White House supports reviving media shield bill

WASHINGTON An administration official says the White House supports a move in the Senate to revive a media shield bill — one that protects journalists and their employers from having to reveal information. That information would include the identity of sources who had been promised confidentiality.

The law does contain some exceptions in instances of national security.

New York Democrat Charles Schumer plans to revive the legislation from four years ago. The move comes on the heels of the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at The Associated Press.

Schumer says if the media shield measure had been enacted, there would have been a "fairer, more deliberate process in this case."

A White House official says President Barack Obama's liaison to the Senate placed a phone call this morning to Schumer's office to ask him to revive the bill — a move the senator had already planned to make.

The support from Obama signals an effort by the White House to take action in the face of heated criticism from lawmakers from both parties and from news organizations about his commitment to protecting civil liberties and freedom of the press.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney, however, said the support for the media shield bill is not related to the The Associated Press investigation.

"The president's support for this kind of media shield law is well documented, long-standing, and he does believe it is appropriate to resubmit that legislation and try and convert it into law at this time.