This is Bruce Patterson, a state senator in Michigan, who wants to regulate and license journalists in the Wolverine State, a place that has been Mississippi du Nord for going on three decades now, with massive job losses, population shifts, and an economy that performs somewhere south of Greece. Oh yeah, and a massive budget deficit that shows no signs of turning around anytime this century.
Patterson, reports FishBowl NY, wants to pass a law that
would require license applicants to possess, among other things: 1) "Good moral character"; 2) a degree in journalism; and 3) three writing samples. In our experience, those first two "qualifications" are in no way preconditions to quality reporting. The third may be necessary, but is by no means sufficient.
In any case, Patterson has said that the existence of a license would not preclude unlicensed writers from reporting the news; sounds like he's more interested in putting a state seal of approval on certain organizations/individuals instead. His bill is a response to certain instances of reporting in which the writer has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the issues at hand.
Maybe it's just the honorary Ohioan in me but, Jeebus H. Christ, the things those Michiganders up there think of!
On the up side, when pols of all stripes start yapping about licensing the press—or subsidizing it with public money – maybe that's just a sign that pixel-stained wretches (of absolutely horrible moral character, with no degrees, and likely no "clips") are starting to draw blood. Or at least attention the free-spending, idiotic ways of most statehouses and legislatures. Mebbe.
Is it a good idea for governments to get involved with the media financially and/or in terms of licensing? Obviously no. Watch a vid that makes the point.