Ben Swann talks about a statement Senator Chuck Schumer about who will and will not be covered by the proposed media shield law. Would Glenn Greenwald be covered?
For months, we've been covering the story about how US senators have been talking about a need for a clear media shield law, but now one senator has admitted that actual journalists probably won't be covered at all.
The idea of a media shield law is flawed from the get go. Some people think it's a good idea to have a law that expressly states that journalists cannot be compelled to give up their sources to courts or to law enforcement.
However, members of the US Senate have now used discussion of a media shield law as a way to actually define who is a journalist and who is not.
Over the course of the past few months, politicians have been saying that amateur journalists simply don't count. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explicitly stated that he wasn't sure if bloggers deserve First Amendment protections.
Senator Dianne Feinstein insists that "real journalists" draw salaries from big, corporate media companies. Otherwise she said she could not extend the privilege of being called a journalist to just someone online.
When WikiLeaks first became a big deal, those working on legislation worked hard to makes sure the WikiLeaks would not be covered by media shield laws.
As I said, the shield law was flawed from the beginning, but how do we know that the shield law won't protect journalists?
Consider what New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D) said last week.
Schumer discussed the bill's provisions and how, if it became law, the shield law might affect journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported on the NSA secret surveillance, based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
"It's probably not enough protections to (cover) him, but it's better than current law," Schumer said.
That is exactly the problem. We already have a media shield law in place. It's called the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
By these senators "needing" to define protections, what they are actually doing is defining who is not protected. If Glenn Greenwald can be arrested or blocked from reporting on Edward Snowden's revelations about the NSA, therefore preventing that information from being disclosed to the public, then true journalism doesn't exist anymore.
Everything else just becomes state-run propaganda.
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