Feinstein’s Bill to Kill Free Speech of Independent Journalists ‘Has Votes’ to Pass Senate

Feinstein’s Bill to Kill Free Speech of Independent Journalists ‘Has Votes’ to Pass Senate

March 22, 2014 in Media


Nick Bernabe | The Anti-Media

After fending off numerous attacks on the freedom of the internet last year, activists and independent journalists alike are now facing another hurdle that flies in the face of freedom of the press, the “Journalist Shield Law“. Image credit: davidleesf

Although the bill is being sold by the Obama administration and establishment politicians in both parties as a positive step in protecting free speech, unfortunately the name of this bill is highly deceiving. Remembering just how unpatriotic the Patriot Act was, this new law, although deceivingly named, is likely to crush freedom of speech of any journalist not on a corporate payroll. According to the AP, this is how the bill defines who a real journalist is:

“The bill’s protections would apply to a “covered journalist,” defined as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.

It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a “covered journalist” who would be granted the privileges of the law.”

Essentially, if you don’t work for the likes of the dying mainstream media, the government can (and will) subpoena any journalist to force them to reveal their sources or face prosecution. Apparently, as described by one of the nation’s biggest hypocrites, the First Amendment only applies to some people and the government should get to decide who those people are.  According to the bill, any information that “in purpose, subject matter and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling disclosure of peripheral, nonessential or speculative information.” could potentially be subject to Big Brother’s sticky fingers. You can see the two different versions of the bill here and here and Feinstein’s journalism crushing amendment here.

Feinstein specifically singles out young entrepreneurs who start news websites as well as the Wikileaks organization. You can see what she said in the video posted below:

Truth-Out.org describes the Feinstein amendment as follows

“Feinstein’s suggestion is blatantly unconstitutional. The First Amendment is clear: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” yet here is a member of Congress trying to do precisely that. By applying a strict definition to who can be considered a journalist, Feinstein is not only discrediting, but also destructing independent and citizen journalism.”

This bill later goes on to define how a real (corporate) journalist would go about disseminating information:

“newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast … or motion picture for public showing.”

This language, although dangerously vague, clearly fails to protect any journalist, reporter or blogger who reports via social media. Facebook page admins, YouTube video extraordinaires, Twitter phenoms and top Tumblrers say goodbye to your freedom of speech.

I can’t tell whether this is another corporate jab at the free flow of information or just Big Bureaucracy trying to protect it’s backside from the highly anti-establishment independent media. Either way, this is a dangerous piece of legislation, once again disguised under a misleading name, aimed directly at the growing anti-media movement.

Free Press describes the law

“Most problematically, disclosure can be compelled when the information in question would assist the federal government in stopping or mitigating “other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.” This language could be construed to apply to any number of circumstances, so long as the government argues there is some threat to the limitless concept of “national security.”

Another shortfall lies in how the Act limits the scope of who qualifies as a covered person. Many policymakers want to limit protections to those who make a significant amount of their income and livelihood from journalism. But the federal shield law should cover anyone who provides journalistic services, even if a person is not professionally or regularly employed as a journalist.”

Although the reason for this new media shattering language is still unknown, what is clear is that this bill must be killed. Here is a petition you can sign, maybe they’ll read it. More importantly, call or email your Senators and let them know we want free press not free* press. Support your favorite indy journalists now while you still can. Subscribe to their email lists, donate to them, share their articles and videos and stand together against this corporate bureaucratic power grab. If you’ve been thinking about getting into the independent journalism field, get some blood in the game now before it’s too late. Let’s hit them with everything we’ve got. Here’s a quick guide that we put together for anyone thinking about joining the anti-media movement.

For a more in-depth look at the Journalism Shield Law watch this video starting at 1:10

This article is free and open source. Feel free to republish this article in part or in full with credit to the author Nick Bernabe and a link back to this page. Follow us on Twitter @TheAntiMedia1


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Comment by Christopher on April 2, 2014 at 6:21pm

Feinstein et al., are simply running scared now, and because of their powers of corruption, they will try just about anything - the entire justice system has long since been Coopted (To take or assume for one's own use) by the czars of the corporations - the actors on the political stage are afraid, that they are losing (have lost) control (scheduled programming) over the independent, and or sovereign minds of the people.


While it is undeniable fact that freedom of press is essential ingredient of democracy, it does not mean it will advance the goals of democracy.

Namely, once in this country that now seems far away, radio and television broadcasters had an obligation to operate in the public interest. That generally accepted principle was reflected in a rule known as the Fairness Doctrine. The rule, formally adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 1949, required all broadcasters to devote a reasonable amount of time to the discussion of controversial matters of public interest. It further required broadcasters to air contrasting points of view regarding those matters. The Fairness Doctrine arose from the idea imbedded in the First Amendment that the wide dissemination of information from diverse and even antagonistic sources is essential to the public welfare and to a healthy democracy.

