Thursday, June 30, 2005

Punching Judy, Hurting Ourselves

I'm extremely disappointed in you.

How can you not recognize how wrong you are about this.

Yes. You. I'm talking to you.

You, the liberal. You, the Democrat. You, the progressive. You, the blogger.

How can you possibly be happy about this?

Have you even taken the time to read it?

How can you be so pigheaded? How can you be so obtuse? How can you be so naive?

Don't you know what can happen because of this precedent?

Don't you care about the 1st Amendment?

Not all of us are so stupid.

Thank the heavens.

Rox gets it. Tas gets it. Meteor Blades gets it. Armando gets it. Kevin Drum gets it.

Why don't most of you?

Don't put partisanship before principle.

Read it:

Time Inc. said it would comply with a court order requiring it to deliver the subpoenaed records to a grand jury in connection with the Special Counsel's investigation into the Valerie Plame matter. The decision follows the Supreme Court's refusal to review a federal court order requiring production of the documents in a case involving Time magazine's White House correspondent, Matt Cooper (Matthew Cooper and Time Inc. v. United States, No. 04-1508.) Norman Pearlstine, Editor in Chief, issued the following statement:

"The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, including the right to gather information of interest to the public and, where necessary, to protect the confidentiality of sources.

Time Inc. believes in that guarantee. That is why we have supported from the outset the efforts of Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper in resisting the Special Counsel's attempts to obtain information regarding Mr. Cooper's confidential sources. Time Inc. and Mr. Cooper have fought this case all the way from the district court to the Supreme Court of the United States.

In this particular case, where national security and the role of a grand jury have been at issue, the Supreme Court chose to let stand the district court's order requiring Time Inc. and Mr. Cooper to comply with the Special Counsel's subpoenas. It did so after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed that order.

In declining to review the important issues presented by this case, we believe that the Supreme Court has limited press freedom in ways that will have a chilling effect on our work and that may damage the free flow of information that is so necessary in a democratic society. It may also encourage excesses by overzealous prosecutors.

It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court has left uncertain what protections the First Amendment and the federal common law provide journalists and their confidential sources.

It is also worth noting that many foreign governments, including China, Venezuela, and Cameroon, to name a few, refer to U.S. contempt rulings when seeking to justify their own restrictive press laws.

Despite these concerns, Time Inc. shall deliver the subpoenaed records to the Special Counsel in accordance with its duties under the law. The same Constitution that protects the freedom of the press requires obedience to final decisions of the courts and respect for their rulings and judgments. That Time Inc. strongly disagrees with the courts provides no immunity. The innumerable Supreme Court decisions in which even Presidents have followed orders with which they strongly disagreed evidences that our nation lives by the rule of law and that none of us is above it.

We believe that our decision to provide the Special Prosecutor with the subpoenaed records obviates the need for Matt Cooper to testify and certainly removes any justification for incarceration.

Time Inc.'s decision doesn't represent a change in our philosophy, nor does it reflect a departure from our belief in the need for confidential sources. It does reflect a response to a profound departure from the practice of federal prosecutors when this case is compared with other landmark cases involving confidentiality over the past 30 years. Since the days of Attorney General John Mitchell, the Justice Department has sought confidential sources from reporters as a last resort, not as an easy option. Neither Archibald Cox, the Watergate Special Prosecutor, nor Judge John Sirica sought to force the Washington Post or its reporters to reveal the identity of "Deep Throat," the prized confidential source.

Although we shall comply with the order to turn over the subpoenaed records, we shall continue to support the protection of confidential sources. We do so with the knowledge that forty-nine states and the District of Columbia now recognize some form of protection for confidential sources, and that legislation is now pending in Congress to enact a federal shield law for confidential sources."

This can't possibly be want you want.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?

This is a sad day for journalism.

This is a sad day for bloggers.

This is a sad day for America.

If Michael Smith, the British journalist who broke the story about the Downing Street memo, were an American, it's very possible that he could be in a similiar predicament.

I want an American Michael Smith to find us an informant...and an American Michael Smith might face the same kind of peril.

Hypothetically, if a CIA source had to be outed in order for us to learn more about the rush to war, well then, I'm sure most of you would be singing a different tune.

Hell, I hate Judith Miller. I think she deserves to be fired for her lies-mixed-with-propaganda and disguised as journalism.

I'd even agree with an argument that Judy Miller should face a war crimes tribunal for her contribution to the deaths of over 1700 American troops and anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

But not for this.

This is a dangerous precedent which threatens each and every one of us.

Principles should come before partisanship.

Stop and think for a fucking minute.


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