Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Protecting sources or protecting lies?

WASHINGTON — A federal judge held a former USA TODAY reporter in contempt of court on Tuesday for failing to identify sources who named former Army scientist Steven Hatfill as a possible suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people.

The whole article is here.

I don't have any sympathy for the press anymore. I understand that, like detectives, the press have their sources that provide them with information. Sometimes valuable information. And to risk losing the ability to break a story or provide a story with facts no one else has is a big deal. But it's become a joke of late. When newspapers can divulge information about the military that would otherwise be thought to be confidential, they're stepping over the line. In my opinion, the press has become very biased and devoid of any integrity. It should be a reasonable request that the news reported be accurate. But accuracy doesn't seem to matter at times.

In the case of this USA Today reporter, we're not just talking about a person's reputation. After all, what if the claims are correct? This is also a criminal matter. A serious criminal matter. Be it a doctor, detective, or the press . . . give it up. You are not only not above the law, you are not above contempt. When issues become this serious one would expect those in the press to be forthcoming with information. To withhold that information shows a complete disregard of the law, the people involved in the case, and to an extent, public safety.

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