Eric Holder Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Asked today whether his Justice Department went too far in grabbing phone records of Associated Press journalists, President Obama answered that he couldn’t comment on a “pending case.” What he could do, he proclaimed, was speak “broadly about the balance we have to strike” between press freedoms and national security. He proceeded to do so, for about 230 standard words. “Leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” he said. “The open flow of information helps hold me accountable, it helps hold the government accountable,” he also said.

Upshot? It’s time to revisit the idea of a federal media-shield law.