US Senator Feinstein Seeks to Further Limit Freedom of Press

By: Michael Lotfi
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feinstein

The majority of America now gets its news from online sources. This has opened the country up to a whole new variety of sources including blogs, vlogs, youtube and other alternative media sources. The term “Freedom of the Press” has certainly expanded to include multiple new-age venues of modern press. However, in a developing story, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) is seeking an amendment to restrict who gets protection under new media shield laws.feinstein

First, consider the problem with a media shield law. On the surface, it may seem great. Here, you will find one of government’s dirtiest tricks. Journalists and media already have a shield law. It’s called the first amendment:


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

DC will now try and pass a law that will put parameters on media, journalism, journalists, etc. We are told that this will strengthen protection for journalists. In reality, it  could open the door for government persecution due to purposefully placed ambiguous language.  This is certainly by design, as it is repeated in almost every law passed by Congress and signed by the President.

S. 987 (Free Flow of Information Act) defines what a media provider is and who a journalist is, and is not. However, Senator Feinstein is not satisfied with the language and wants it further restricted. According to a report, Feinstein says, “I’m concerned this would provide special privilege to those who are not reporters at all.” She is referring to bloggers and the likes of Edward Snowden, NSA whistle-blower. Feinstein went on to suggest that the term journalist only apply to those who report for mainstream media sources, and do so as a primary source of income. H. 1962, the House version of the bill, already includes such stipulation:

The term ‘‘covered person’’ means a person who, for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

This meaning, if you aren’t being paid- then you don’t get protection under the new law.
Feinstein’s amendment, which is scheduled to be introduced will seek to restrict who is protected under the law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that the amendment will require journalists to meet one of the following criteria:
  1. working as a “salaried employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information;”
  2. either (a) meeting the prior definition “for any continuous three-month period within the two years prior to the relevant date” or (b) having “substantially contributed, as an author, editor, photographer, or producer, to a significant number of articles, stories, programs, or publications by an entity . . . within two years prior to the relevant date;” or
  3. working as a student journalist “participating in a journalistic publication at an institution of higher education.” (emphases added)

Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(i), § 5(B)(iii) (2013)

Her amendment continues to muddy the waters by retaining original language that requires:

  1. that individuals “engage[] in . . . the regular gathering, preparation, collection, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting or publishing on” matters of public interest; or
  2. that individuals “regularly conducted interviews, reviewed documents, captured images of events, or directly observed events.” (emphases added)

Amendment to S. 987, 113th Cong. § 5(A)(ii), § 5(B)(i) (2013)

These criteria are troublesome. What about those not salaried? How do you define a “substantial contributor”, “entity”, or “significant”? What happens to these students once they have graduated? How do you define one who is “regularly” engaged in journalism? It is certainly ambiguous at best.

This attempt to restrict protection to bloggers and leakers is nothing new. In 2009, Senator Schumer introduced an amendment to the Free Flow of Information Act that purposefully excluded bloggers and non-salaried writers from protection.

In the future, keep an open eye for federal legislation, which claims any association with your innate rights such as the “Free Flow of Information Act”. Rights such as those to keep and bear arms, or the freedom of speech. When our rights are left to the hands of vague legislative language, no good can be found as result. For liberty and freedom are words of absolute, and ambiguity must find no refuge here.

After researching the law and proposed amendments, I cannot even be certain if my colleagues and myself would protected here at BenSwann.com due to the ambiguity. This ambiguity and fear certainly leads to restrictions on the press.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Michael Lotfi

CEO, Political Director at BrandFire Consulting LLC
Michael Lotfi is a Persian-American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee. Lotfi is the founder and CEO of BrandFire Consulting LLC. The firm specializes in public and private technology centered brand development, lead generation, data aggregation, online fundraising, social media, advertising, content generation, public relations, constituency management systems, print and more. Lotfi is also the executive state director for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, a think-tank focused on restraining federal overreach. Lotfi graduated with top honors from Belmont University, a private Christian university located in Nashville, Tennessee.
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  • La Lummus

    Only a very corrupt government would pas such a law. Hey Feinstein you really need to retire you are becoming senile.

