Blount and Hamblen County officials aren't the only politicians who won't to stop public comments.
Some Tennessee legislators accidentally took aim at bloggers recently. To his credit, however, as soon as the accidental filing of an anti-blogger bill in Nashville was exposed, the sponsoring legislator explained that it was all a mistake.
Bill Hobbs, a blogger in middle Tennessee, was one of the first to report that Rep. Rob Briley (D-Nashville) had filed a bill in the General Assembly directed at bloggers and comments posted by blog readers. Hobbs had been alerted to the bill by Donna Locke.
Word spread through the blogosphere, and Briley promptly called up Hobbs and apologized saying it was all a mistake--or more like two or three mistakes. (1) Briley apparently read the bill and then accidentally put it in the "to file" pile. (2) Briley signed the cover of the bill. (3) Then a staffer filed it with other legislation.
When pressed last week about why he would sponsor this bill, Briley said that he had filed the bill at the request of Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knox). He quickly added that he would be withdrawing the bill on Monday, February 5.
Woodson was contacted about the bill by blogger Terry Frank and Woodson said that she had been asked to push for this bill by a law student.
Bloggers aren't perfect--and neither are newspapers, radio stations, or TV outlets. Bloggers, however, are able to provide an inside look and different perspectives about how government works or should work.
Especially in small towns (like Morristown) where there is one newspaper (like Morristown) and where one or more radio stations share ownership with the one newspaper (like Morristown), other sources of information are important.
Nobody has to like blogs. Nobody has to read blogs. But they're there to provide additional sources of information.