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OK -- let's set aside the needless partisan bashing of Ashcroft and Gonzales. I'd trust either of them above any Democrat who has served in that office in my lifetime, and any of the likely appointees of the current Democrat contenders. Besides, such partisanship merely serves to weaken the important argument.
The reality is that the position you stake out is EXACTLY what the Founders would have said on the issue. All you needed to qualify as a "journalist" in the 1790s was a press, ink, and paper. The farce of "objectivity" wasn't a part of the concept, either -- consider folks like Fenno, Freneau, Bache and other editors of the highly partisan Federalist and Jeffersonian press of the era.
Somewhere along the way, America developed this notion of the “journalist” as some sort of royal priesthood, entitled to special rights and consideration that the ordinary rabble did not enjoy. That was, in large part, because of the practical obstacles to publishing a newspaper as our cities and nation grew larger – much less the costs inherent in broadcasting over the airwaves.
But the reality is, as you say, that the freedom of the press is a right that belongs to every citizen. The Internet has now returned us to the days of unfettered exercise of freedom of the press by the people -- and exposed the absurd claims of the "working journalist" to some special status. What makes my work as a blogger (http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu) any less deserving of protection than that of a reporter at my local paper? Why should I be excluded from events or subject to more intrusive searches than said reporter? And why should their sources and promises of confidentiality be granted greater privilege than mine? The answer should be clear to any thinking individual -- NOTHING!