    • Marcus L

      A corrupt government? Like one that passes laws without reading that it demands purchasing government products or pay a fine? Then gives exemptions to their friends, families, and campaign contributors? Or one that abandons US citizens to die and lies to the American people about what happened? Or one that allows people to lie to Congress with no repercussions? One that might attack the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments within a one year time span? Then try to criminalize the person to tells the People about the government’s dirty secrets? We live in that corrupt government right NOW.

    • diannnoeora

      La Lummis, while I agree with your first statement, I don’t with the second. I don’t think Feinstein is senile. I think she has an agenda and is following it very closely. I believe that woman is entirely evil and wants nothing good for her constituants or other citizens of our country. She and her cronies are the only ones gaining ground in this perversion of the intended government our founding fathers so carefully planned.

  • Ron Dean

    Feinstein is something out of nightmares; she would have fit right in with the swastika boys in Germany years ago.

    • Raymond Andrews

      I’m sure she was there. Consorts of Satan can live forever.

    • Walter Shipley

      She does look like something Hitler would have locked away somewhere devising evil schemes.

  • Kyle Kendall

    I really want to find someone who thinks this is not only wrong, but a complete waste of time. Like you said, I don’t get paid, but last time I checked, First Ammendment protects pretty much everything I say! MORONS

    • Friend of Liberty

      They aren’t concerned with freedom of speech, in this one…. they are concerned about controlling the means to disseminate that speech (“The Press”).

  • Eduardo Blanco

    That does it. I’m convinced that Feinstein is a evil cyborg sent from the future to destroy America.

    In all seriousness, I don’t think of many politicians as evil. I think some are doing what they think in their heart is in the best interests of the nation. Feinstein is the exception, I’m pretty sure she’s evil.

    • Walter Shipley

      Quick! Get the time machine ready, we’ll go give her inventor a long lasting sleeping potion.

  • big frog.

    Feinstein, or Fiendstein? There is something that I have named “The impulse to tyranny.’ You know it when you see it. McCain, Shummer, Graham, Feindstein, Obama and many more. The focused attacks are a sure signpost to our most important strengths. Guns, free press, internet, communication, independent thought.. What they push is our enemy, TV. I turned off that POS 40 years ago. I make exception for Al jAZERA AND RT, Even there Thom Hartman is a Feindstein soul mate. I tune to controlled media just to see what the enemy is up to, to see Feindsteins’ smiling face. The fear factory is up 24/7 production.

  • xg

    war has always been the father of u all and we will have to declare war on all these jews in order to take back the country

  • xg

    PS…cali had record 18mil registered voters in 2012, and only 7.5 mil voted for this back stabbing bitch…smell a rat yet? her hubby blum, just got the contract to build new high speed rail…meanwhile the jews have bought all the gun and ammo manufacturers, shut them down here and moved production abroad…better wake up…trap is being set

  • Liz

    Time to build an arc.

    • LocalHero

      Time to buy rope.

  • tm

    Feinstein is a liberty-hating, Zionist-Jew, communist piece of crap who is working for the Globalists to bring about the destruction of this country.

  • Friend of Liberty

    You Say the phrase “freedom of the press” has expanded, but not before it was contracted. Originally, that phrase meant the actual device, a printing press, and the freedom to use it was meant for everyone, not only politically connected and gov controlled crony corporations and organizations.

  • I SEE YOU

    Why do they keep abusing our Constitution?
    Didn’t we elect them to uphold it, not wipe with it.
    If they can’t do the job we elected them to do, then they gotta go!

    • john

      We keep confusing these people with someone that cares. They do not care they are not honest they are turncoats to America. They either have been bitten by the bug of greed or as I am starting to think they or loved ones are being threatened physically. Their agenda is not clear but is definitely hidden.

    • LocalHero

      Which government are you referring to? The 1871 corporate government has no constitution, is not a party to it (neither are you) and has no legal requirement to follow it. The organic constitution is no longer in force (not that I care) and you are not a party to that either. The federal system is the problem and it is NOT fixable.

