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Open & Shut

From the Winter 2010 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 24. “It breaks federal law, it breaks…

From the Winter 2010 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 24.

“It breaks federal law, it breaks state law . . . I have reason now to believe they have done it again . . . This is like ‘Chinatown.’ It is disgusting . . . We have met with lawyers and we are charting our course of action.”

— TMZ founder Harvey Levin to the Southern California Radio & Television News Association regarding Los Angeles authorities who obtained his phone records during an investigation into who leaked news of Mel Gibson’s 2006 arrest for drunk driving

“The prospect of the U.S. government becoming directly involved in commercial journalism ought to be chilling for anyone who cares about freedom of speech . . . It is precisely because newspapers make profits and do not depend on the government for their livelihood that they have the resources and wherewithal to hold the government accountable.”

— Media magnate Rupert Murdoch in a Wall Street Journal editorial

“This is a serious concern. The shield could potentially apply to everyone from high school kids in a journalism class to those producing tracts for extremist groups. We are rushing into perilous and uncharted waters.”

— Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on the definition of ‘journalist’ in the proposed shield bill

“If you’re not opening up everything you do in your city or your county, you ought to open it up. In this kind of day and age, everybody understands that the work you do and I do is public business. There is no ‘behind closed doors.’ There are no more dinners. All of that is history. We live in a different time.”

— North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, after reports surfaced her predecessor had a secret e-mail account