Senator: New labor department rules for journalists would cause turmoil
by Chris Roush
The Department of Labor’s move to restrict how journalists transmit market-sensitive economic data risks disrupting financial markets, Sen. Roy Blunt said.
Meera Louis of Bloomberg News writes, “In a letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Blunt, a Missouri Republican, objected to the agency’s plan to have media organizations remove from the department computer software, hardware and communications lines used to transmit news on data such as the unemployment rate and consumer prices.
“‘Given the market-moving impact of these numbers and the largely automated processes of today’s market institutions, even a minor flaw in the timing or accuracy of this data could result in a destructive impact on global markets,’ Blunt wrote in his letter, dated today.
“Reporters in so-called lockups are given data in advance of its release to the public, allowing time to prepare stories using their own hardware, software and data lines. The new system would force journalists, including Bloomberg News reporters, to use government-provided equipment and Internet access, with no guarantee they can send their stories at exactly the same moment.
“‘I am deeply concerned that the new policy proposed by DOL will not only result in the degradation in the quality of information the American people receive on the economy, but also represents a fundamental threat to the media’s First Amendment rights and a disturbing retreat from the government transparency that the Obama administration so often touts,’ Blunt wrote.”