In August 1987 the FCC repealed the Doctrine, claiming that it was unconstitutional, although the Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in 1969 that the Fairness Doctrine was not only constitutional but essential to democracy. As a result, general public is very rarely served with fair and balanced information. The public airwaves serve today no other purpose but to express the opinions of those who can pay for air time. Some authors argue that mainstream media journalism today is a shameful joke because of president Reagan's decision to abolish Fairness Doctrine. Once upon a time, the Fairness Doctrine ensured that the information we receive - information vital to the ability of the people to govern in the manner intended - came from a wide variety of sources and perspectives. Reagan's policies annihilated the Fairness Doctrine, opening the door for a few mega-corporations to gather journalism unto themselves. Today, Reagan's old bosses at General Electric own three of the most-watched news channels. This company profits from every war Americans fight, but somehow is trusted to tell the truths of war. Thus, the myths and lies are sold to us.

Source: http://www.lincoln.edu/criminaljustice/hr/Speech.htm

Comment by Andy Anduer on March 26, 2014 at 5:07am

I agree that she needs to check n to the old folks home as she has definitely  forgotten what she was voted in to defend.She may seem o.k. on the outside but She really needs a senility  check up.

Comment by T Stirhen on March 25, 2014 at 9:51pm

(con't) The Militia of the several states offers everyone the greatest degree of equality with each other;

  • Because EVERY able-bodied person from the age of 18 – 60 is the militia of each state.

  • They, when trained, have the governmental powers to operate in every county, city, state, and throughout America when needed.

  • Plus through uniformity; the Militia requires the same general duty of service from everyone – though not all will have the same tasks as they can perform different tasks according to their abilities.

This is why the Militia offers the best protection against rogue politicians and usurpation’s for those serving within the governments, “We the people” protect our own natural rights and hold accountable those we put into positions of power by enforcing the US Constitution and each state's constitution. When everyone takes a part in guarding the security of the neighborhood, county, city, state that they live in; plus the country when needed, it basically stops or makes it very difficult for a small body of people to take over this nation. (Edward Vieira, Junior “Constitutional Homeland Security” Volume 1, the Nation in Arms”.)

You really want to stop this, then keep YOUR part of our government. Go train! Find constitutional sheriffs through cspoa.org or oathkeepers.org and volunteer. It is a way to get trained and to learn if they really mean what they say. Start at the state level so that you know you are safer within your state while we get our country away from the traitors and domestic enemies. Do it constitutionally.  Do not forget that judges ONLY get to remain in office as long as they are using "Good Behaviour" within the courts. Remove those who don't.

Comment by T Stirhen on March 25, 2014 at 9:46pm

(con't) Clause 16: To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

When the founders created the US Constitution they realized that we would never be able to count on state and federal representatives or agencies to protect our lives, property, and freedom. They decided to continue with what the people here had already been using, and the one proven throughout history to have the best needs of the people themselves always put first, the Militia of the several states. Who are the Militia? All able-bodied citizens or those legally allowed to be here between the ages of 18 – 60. (con't)

Comment by T Stirhen on March 25, 2014 at 9:45pm

(con't) US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 11:To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water”.

The congress has the duty to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal when they are needed to enforce the US Constitution, the laws, or defend the people and the nation. This is using private citizens in their own privately owned crafts to defend the USA and her people, this is using the Militia. The Militia is NOT any governmental military.   It is the people of the USA.

Clause 15 requires of the congress: To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and REPEL INVASIONS”.

This clause is very straightforward also. The militia of each state is taxed with the defense of the USA and her people, not just with the defense of their state; and they are to be armed with weapons that can repel any invasions bearing modern weapons of war. Congress is required to provide those military grade weapons for the militias. (con't)

Comment by T Stirhen on March 25, 2014 at 9:42pm

The supreme LAW of this land, the US Constitution and all that is in Pursuance thereof it, plus each state's Constitution (highest law of each state EXCEPT where it conflicts with the US Constitution says she is a traitor.

Who is constitutionally assigned the duties to: Enforce the US Constitution and each state's Constitution, Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which is constitutional laws ONLY), Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, andto suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

It is every state's Militia that is the ONLY Constitutionally assigned force to “counter Invasions” and “Domestic Violence within our nation. (con't)

Comment by Warren D Filkins on March 25, 2014 at 9:19pm

Diannne does not acknowledge that the 1st and 2nd amendments to the Constitution.

Dianne needs to retire and check into an old folks home with mental health facilities. 

Comment by paul goeltz cookie on March 25, 2014 at 7:01pm

total bs she is partly behind the neocon pnac, nsa she deserve to be hung till it hurts

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