Reid votes against cloture

An outfit identifying itself only as Press On is emailing newsrooms with negative information on Harry Reid and son, but the first such mailing contained inaccurate information. It read:

“Rory Reid, son of Harry Reid, is the current Nevada Clark County Commission Chairman in charge of the County Recorder Office and Courts. Rory Reid has expressed his desire to run for the Nevada governor in 2010, and Harry Reid is also looking to 2010 election for another term in the U.S. Senate. So, it is crucial for them to bury any scandals that might diminish their chances of getting elected. Senator Harry Reid dragged his feet for nine months before scheduling the Media Shield Law for the full senate vote, and Harry Reid is the only Democrat who voted NO on the Media Shield Law. With that vote, the truth about the firing of Daniel Bogden, U.S. attorney of Nevada, may be buried forever. Didn’t he publicly say he will get to the bottom of this matter?”

It turns out that Reid did not vote against the press shield law. He voted against a procedural motion to cut off debate on energy legislation that, had it passed, would have allowed the shield law to then be brought up for a vote. Five Republicans joined the Democrats and Reid joined the Republicans on the vote, known as cloture. Fifty-one senators voted to cut off debate, well short of the two-thirds needed. Six senators, including Barack Obama and John McCain, did not vote.

Shield laws create a confidential privilege between reporters and their sources. Most states already have them. The proposed federal shield is opposed by George Bush.

Reid has been the target of sharp editorial criticism across the nation for failing to bring the shield legislation up for a vote in the 10 months since it was approved in committee (“Shield law stymied,” RN&R, June 5) and the vote on cloture sparked another round. In Reid’s home state, the Pahrump Valley Times is skeptical of the proposed law. Times editor Mark Smith argues that the exceptions in the bill for “national security” renders the legislation useless:

“Now really, how many ways do you suppose governments could twist matters to ensure that ‘national security’ would be at issue whenever they wanted to step on a reporter? If ‘national security’ were the big deal, the Pentagon papers might never have seen the open air, or even much of the Watergate scandal.”