This would create a privileged class of favored government media, as determined by Obama’s Justice Department. Since bloggers would not have protection of their sources, it would inherently dry up sources willing to speak. Of course, that’s an unintended consequence, I’m sure…
An amendment is moving through the Senate Judiciary Committee that would essentially allow the government to determine who is a journalist for purposes of legal protection of sources. For purposes of protecting a source, a “journalist” under law would be anyone who:
Works or worked for “an entity or service that disseminates news or information by means of newspaper; nonfiction book; wire service; news agency; news website, mobile application or other news or information service…news program; magazine or other periodical…or through television or radio broadcast…” These people would have to have the “primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information.” Opinion journalists might not be covered. Bloggers and citizen journalists – citizens who commit acts of journalists without working for such an outlet – would not be covered, unless it was determined that “at the inception of the process of gathering the news or information sought, had the primary intent to investigate issues or events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information.” In other words, the government – the Department of Justice – would now determine whether primary intent was news distribution or political concerns. Those explicitly excluded from protection include those “whose principal function, as demonstrated by the totality of such person or entity’s work, is to publish primary source documents that have been disclosed to such person or entity without authorization.” Glenn Greenwald, please contact your lawyer.