July 4, 2005

On anonymous sources

Much hub-bub has been swirling around the cases of the NY Times' Judith Miller and Time's Matthew Cooper who face jail time for refusing to name their anonymous sources in regards to the Valerie Plame outing case. (the same case in which Herr Rove is implicated as the source of the leaked information that Plame was in fact a CIA operative. Blowing an agent's cover is a federal crime.)

Over at Romenesko's page on Poynter Online, the premier site for journalists to keep up with industry news and comment on issues affecting their profession, John Martellano contributes his thoughts about the matter of anonymous sources, including this...
It was never intended to be used the way it has been utterly abused in recent decades by the Washington press corps: to gain a competitive advantage against other reporters. Their passion is not for the public interest but for career-advancing scoops, and to get them, they are willing to give the powerful a shield that allows these Washington mandarins to engage in political gamesmanship with their peers, to float trial balloons, to spread disinformation without consequences or -- in the case of Valerie Plame -- to commit a felony offense in order to exact political punishment against opponents further down on the political food chain.

What should be a valuable tool for speaking truth to power has been put in serious jeopardy by vain fools who have completely lost sight of the reason why First Amendment protection exists in the first place. It's not there to make it easier for them to strut and preen on Sunday morning televised gabfests.

Reporters who do the real work of watchdog journalism in this country -- most of whom rarely if ever go to Washington, D.C. -- are the ones who will suffer for this.


At 7/06/2005 6:41 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Better watch it Dope. Soon your ID may be publicised if this trend continues.

No security for any member of the press anymore or their sources. Be sure to watch Bob Woodward tonight be interviewed by Tom Brokaw. Should be interesting.


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