Sunday, July 10, 2005

Reporters are not above the law

When newpapers use "unidentified sources" in reporting on issues critical to national security they should not be protected by so called "Shield Laws", which allow them to keep the identities of their sources secret, even fron Grand Jury investigations into the leaks. This issue has been in the news alot lately, with the identity of "Deep Throat" (the vietnam era jerk who leaked secrets about Nixon's white house) being made public, and with the investigation into who "leaked" the fact that Valerie Plame, wife of national disgrace Joseph Wilson (a current jerk who lied about Bush during the election cycle last year), was a CIA agent.

This is a controversial issue which should be discussed publicly, so here's my two cents worth.

I read this New York Times article yesterday, about the Cleveland Plain Dealer not publishing an "important" story, because their lawyers say they will have to reveal their source or go to jail. It seems that the media types think the main point of all this is "If newspapers are afraid to report stories because they may go to jail, the public suffers" I think the main point is........If the story is SO IMPORTANT to the public, and the "source" is going to LEAK NATIONAL SECRETS, then why won't they do it publicly? If someone in the government does something wrong, why not speak out? If telling your story means leaking secrets and you arn't brave enough to do it publicly, then don't do it. I think newsrooms around the country should be asking themselves "What axe does this person have to grind" before they go public with secrets.

Personally, I wouldn't print something unless the "source" was willing to go public, at least where national security is concerned.


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am so glad to know Brad has a good friend watching over him. He and I had a short correspondence by email until a few weeks before the battle in Fallujah. I hadn't known what had happened to him until just yesterday. I am grateful to know he is improving. Thank you for keeping the updates.

At 9:17 AM, Blogger christie said...

I disagree with you on this one. It seems a bit oversimplified to assume that people are regularly going to be willing to risk losing their jobs to publicize things that their conscience says should be public. Everyone has a life and a family to protect.

I do agree that, when speaking to a reporter, it is a crap shoot whether what you said and what they heard (or think they heard)is reported, as is probably the case with the Karl Rove case. But that is all the more reason to protect yourself from publicity. If you are misquoted, as people often are, you have a better chance of avoiding consequences if you have asked to remain anonymous.

Reporters couldn't function if they couldn't guarantee anonymous sources their privacy.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger senorlechero said...


My attitudes and comments on this subject apply only to "areas of national security"

If someone is going to tell national secrets, they should be willing to put their jobs (and their butts) on the line, since the secrets they give out may cost others their lives.

I think "whistleblower" laws against corporations or agencies are fine.

I wonder if we are really in disagreement.


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