship with AmmoLand News, having written over 800 reports since January 2015. The brief robustly asserts his status as a professional journalist. Instances of his investigative work being read aloud in Congress, coupled with his regular features on the One America News Network and Townhall Media’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, further underscore his journalistic credibility.
This case represents more than just a legal dispute between a reporter and an Assistant United States Attorney with hurt feelings. It’s a reflection of the ongoing evolution in the world of journalism. The outcome could set a precedent, reinforcing the idea that in the age of the internet, “we the people” indeed are the press.
US v Ervin Amicus: Eric Blandford, Et. Al., In Support Of John Crump’c Emergency Motion To Intervene
By Fred Riehl and AI tools. Note: The research behind this article was generated using AI technology and may contain some automated content aggregation and analysis.