  • I SEE YOU

    Give her a shout and let her know how you feel about this.
    Feinstein office in DC (202) 224-3841

  • I SEE YOU

    Our Constitution was written to protect us from the government, like the one we have right now.

  • firstfire508

    Pretty simple
    Freedom of the Press; Any individual wishing to tell others information
    Freedom of speech; Any citizen can speak of anything excluding threatening others
    Right to peacefully assemble; No limit can be put on the number of individuals in a gathering (Unlike what recently occurred in Wisconsin
    P.S. Ben, InfoWars brought me here. If you ever need or wish to hire another editor, writer, commentator, or columnist I would be extremely interested. Keep up the good work. Thank You, Jason NH

    • Chris Moschini

      EFF recommends defining a journalist as one engaged in the act of journalism, a much more reasonable approach:

      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/07/congress-and-justice-depts-dangerous-attempts-define-journalist-threaten-exclude

      It is good to introduce legislation with wider protection for journalists; it’s just unfortunate to only give that to employees of big companies (but something to expect from a Congress that has to take in millions in bribes to hold office).

      • R Tapia

        It is not good to introduce legislation that creates a “special” class of individuals.

        The first amendment already grantees freedom of speech and the press.

        • Chris Moschini

          Have you read the bill? It creates new protections that the First Amendment does not cover. For example, 2Bii:

          >a Federal entity may not compel … disclosure of protected information … unless … the party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information has established that the interest in compelling disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in gathering and disseminating the information or news at issue and maintaining the free flow of information.

          That’s a useful provision that could allow a journalist to protect a whistleblower. But, there is a risk it could also be used by a hitman to cover up who hired him. You need to clearly establish the difference to establish who this protection applies to, and who it does not.

          • R Tapia

            That sounds nothing like a protection to me. The Govt. is saying that they can’t force you(as a reporter) to disclose your sources unless they decide that it is for the greater good?

            It is absolutely ludicrous to say that this law is in anyway offering more protection from govt. to anyone.

          • Chris Moschini

            OK… well a judge is technically in “the government,” but in a trial they hear both sides and are meant to act as a check against… the government, so I don’t think it’s fair to say it offers no additional protection. It sounds like the only part of the bill you’ve read is the part I just quoted here for you, yet you seem prepared to criticize it quite strongly.

          • http://www.facebook.com/cliff.hutchison1 Cliff Hutchison

            Judges aren’t the only, nor the primary, check on the government. The people, in their role as jurors on civil and criminal cases, are the “check against… the government”. You don’t need any additional laws other than common law trial by jury. It’s even mentioned in the 7th Amendment of the Constitution, to make it clear for posterity to know that there was sufficient law before the Federal Government was created. And if the 1st and 7th Amendments aren’t enough, the 9th and 10th cover all other bases.

          • Chris Moschini

            Right… that still doesn’t provide journalists the protections this law offers them.

  • Timmy Tron

    Guess your interns gotta get paid now. Funny how money is equated with free speech. Mitch Mc Connell defied PAC reform this way.

  • patriot forever

    We have nobody to blame but ourselves for this freedom hating government. Somebody had to keep re-electing these jack booted reincarnations of past history. The bell is tolling, but for who? Is it for us the sheep, or for the elected royalty we gave a free hand to to do what they want to us. Time is short, we have two elections left.

    • Ken

      The problem continues with our “two party system”, it precludes other parties from participating equally in the political process! Just look at the debates, many are often excluded entirely and even when they are allowed to take part in the process they are almost left out completely with the questions and the opportunity to actually take part in the debate itself. We can continue to battle this by supporting media outlets such as this, they are the true “journalists” — those that don’t have to worry about covering a story with the particular slant of those that politically and financially have a huge vested interest in the particular mainstream media to which they belong. We need to work very hard individually to share alternative media outlets such as this and Drudge with our friends and co-workers and in turn ask them to do the same. The more people that start to rely on more than “cable news” as their authoritative response to how and what they consume in terms of actual news. Share the real news from real journalist and we can compete with our corporate run government.

