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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Media Under Attack, but Not Robert Novak

Today, a judge ordered a New York Times reporter jailed for failing to reveal a source. Judith Miller was ordered to jail today in what is viewed by the journalistic community as an attack on the media by the government. Ironically, the source in question could turn out to be Karl Rove, President Bush's top political advisor. As much as I would like to see Rove pay for his actions if indeed he is the leak in the Plame case, are we willing to erode the trust anonymous sources place in their confidants? Is it worth loosing trust in reporters' right to maintain anonymous sources? Anonymous sources that have broken open Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, and others? How can the media be expected to keep the government in check(even though they have done a poor job of that lately) if it is at the mercy of righteous prosecutors that say journalists are not above the law? I agree they are not above the law, but to force them to reveal their informants will only serve to scare the few with big brass ones willing to leak the information that holds governments in check and possibly brings the truth out into the open. Yes, reporters also have a huge responsibility in assertaining the validity of their sources and extra security measures should be taken in such cases. But, it should be left to the journalistic institutions to police themselves, barring that they completely blow it, which I doubt very much.

In this particular case a serious crime was committed, so I am ambivalent about the court ruling. I would not be as ambivalent if the prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald actually did his job properly and went after the person who is responsible for this entire fiasco: Robert Novak. He definitely knows who is the leak and most definitely knew that a crime was being committed when the leak gave the information. He also might have broken the law himself by revealing that information in his 2003 story. Why is Fitzgerald ignoring Novak? Could it be that Novak is a heavy right wing hack on the inside in Washington at a time when the right wing of the Republican party has taken control of the government. Naw, that can't be it.

Judge Orders Jail for N.Y. Times Reporter

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