McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Editorials

September 27, 2013

EDITORIALS: Shield law needed; No more excuses for inaction on global warming

Shield law must provide broad protections

(The Mankato Free Press / Mankato, Minn.)

On the heels of revelations that the Justice Department had seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters and had traced the emails and calls of a Fox News reporter, Congress seems willing to provide federal protections for journalists and their sources.

Although many states have so-called “shield laws” to protect journalists and their sources, there is no such protection from federal subpoenas or court orders forcing reporters to reveal confidential information or sources.

Because the Supreme Court has never ruled that the First Amendment protects journalists from being compelled to identify confidential information, the federal government has at times gone after journalists to learn the identities of their sources.

Under proposed legislation in Congress, journalists would not have to comply with subpoenas or court orders forcing them to talk, unless a judge first determines a crime has occurred and the government has exhausted all other alternatives. Final bills could be approved by the end of the year.

While there is general support for a federal shield law in Congress and by journalism organizations, a key sticking point has been the seemingly simple question of defining “journalist.”

The draft bill defines a journalist as someone who has a “primary intent to investigate events and procure material” to inform the public. All agree a reporter working for a newspaper, news service or broadcast outlet would be protected. Harder to pin down is whether bloggers and others who use the Internet to disseminate news would be protected.

Some Senators would like to broaden the definition of journalists under the law while still others would like to narrow it even more, fearing that too-broad a definition could protect groups like WikiLeaks.

The existing language in the bill seems to do a good job of balancing various concerns, providing a fairly broad protection to traditional and new journalists without getting tangled up in minutia. And the legislation would provide a safety valve in tricky cases, giving federal judges the discretion to extend protection to people who might not meet the exact criteria of a “journalist” under the bill’s definition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Could the NCAA Tournament work for other sports?

    The NCAA men's basketball tournament is the most profitable postseason in the U.S., so why couldn't other leagues copy its format?

    March 23, 2014

  • Tsarnaev death sentence brings no peace

    If Dzhokhar is found guilty and executed for his alleged role in the April 15 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I’ll sleep no better.

    January 31, 2014

  • Final observations from the Pitt 8

    A few observations leftover from an immensely exciting six days of basketball at the Pitt 8 Tournament.

    January 26, 2014

  • So far, Big 12 holding its own

    The Big 12 Conference hasn't dominated the 2013-14 bowl season, but its teams have definitely held their own.

    January 3, 2014

  • Fins’ Incognito deserves banning

    No matter the job, a line still exists between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, between behavior that creates a productive work environment and a hostile one, and Miami Dolphins lineman Richie Incognito crossed that line in his treatment of Jonathan Martin.

    November 11, 2013

  • Sox prove ‘team’ still matters

    In winning the World Series, the Red Sox proved that the right manager and the right locker room atmosphere can turn a bunch of nobodies into champions.

    October 31, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: Be proactive on cyberbullying; Obamacare stumbles

    Parents everywhere must be rejoicing, because a new poll suggests that cyberbullying among students seems to be decreasing. / Every new program is bound to have a few glitches. But what’s happening right now with the nation’s new health insurance program and online signup efforts is disturbing.

    October 29, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: School lunch lessons; D.C. focuses on box scores

    Instead of refusing a now-nutritious National School Lunch Program, schools, parents and students should embrace the healthier standards / A box-score mentality - with too much emphasis on winners, losers, scores and assists - afflicts Washington with little concern for those who buy the tickets.

    October 25, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: Uncertain future for campaign finance; U.S. workers lag behind

    Erasing spending limits in federal elections is a sure path to even more cynicism and distrust of American politics. / Technology and the economy are conspiring against workers, putting America behind other countries.

    October 12, 2013

  • EDITORIALS: Messages about exercise; Opening the Vatican's bank

    In the modern world, medication is frequently seen as the answer for what ails you. But a new study appears to confirm what is really little more than common sense. /  One of the mandates Pope Francis received when he ascended to the papacy was to clean up the increasingly corrupt Vatican bureaucracy, and the bank was high on the list of problems.

    October 9, 2013

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
NDN Video
The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Behind The Tanlines Jersey Strong Part 1
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.