    • LocalHero

      If you think “elections” are going to save you, you’re as delusional as she is. Elections are rigged frauds. Two sides of the same coin. The solution can only be the complete dismantling of the federal government and its charter.

  • Clay

    Ambiguously worded bill – by design.

  • Bertamus Maximus

    OMG this woman is insane. She needs to be removed from office. Immediately.

  • http://www.scottiesharpe.com/ Scottie Sharpe

    Government that can fund itself, regardless of how much taxes it collects is the problem! End the fed. No debt! No funny money. These politicians are CREATING their own power! TYRANNY!

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Dianne Feinstein must protect
    The September 2001 Coverup
    Abbottabad
    Newtown
    Boston

  • ArmedArtist

    Feinstein is a troll under a bridge waiting for lambs to cross so she can snatch them up, eat their little loins, and suck the marrow from their bones. Can somebody, anybody put this wretch out of her self loathing misery.

  • zeestan

    She’s as ugly on the outside as she is on the inside, A backstabbing, un-American, spying, troll who should be in prison

  • RonWillison

    This woman knows, like many other US Congressman and Senators that are dirty. that it is only a matter of time before the ticking time bomb called the 911 WTC attacks goes off. They are trying to minimise the fallout that will result from that supernova type event with all the UNCONSTITUTIONAL laws and Constitutional workaround’s they have authored and signed onto. Their recorded votes will be their undoing. And that has them afraid. Very Afraid. The smell of corruption that flows from our nations capital is the real cause of global warming. Odors are gases much like the methane that cow patty release into the atmosphere.

  • Frank_O

    This is a disgusting woman & a pox on both America & California. A reflection of the idiots that elect her & a nation/Congress that puts up with her.

    • Joe

      The elections are rigged anyway. Just look back to the GOP 2012 primaries for proof. Now you know why she keeps getting re-elected, and has no fear of ever losing an election.

      • Frank_O

        As a Ron Paul supporter I’m well aware of rigged elections & what happened in the 2012 GOP Primaries & Convention. But I believe politicians only can manipulate/rig elections to a certain point (say plus or minus 10%, so they can turn a 53% to 47% loss into a 52% to 48% win). But I don’t think they can steal an election if there is a “tidal wave” of support for a superior candidate. Since most voters are uninformed and most elections are relatively close, they can “rig” all those elections. In the end, these uninformed voters are the idiots destroying our nation while the nation as a whole does not insist on fair elections.

  • poptoy1949

    Seems she has a god like complex. Just who does she think she is…..?

    • LocalHero

      Don’t you know? She is a member of the Chosen People so she can do no wrong.

  • feduppianoman

    We have to contact our representatives on this one. There is no way this blatant attempt to dismantle the 1st amendment can be allowed to pass. The msm stopped being even remotely legitimate a long time ago, and that’s why we have to come to sites like this. they are the only places you can find out the dirty bs those cretins are trying to impose on this country in secret. That’s precisely what she wants to stop. Like all progressives every voice but theirs needs to be silenced by force. I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting pretty tired of the antics of these evil people.

  • john

    McCain, Feinstein and Lindsay Graham are either being threatened or promised a position in the NWO. They are being told what to do by the WH/NWO or they or their kids/grandkids won’t get that free education or whatever. These senior senators are at the end of their careers and are Intentionally destroying their own reputations in return for some kind of promise from the WH/NWO.. It is almost like they don’t want to get re-elected so they can fulfill a position of greater importance and beneficial for them and theirs, at some future date. Have you ever seen anything like this? In my opinion they are definitely under extreme duress or torture because the things they are doing are so extreme that it has to be intentional. These people are already wealthy what else could make them do these outrageous things?

    • feduppianoman

      since Obama is collecting everything on everyone it wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest he is legislating through black mail.

    • Cheryl Newcomb

      With all that’s coming out about the NSA, blackmail is certainly a possibility. I think that’s how they got Judge Roberts to vote yes on Obamacare. As far as Feinstein is concerned I think she’s a Zionist shill doing her part. The dual citizenship gives it away every time. Why is it our Government is infested with these Israelis? I don’t see any Americans involved in Israels Government.

