If you have read Tad Cronn on the fraudulent, bait-and-switch, so-called “media shield law,” then you already understand what is going on.
According to Breitbart.com:
“This is a bad idea and one whose time has not come,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate minority whip, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview. “Believe me, we will not be rolled over.”
Schumer’s “Free Flow of Information Act” passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, and he recently said he already has the 60 votes needed to pass the bill on the floor. “We’ll get a few more Republicans, not many more, but we have the 60 votes,” Schumer told reporters in New York last week.
He’s bluffing, Cornyn retorts.
“If he had the votes to pass it, it already would have been passed,” Cornyn says, adding, “This isn’t about passing legislation, this is about distracting the public’s attention and changing the subject from the failed policies of this administration. I think you could put this in that same category.”
Schumer’s proposal would exempt a “covered journalist” from subpoenas and other legal requirements to expose their confidential sources in leak investigations and other areas.
But who gets to be “covered”? This law doesn’t protect journalists; it restricts and effectively licenses them. As I have written before, the Federal Government already has a media shield law. It is called the First Amendment. That has always been our media shield law and the Supreme Court and lower courts have always referred to it as the legal basis for protecting the media from prosecution and censorship.
To repeat: We already have the First Amendment; anyone who claims we need a media shield law is hoping to weaken its protections or otherwise provide more room for government censorship.
“They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered,” the Texan Republican told Breitbart News. “In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you work for the New York Times they might. Given the changes in the way we get information and the way we consume news, that really smacks to me in essence of government licensing who’s an official ‘journalist’ for the purposes of a shield law and who’s not. If there is one thing I can glean from the First Amendment, it is that government should not be in the business of licensing the news media.”
In practice, defining who is considered a “journalist” and protected under the law from having to disclose confidential sources is a thorny legal problem. On the one hand, the law’s drafters don’t want to provide blanket immunity to everyone. But anointing a government-approved class of scribes cuts against the nature of journalism, which almost by definition is frequently critical of the government.
“It’s totally inconsistent with the notion of a free press and the First Amendment,” Cornyn said.
Yes it is totally inconsistent, which is why Schumer is proposing it in the name of protecting a free press. This is a monstrous bait and switch.
Cornyn says that the bill would very likely exclude bloggers and would definitely exclude citizen journalists and other new media practitioners, those who may practice journalism but not in the employ of a major newspaper or television network, from being government-defined “journalists.” As such, it could end up hurting conservatives because many of the most widely-read new media figures are on the right.
In other words, this law will be used to single out the writers for websites like the Daily Caller or The Blaze for prosecution, while leaving the mainstream liberal media untouched.
Cornyn rightly points to the recent attempt by the FCC to “monitor” the work of news rooms. It is perfectly obvious that Leftists like Schumer have no interest in protecting real journalism. They just want to be able to control the media.