Thursday, June 30, 2005


I really don't understand this.

NEW YORK - Time Inc. said Thursday it would comply with a court order to deliver the notes of a reporter threatened with jail in the investigation of the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan is threatening to jail Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times for contempt for refusing to disclose their sources.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the reporters' appeal and the grand jury investigating the leak expires in October. The reporters, if in jail, would be freed at that time.

You see, the way this works is that it allows our media to collectively pretend that Cooper was a stand up journalist fighting to preserve his source anonymity until the very end while letting his employer, Time Magazine, bail him out. We can preserve the myth that journalists are noble crusaders, that Cooper was grand and good and noble because he was "willing" to go to jail for his source, even as the publisher makes the whole battle moot.

When it comes to defending the supposed principles they were fighting for, this seems like a rather bad outcome. The whole point was that to protect the freedom of the press you had to protect the identity of confidential sources. From this perspective Time taints their entire publication -- you can't rely on anyone working for that magazine to protect their sources because the publishers/editors will sell out all of their journalist's sources.