House Tries to Pass Media Shield Law

Stop the presses. Congress might give reporters a Stay Out of Jail card. Like California, many states have a media shield law that gives reporters the right to withhold information from the courts to protect a confidential source.  But for the last eight years, the Bush administration fought to require reporters to disclose their confidential […]

Stop the presses. Congress might give reporters a Stay Out of Jail card.

Like California, many states have a media shield law that gives reporters the right to withhold information from the courts to protect a confidential source. 

But for the last eight years, the Bush administration fought to require reporters to disclose their confidential sources. The House passed a shield law last year but Republicans in the Senate threatened a filibuster. So today, a bipartisan group in the House re-introduced it, hopeful that this time will be different. “Enacting a federal media shield law will encourage whistleblowers and others with important information to come forward,” explained Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

And there are indications that this time they may have a shot.

For one thing, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, in his confirmation hearings, said he would favor "a carefully crafted law to shield the press" that would leave the Justice Department with "the capacity to protect national security and to prosecute any leaks in intelligence that may occur."

For another, the co-sponsor of last year’s bill was then Sen. Barack Obama.