November 18, 2004

Mixed Feelings About The Press

I was reading about a reporter convicted of criminal contempt for not revealing one of his sources.

I'm really torn about this one. On one side, his actions in reporting the story itself broke no laws. His on-air actions, as far as I can tell, were completely legal.

However, most of the reporters I know of will only protect a source that didn't break the law. From the looks of this case, the source had to be a person who was under orders from the court not to disseminate any information. They did anyway. The person who leaked the tape had to be directly involved in either the prosecution or defense of the individuals in question.

So I'm torn about this one. On one hand, I respect the journalist for sticking to his guns and protecting his source, no matter the cost to himself. On the other hand, this journalist potentially contaminated the jury pool and acted as a tool of someone involved in the case in exchange for an exclusive.

I wonder what will happen the first time that a blogger gets hauled in front of a judge and asked to spill his guts about the events that he reports.

No comments: