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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Are Reporters Above the Law?

The courts have spoken in the Plame case. Why does the New York Times think it doesn't have to listen? Michael Kinsley does a very good job with this question. Money quote:
For all the grand talk about the 1st Amendment, this isn't about the right of the press to publish information. It is about a right to keep information secret. The government has secrets too. Even the New York Times acknowledges that sometimes the government's right to secrecy is more important (wartime troop movements is its single, melodramatic example). And even the federal government recognizes the social utility of a vigorous press. That's why it goes out of its way to avoid demanding trial evidence from journalists in most circumstances. From this, it is easy enough to imagine a compromise, ideally reflected in a federal journalistic shield law that defines the situations in which journalists can and cannot protect the sources.