- The proposed bill is clear that the protection is limited - Federal authorities retain the power to "compel disclosure" that might prevent or stop "serious crimes" or harm national security. That's a potentially huge exemption
- The bill expressly does not protect those disclosing "primary-source documents... without authorization." While aimed at Wikileaks, remember that in the Pentagon Papers case, the NY Times coverage was based on disclosing "primary-source documents... without authorization."
- Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) insisted on amending the bill limiting protection to "real reporters."
"I can't support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege …"
The amendment language defines a covered journalist as someone working for "an entity or service that disseminates news and information." That is, you're considered a journalist not in terms of what you do, but who you work for.
"goes a long way toward ensuring that reporters will be protected from subpoenas for their confidential information and sources.... While is it not as inclusive as we would like, it is not nearly as limited in that area as previous attempts at a federal shield law have been."In this case, I'm not sure that such a limited shield is worth supporting.
Source - Bill to protect journalists clears Senate panel, Los Angeles Times