When a Maryland Delegate Ignores the First Amendment

It’s beneficial to be the only reporter at a meeting. At a work session of the Carroll County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, a Maryland politician took newspapers to task for their delivery method. And her bill to restrict delivery went further than we thought despite being a First Amendment issue.

At the time in 2008, bedroom communities in suburban Maryland were inundated with newspapers. Especially free weeklies. It was possible that your home could receive The Examiner, The Eagle, The Advocate, The Gazette — all free publications — in your driveway plus whatever paper you paid to subscribe to. If I recall, the Eagle and Advocate had paid to be sent via the mail. Others would be tossed in your driveway.

You can see how this would be a nuisance during rain or on vacation. As a news outlet, you’re having to defend your turf in reporting because you want a job and you want your stories to be read, thus defending First Amendment rights.

In the long-run, this was for naught. Despite a delivery pact being signed, most of these papers aren’t in business. The Gazette shuttered all operations; The Examiner stopped printing papers in Baltimore; The Eldersburg and Westminster editions of the Eagle turned into the Carroll Eagle and was inserted in the Sunday Baltimore Sun; and The Advocate was eliminated as it was owned by the Carroll County Times, which was bought by the Sun.

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