My Position On Sources

I’ve been thinking about this since I read it yesterday. It covers how I feel about reporters protecting sources. The Blogging of the President links to Editor and Publisher, who says:

The First Amendment is not designed to protect the government from accountability.

Update – Through The Daou Report, I found both Light Up The Darkness,

“This case is not about a whistle-blower,” Fitzgerald added. “It’s about potential retaliation against a whistle-blower.” As Judith Miller’s attorneys attempt to portray her jailing as a threat to freedom of the press and the ability of journalist’s to expose government corruption, it’s important to remember the words of Mr. Fitzgerald. She is covering up for government corruption, not working to expose it.
[. . .] The difference is as clear as night and day. Exposing corruption. Complicit in corruption.

and Joe Wilson (Mr. Plame) at TPM Cafe,

The sentencing of Judith Miller to jail for refusing to disclose her sources is the direct result of the culture of unaccountability that infects the Bush White House from top to bottom. President Bush’s refusal to enforce his own call for full cooperation with the Special Counsel has brought us to this point. Clearly, the conspiracy to cover up the web of lies that underpinned the invasion of Iraq is more important to the White House than coming clean on a serious breach of national security.

Later, found Democratic Underground: Rove is Not a Whistle-Blower! Rove is Not a Source!,

“Rove” is not the journalists’ source. “Rove” is a high government official who abused his power in order to intimidate a whistle-blower, because he didn’t like what Wilson wrote in the New York Times.

1 thought on “My Position On Sources

  1. The ability of a reporter to keep a secret source is not considered an absolute right, but a special privilege granted to the press because of the importance of journalism to the maintenance of democracy. The general test for determining whether a court will require a reporter to testify starts out presuming that the reporter should not be required to do so unless the state’s interest is so great as to be a compelling public interest. The reasons courts give to uphold a reporters’ right to keep a secret begin and end with the concept of news. Courts worry about the “burden on news gathering”; “protection for seeking out the news” and the “flow of news to the public”. I don’t read anywhere in either the majority opinion or the oft-cited concurring opinion in the governing 1972 BRANZBURG case, the need to protect political parties taking revenge against government whistleblowers.
    There is no First Amendment protected news story for Miller to allege as a defense. She was just part of a political revenge scheme, knowingly or unknowingly. As much as Bush would like it, political revenge is not a compelling state interest under the Constitution, just a fairly typical republican party tactic.

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