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Hoefert: Info flows freely

Register • May 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Excerpt: Last Sunday New York Sen. Chuck Schumer announced he has formed yet another “Gang of Eight” in the Senate. This G of E will work on a media shield bill because Sen. Schumer believes the recent Department of Justice controversies have highlighted the need to put rules in place for future leak investigations, as he stated:

“If we can set up these rules, I think we’ll avoid the morass. You always need set rules and an independent arbiter. You have neither now.”

Coincidentally, Part I — Sen. Schumer’s push for this new legislation comes after President Obama’s Senate liaison, Ed Pagano, called the Senator last Wednesday and asked him to reintroduce a version of a bill that Schumer had pushed in 2009 called the “Free Flow of Information Act”.

Which all comes just a few weeks after the media revealed the Department of Justice obtained information about Associated Press reporters and a Fox News journalist as part of its investigations into leaks of classified intelligence.

What a coincidence. 

Coincidentally, Part II — The White House call, the Gang of Eight formation and a possible media shield bill have nothing to do with the current free flow of information given to us by the media.




The free flow of journalistic information our elected leaders mainly want to know is the who, what, where, when and why of free flow sources that are used for a reporters story.

My source, who I will reveal as the Newspaper Association of America, describes the reintroduction of the 2009 bill this way:

“The bill establishes a privilege that would be qualified, not absolute. The legislation sets forth reasonable and wellbalanced ground rules for when a journalist can be compelled to testify about confidential sources, including where information is needed to prevent an act of terrorism or other significant harm to national security. Federal standards are desperately needed to provide uniformity in light of conflicting opinions.”

So, if this bill passes, instead of the Department of Justice doing what it did for the Obama administration, the Obama administration will now have to go to a judge (wink-wink) and request a subpoena in order to do, that voodoo that they do, oh so well.

And they will.

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