  • Kevin Merck

    If you’re not a real journalist unless you can show that you work for the MSM and do it as a primary source of income….
    then you’re not a real President unless you can show a real birth certificate and can prove your eligibility under the Constitution.
    Oh, but wait a minute, the second part of that, unlike the first part, actually makes sense – and is actually the law.

  • savoy6

    Feinstein is a complete and utter fascist. It never ceases to amaze me how the left/liberals/progressives are able to somehow ignore and explain away their own blatant totalitarianism.

  • Sikayershit

    Feinstein is an evil troll that needs to go back to living under a bridge.

  • gman68137

    Feinstein = fascist. Here’s a look back into history…look familiar?

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007655

  • HalinTexas

    She’s also showing how out of touch she is. Knows nothing about the internet or what’s become/becoming.

  • Joe

    “Congress shall make no law …”, and YOU are part of Congress, Feinstein. let that sink in for a couple of minutes, Diane. She has been on record time and again trying to thwart the 2nd Amendment, and now she is attacking the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights is etched in stone, and cannot be altered LAWFULLY. But who in Washington obeys the laws these days?

  • CitizenPatiot

    But we have to remember this is the same liberal from CA who doesn’t understand the phrase “Shall Not Be Infringed” in the 2nd Amendment. Watch them because these are the establishment politicians in it for personal and political gains and to Hell with We, The People.

  • Mark Robert

    Please call your Congressman and Senators and them to oppose.

    Any numbered Bill that is proceeded with an S. is a Senate bill, but call your congressman anyway.

    This way your Congressman will know were you stand on this issue as well.

    S. 987 (Free Flow of Information Act)

    I place my Congressman and Senators on speed dial under US and add his Name.

  • GreyFace

    “Congress shall make no law …”, and YOU are part of Congress, Feinstein.
    let that sink in for a couple of minutes, Diane. She has been on record
    time and again trying to thwart the 2nd Amendment, and now she is
    attacking the 1st Amendment. The Bill of Rights is etched in stone, and
    cannot be altered LAWFULLY. But who in Washington obeys the laws these
    days?

    -=-

    Feinstein is more than just part of Congress. She also holds Dual US/Israeli Citizenship. As an Israeli citizen she doesn’t care about the US Constitution.

    Remember, there is an not well publicized zionist RITUAL to unbind all OATHS.

    Highly placed in the Intelligence Committee, access to vaults, networks and the highest secrets, oath breaking just isn’t a problem.

  • shootmywayout

    Keep some powder dry. You may need it!

  • Cellophane_Rocket_Ships

    Where is Dorothy when you need her? This witch is in dire need of having a house fall on her. Or at least, take her broomstick & stab her through the eye with it.

  • Steve

    Feinstein is a traitor. She has taken the Oath to Support the US Constitution and she has broken that Oath. Feinstein is now a traitor and should be dealt with. The citizen of California should charge her as such in the highest court, find her guilty and lock her up in a Federal Prison. Can you imagine how fast the congress would empty if Feinstein went to prison? Gees! Oh Happy Days.
    Then we could go after Obama, McCain and Graham. Wow!

  • Drifter

    I’m not sure this would make any difference, people would still be protected under freedom of speech even if they were not protected under freedom of the press…

  • dozr

    She is bad for the country, she is breaking the foundation piece by piece.

  • Tamiz Khan

    The sheep will lap it up like the dogs they are.

  • http://annonusa.tumblr.com/ Joe AnnonUSA

    When are her constituents going to give Feinstein the kick in the ass she deserves. This woman is in serious need of retirement. She is a fear monger of the worst order. So sick of hearing the insane things that come out of her feeble mind.

  • Ted Bman

    You know something. You might actually get a true working majority that would put an end to the FED and the NSA if you dropped your stupid war against women, gays and non-Christians.

    Really, if this country goes down, you guys are to blame. Really. Look in the mirror.

  • dozr

    she is an enemy of freedom