Bill To Define Journalist Will Get Full Senate Vote


On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed media shield legislation that is intended to protect journalists from having to cooperate in government investigations — but lawmakers made sure to limit who can be defined as a journalist in America.

Lawmakers used language in the bill, which passed the committee on a 13-5 vote, to draw a line between what constitutes a “real” journalist.

A journalist is defined in the bill as a person working for a media outlet for at least three months in the past two years or for at least one year in the past 20 years as a regular employee or contractor. The media shield would also protect people who have done substantial freelance work in the past five years, student journalists or a person a Federal judge deems deserving of the protections.

“The remedy that this legislation seeks to provide is to differentiate between different types of journalists and to determine in the Congress’s mind who’s legitimate and who’s not legitimate,” said Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), a critic of the bill’s provision defining who is a journalist.

He based his argument on the simplicity of the 1st Amendment.

“The First Amendment makes no such differentiation,” he said. “It talks about a free press, and we would say you’re a member of the free press if you meet certain legislative criteria and if you don’t, you’re not.”

The bill will now go to the Senate floor for a full vote.

Personal Liberty

Personal Liberty News Desk

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  • wavesofgrain

    Call your reps…this one could be dangerous to all bloggers…free speech may be compromised.

    • Infidel48

      Click on ‘Bill’ in the text for copy Bill in the works bill S.987 then CONTACT YOUR SENATORS AND REPs

  • Faith Brooks

    why should the senate wasted time on such a stupid thing? the only problem encountered was when this adm. tried to punish journalist that were reporting on their illegal activities. king obama and prince holder just cannot stand opposition which will certainly in the end topple their reign; hence the attack on james rosen and the ap journalist earlier this year. they have offered so many distractions since then, their hope is america will forget their dishonesty. not so. most of us will always remember every one of obama scandals.

  • rb

    Next up…..licensing journalists. Just ask Feinstien. Everyone should watch the movie “Eyeborgs”. It is a ridiculous movie but has a message everyone should heed. Much of what is talked about in the movie is happening already. A “b” movie with a message.

    • rivahmitch

      Actually, that’s what this amounts to. So the 1st Amendment, if these folks do what they want, follows the 2nd in being licensed out of existence. MOLON LABE can apply to more than just guns. Semper Fi!

  • Cashu

    This should be voted down unanimously. Anyone stupid enough to vote for this should be immediately recalled. The first amendment is under attack on all fronts, and we need to call a loud halt to it…



  • Warrior

    Personally I think the senate has “earned another recess”. Harry, go ahead and take your “group” on a White House Tour. Oops. Ok then, there must be a zoo close by for goodness sake. We’re talking d.c.!

  • vicki

    Now that the internet has provided a method where everyone can own a “press” the government tries to limit the freedom of the press. Reading the law (Constitution) I find nowhere that Congress is authorized to define words.

  • Lar

    Way to go Harry… We need more ‘clowns’ coming up with ‘teaching the sheep’ how to think, and how to know what a sheep is.. Thank God for …….’Rocks’… who believe they are ‘leaders’. Grade schoolers would serve us so much better.

  • Michael Lloyd

    They still haven’t defined the meaning of IS since the Clinton hearings.

  • ToniStimmel

    It sounds like they’ve covered all those non-reporters that don’t really report in the MSM and have uncovered all the real reporters who search for news and let the chips fall where they may in the free lance world. This is about protecting freedom of the press like Obozocare is about providing good healthcare to any one who needs it. We know how well it’s expected to do that because congress exempted itself from it.

  • hardh8

    The police state power grows and the individual liberties shrink. NICE.

  • hardh8

    Has anyone else noticed that Fox news hasn’t said a peep about this story? Gee, I wonder why?

    • Robert Messmer

      Has any?

  • Jim B

    The Constitution tells us who is responsible for watching this Government, AND IT IS ALL OF US! Congress cannot pigeonhole who can and cannot report on their wrong doings and criminal activities! Sorry Government , the cat’s out of the bag, you are all a bunch of screw-ups from the Top (which is exceptionally bad) to the bottom feeding lobbyist who run your arcses. You should all be ashamed of what you have done to this great country, I don’t need your designated Journalist to tell me that!

  • Warrior

    Whoever votes “yea” on this bill, should immediately be arrested and jailed for breaking their constitutional oath. This is serious sh$T!

    • guest


      With the media complicit, the Congress complicit, the DOJ complicit, the military emasculated, the police bribed with military toys; tell me who is going to arrest or jail anyone.

  • wandamurline

    I didn’t know that we had any journalists left in America. Wow, they still exist? I thought just propogandists were left.

  • Alan

    These pukes can’t find enough ways to circumvent the constitution. If we dont riseup and start screaming there will be no constitutional protections left.

    • guest

      I shudder to repeat this, a person said you cannot remove the person from office, it is the policy that needs to be removed and because the policy just travels inexplicably from party to party till there is no distinction then it is the ‘civil duty’ of the citizen to follow with civil disobedience

      Kind of like Rosa Parks on the bus – injustice is met with resistance – not violence – and policy is changed regardless of who is in office – unless the state trumps all

  • Michael Shreve

    When is a “journalist” not a journalist? When he isn’t SANCTIONED by the government. To control the people, control the media. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!


    the gov’t needs a new way to stop the people from telling the nation what’s really going on-and i’m sure us video taping their jackboot thugs(A.K.A. cops) trampling on our rights might have something to do with that!after all,they help generate lots of revenue for each county!all those corrupt cops generate money ,but if we watch them,they can’t generate as much and get caught violating rights of citizens and then in turn get sued at a loos for that county so that means it comes from county funds and that takes budget money from gov’t and that means obama misses a round of golf or the mrs can’t take mamma on a vacation to jamaca or hawaii this year!this journalist thing is a wrench in the progressive machine!

    • Cashu

      The right to video-record law enforcement has been upheld by high courts across the country, including the SCotUS. However, lest we become too complacent about that fine state of affairs, we must consider that the usurper has a number of years in office yet. He will be the one to nominate and push any new members of SCotUS if any current justices retire. Last I heard, there are at least a couple of them that are likely to leave before the usurper does.

      Somehow, America needs to shake that fraud from its hem and leave him in the dust… preferably by impeaching him for high crimes and misdemeanors…



  • guest

    All citizens natural, immigrant or otherwise are already covered under the Constitution. All this ‘legislation’ does is limit who can use this Constitutional right.

    So if some unpaid person comes across something news worthy and it is published then that person is a leaker, but if that person is a paid employee of journalistic enterprise then it is not leaking

    great distinction – easier to bribe those you hold sway over than an interloper

  • Robert Messmer

    It’s clear that they are saying that “WikiLeaks” et al are NOT journalists. Wonder it you don’t publish documents but simply quote them if that would also make you not a journalist. You would definitely be screwed if you are OJT and your very first story (totality of work) involves such documents.