Kevin Drum brings Bloggers And Shield Laws
back into the conversation because of Federal noises spurred by the Judith Miller jailing in the Plame case. I don't see it as a problem, Miller will get credit for time served when she's convicted and a shield law wouldn't have helped her because she wasn't protecting a source. She confirmed for the public what was already known with a minimum of investigation, her source was "Scooter" Libby. She was refusing to testify about what was said, not who said it, and she has not told the truth.
Shield laws are for the protection of journalism, not propaganda. If you know, or should know, that you are part of a disinformation campaign you are not acting as a journalist.
If Ms. Miller had been acting as a journalist she would have written an article announcing that "senior officials" in the Bush administration are conducting a smear campaign against critics of the intelligence being used to justify a war with Iraq. Ms. Miller reported nothing and denied having been contacted by administration officials to spread the story about Ms. Plame.
If you are attempting to inform others, you are acting as a journalist. If you are distorting or concealing information you are a propagandist. The heart of the matter is the intent of the writer.
Bloggers may be journalists, propagandists, or bystanders, depending on their intent. The same is true of people with bylines printed in the New York Times