These days it seems harder and harder to find political issues that many conservatives and liberals can find common ground on, but to me, one of the most important is Freedom of the Press.
Recently, the Justice Department seized New York Times reporter Ali Watkins’ private email data and her phone records as part of an investigation into a former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer. That action has politicians on both sides of the aisle looking for a Federal Media Shield Law.
Ohio Congressman and Freedom Caucus leader Jim Jordan, who is a major ally of President Trump, is a lead co-sponsor of the bill with liberal Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, of Maryland.
That should tell you something.
“For me, it’s truly about the Constitution,” Jordan said recently in an interview.
That’s exactly what it’s about.
The Free Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from being forced by the government to turn over their records or sources.
It’s identical to a bill sponsored by then-Congressman Mike Pence back in 2007, and after Attorney General Jeff Sessions wouldn’t even commit to Congress that he wouldn’t jail reporters who refuse to cooperate in leak investigations, it’s even more important now.
Journalists exist to hold the powerful accountable and if the government can’t protect them – and their sources – then it could soon be next to impossible to make sure those in power are doing what they say they are doing.
That’s important no matter who’s in control of the government at a given moment. I’m glad an Ohioan is helping lead the way on an issue that should be important to everyone.
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