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Federal media shield bill sputters in the Senate

The Senate has just voted 51-43, failing to invoke cloture on a motion to proceed to S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act, i.e., the federal media shield bill. The vote was part of the continued maneuvering over whether the Senate Democratic majority will allow amendments to permit drilling on the Outercontinental Shelf and other other pro-energy supply measures.

Sens. Schumer and Specter have new language for the bill, and Sen. Specter includes the text in his statement yesterday. A comment from Sen. Schumer stood out yesterday, too:

[The] definition of a covered person--and this has been one of two areas of some controversy--has been narrowed to ensure that it protects only legitimate journalists, first used in the Second Circuit case of von Bulow v. von Bulow to determine who qualifies as a covered person. Someone who blogs occasionally is not going to get the protection here. Of course, someone on a blog who is a regular journalist but happens to use the blog as a medium will be protected. And that is how it ought to be.

I don't know. Looking at Sec. 10 (2), it appears yours truly would still qualify as a covered journalist. So send all your stolen propriety information here. (Once the law passes, that is.)

On a serious note, yet again no one talks about business concern with the legislation. It's all national security versus reporters.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.