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The Peach State or 'Banana Republic'? Critics Howl Over Georgia GOP's Proposal to Target Journalists With Secretive Ethics Panel


The Peach State or 'Banana Republic'? Critics Howl Over Georgia GOP's Proposal to Target Journalists With Secretive Ethics Panel

Julia Conley, staff writer

Press freedom advocates on Thursday warned of dangers posed by a bill put forward by Republicans in Georgia that would create a journalism ethics board in the state and subject reporters to fines if they don't comply with the new rules.



This should, and probably will be, be laughed out of the first Federal Court that looks at it – even one of a hard core right-wing judge.

The First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Fourteenth Amendment, Section I:

1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the prohibitions of the First Amendment constrain the states as well, through the 14th Amendment. To overturn that, would wreak havoc on the entire judicial system. It ain’t gonna happen.

But, to answer the headline question – definitely banana republic.



Me and my wife really dug living in Atlanta for 7 years. But you don’t have to drive far outside the city limits to be in the deep south. We bailed, went back north. Have to say, despite Michigan’s many political struggles, we’re notably more liberal than Georgia.

Up here, we’re suing the pants off ex-guv Snyder and his posse for poisoning Flint.

In Georgia, they’d erect a statue of him at the capitol building.

I miss me some Fat Matt’s ribs, though.



Right out of the ‘ALEC’ playbook.



The Republican Party is just a suicide Cult



Yea- but when are they gonna jump off the cliff and let the rest of us try to go on with our lives in a decent manner?



the good ole boys don’t care about no constitution. Just give em a gun and a confederate battle flag - that’s good enough for them. a lot of these legislators belong at a hillbilly hootnanny not in a legislative body.

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More like a death cult as they are intent on killing everyone else as well.

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It starts with heritage and kids get taught to believe they are superior to others and they do not want “outsiders” intervening in their lives. It comes from being uneducated and not forced to assimilate with others not their reflection in school and church and work. It is changing and it is why white crazies are being crazier because Fox and right wing radio tell them EVERYDAY liberals are coming to raise taxed, take guns, turn America brown. So the go along to get along. Change just pushes their backs further up against the sea; they don’t think they have any where to retreat. I grew up in segregated Mississippi; I know a little about the Deep South and it is changing which is why there are more hate groups today. They are afraid and they have always been afraid because they are not wired for change and a pluralistic dynamic society. But HEY, live our lives and be who we are. It is our world too and change is constant. We have to act fast. peace.



It is a bit late for April Fools jokes so I’m takin this at face value and considering it to high camp political satire. Ethics and Republicans don’t seem to be totally unknown to each other although Republican’ts do not seem to grasp what an ethical thought could be. This sure isn’t one.
Now if they were truly desirous of ethics in government and the press they would make it a rule that any statement challenged as incorrect had to submit at least one reputable source for the statement. To be unable to do so would result in a reprimand. The second, a fine for the instigator of a second falsehood. A third offense to be paid for by the liar’s employer as well for hiring liars and be a significant amount say ten grand, or if the offender was not paid by a broadcaster or publisher then the offender would be responsible for the fine. Repeat offenses by an employer and/or freelancer would be more expensive until the offenders went bankrupt or found truth to be the better way to influence the public. Now this is how you design an ethics committee. It is all in the facts and they better be there no matter who or what one is.



???!!! Doesn’t this fly in the face of the 1st amendment of the Constitution? Freedom of the press means just that, freedom. Of course Georgia does seem a little backward in a few respects. How un-democratic this sounds, at least as presented here. Did I miss something or are these hayseeds that dense? Keep us posted on further updates from the peachiest state.

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Dear Rep Andy Welch: it would make more sense to have an Ethics Board for Politicians.
I would rather do this: my favorite act for new people entering the government. And
I will say this forever: Before you can be sworn in, you must prove that you have read and understood the Constitution—its’ a Pass/ Fail test. And if you fail, you next highest vote getter challenger gets tested, and if that one can’t pass either–then it would seem that civics education is a fail in your state.—and you would lack a rep until the next election. : )



Georgia should redesign the state flag to include a confederate battle emblem and a swastika.

What part of MURKA IS A THIRD WORLD NATION don’t some people understand ?

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You nailed that, reader! Constitutions require too much book learnin’.



more like a homicide/torture cult, dispicable things, them repubs!



Dunno. Hope it’s soon though

Problem is that they are grabbing as many of the rest of us as possible and trying to pull us over the edge with them.
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap



True that. I responded to reader321 on this before I saw your reply. We’re on the same page on this one.



When I first saw the headline in another publication about targeting journalists in Georgia, I was sure it was going to be about the former Soviet republic.