Sen. Reid filed cloture yesterday on S. 2035, the Free Flow of Information Act, i.e., the federal media shield legislation that would insulate reporters from having to reveal their confidential sources in federal legal proceedings. Give the various maneuverings on energy legislation, omnibuses and get-out-of-Washington-for-August urges, it’s not quite clear what’s going to happen with the bill. Certainly the media have been lobbying for the legislation and action on the bill would gain positive reviews at a time when coverage of Congress is critical.
As we’ve commented before, a badly written media shield bill could leave trade secrets, personnel records and other confidential business information wide open for publication, even if the information was acquired illegally and there was no public benefit to its disclosure.
Senators and staffs of both parties have been looking at this legislation with a serious attitude. Let’s hope that seriousness stays in force, even with the urge to escape town.
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