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Attacking freedom of speech


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Since you called for an article - here's one that I found interesting:


July 6th, 2005 1:43 pm

Save the First Amendment--from Karl Rove


By Bill Israel / Editor and Publisher


(July 05, 2005) -- In 99.9 percent of cases I know, journalists must not break the bonds of appropriate confidentiality, to protect their ability to report, and to defend the First Amendment. I?ve testified in court to that end, and would do so again.


But the Valerie Plame-CIA case that threatens jail time for reporters from Time and The New York Times this week is the exception that shatters the rule. In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president?s chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it.


To understand why this case is exceptional, one must grasp the extent of Rove?s political mastery, which became clearer to me by working with him. When we taught "Politics and the Press" together at The University of Texas at Austin seven years ago, Rove showed an amazing disdain for Texas political reporters. At the same time, he actively cultivated national reporters who could help him promote a Bush presidency.


In teaching with him, I learned Rove assumes command over any political enterprise he engages. He insists on absolute discipline from staff: nothing escapes him; no one who works with him moves without his direction. In Texas, though he was called "the prime minister" to Gov. George W. Bush, it might have been "Lord," as in the divine, for when it came to politics and policy, it was Rove who gave, and Rove who took away.


Little has changed since the Bush presidency; all roads still lead to Rove.


Consequently, when former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson challenged President Bush?s embrace of the British notion that Saddam Hussein sought to import uranium from Niger to produce nuclear weapons, retaliation by Rove was never in doubt. While it is reporters Matthew Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times who now face jail time, the retaliation came through Rove-uber-outlet Robert Novak, who blew the cover of Wilson?s wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame.


The problem, as always, in dealing with Rove, is establishing a clear chain of culpability. Rove once described himself as a die-hard Nixonite; he is, like the former president, both student and master of plausible deniability. (This past weekend, in confirming that Rove was indeed a source for Matthew Cooper, Rove's lawyer said his client "never knowingly disclosed classified information.") That is precisely why prosecutor Fitzgerald in this case must document the pattern of Rove?s behavior, whether journalists published, or not.


For in this case, Rove, improving on Macchiavelli, has bet that reporters won?t rat their relationship with the administration?s most important political source. How better for him to operate without constraint, or to camouflage breaking the law, than under the cover of journalists and journalism, protected by the First Amendment?


Karl Rove is in my experience with him the brightest and most affable of companions; perhaps I have been coopted, for I genuinely treasure his friendship. But neither charm nor political power should be permitted to subvert the First Amendment, which is intended to insure that reporters and citizens burrow fully and publicly into government, not insulate its players from felony, or reality.


Reporters with a gut fear of breaching confidential sources must fight like tigers to protect them. But neither reporters Cooper nor Miller, nor their publications, nor anyone in journalism should protect the behavior of Rove (or anyone else) through an undiscerning, blanket use of the First Amendment that weakens its protections by its gross misuse.

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This isnt freedom of speech. Its the unwritten rule that reporters should not be obligated to reveal their sources so that other people feel free to tell reports stuff and not be revealed. Just like the attorney-client privilege and the doctor-patient confidentiality, it has absolutley no connection to any Constitutional protection nor has any court have read such a thing. Its a development of statute where it exists and from the profession of journalism itself and often miscontrued as being a freedom of speech.


The prosecutor in this case rightfully made allusions to rules governing lawyers and their obligation to confidentiality to their clients. There are exceptions and sometimes lawyers are obligated to reveal information gained in confidence. If a court decides that the law is above any professional rule of confidentiality, then the court may do so and is not prevented by anything except statute.


Here, no federal statute protects reporters. Nor should reporters who are conduits to the commision of a crime, especially a treasonous crime, be able to protect their source. No other profession allows the protection of a crime being commited.


Listen, if you allow this, then you also allow other things. What if a disgruntled CIA agent tells a newspaper the name of an undercover agent imbedded with Al Queda and then the reporter reveals that name and that agent gets murdered. Should we care more about brining that SOB to justice or reporters and sources?

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I think anonymously giving reporters information is cowardly. If you are going to say something, put your name on it.


Sometimes it's not as simple as that.


I happen to agree with everything F_M said in his post. In cases dealing with Nat'l security or extreme circumstances reporters should be pressured in revealing sources.


I must say I admire Miller, in that she is willing to go to jail for what she believes in.

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I must say I admire Miller, in that she is willing to go to jail for what she believes in.




Maybe she's afraid Karl Rove will have her "sleeping with the fishes" :lol


Well if one of the fishes is Miguel Cabrera, I am sure she won't mind. Girls love that guy.

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Actually i asked for an article stating the facts, not someones opinions of the events. Anyway, F_M if this were on the other side of the spectrum I wonder if you would agree with what you're saying now. If I were to say that a reporter's actions in writing an article about secrecy in the white house are a threat to national security, and then a court demands that reporter to reveal the leak for info in that article, would you still agree with your statement?

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Personally, I think that Robert Novak should be the one going to jail. He was the one that leaked her name in the first place, and yet he hasn't even been procecuted. That doesn't make any sense.


I have a gut feeling that Rove was the person who originally leaked the CIA operative's name, but I seriously doubt that he will ever be punished.

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Actually i asked for an article stating the facts, not someones opinions of the events.


Um, you said you would like to have a discussion about it. Last time I checked, having a discussion means expressing opinions. Since when does one person dictate what others can state on a message board?


If you dont like what I said about it, then refute it .

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Actually i asked for an article stating the facts, not someones opinions of the events.


Um, you said you would like to have a discussion about it. Last time I checked, having a discussion means expressing opinions. Since when does one person dictate what others can state on a message board?


If you dont like what I said about it, then refute it .



Nope I was asking for discussion but also for the factual article, unfortunately I didnt make myself clear enough. State your opinions all you want but I will again request the factual article about the topic for people who arent aware of whats going on. In fact I havent even stated my opinion on this topic yet, b/c I'm not sure how I feel about this situation.

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Here you go:


Reporter jailed for refusal to name leak source


WASHINGTON - Will the jailing of New York Times reporter Judy Miller scare people off from risking careers to tell reporters about government misdeeds? Or will Miller?s willingness to sit behind bars rather than name a confidential source embolden such whistleblowers?


As Miller was led from court to a jail cell Wednesday, news executives and observers debated those questions. Saddened by Miller?s fate, most feared sources will be less likely to talk; some hoped they will be reassured.


On the government side, U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, who sent Miller to jail for almost four months unless she recants and testifies, and prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who demanded her jailing, took pains in court to say they were not trying to deny reporters their sources.


Hogan noted he had let Miller remain free while she appealed up to the Supreme Court. He added that a Supreme Court decision 33 years ago that reporters could not always keep their sources? names secret had not destroyed press coverage of government scandals, including Watergate.


?This is not a one-person effort,? Fitzgerald said. He pointed out that Hogan and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had agreed he had showed that Miller?s testimony was essential and not obtainable elsewhere. And the Supreme Court refused to hear Miller?s challenge to Hogan?s civil contempt of court citation.


?In the end, the law must be obeyed,? Fitzgerald argued, citing decisions by President Truman not to seize steel mills and by President Nixon to release Watergate tapes once the Supreme Court ruled against them.


?I do not view myself as above the law,? Miller told Hogan. ?You are right to send me to prison.?


But she said she had an obligation to protect a confidential source: ?I do not make confidentiality pledges lightly, but when I do I must honor them.?


Fitzgerald is investigating whether a crime was committed, and by whom, in the Bush administration?s leak of the name of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.


Columnist Robert Novak first published Plame?s name in July 2003, days after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson, publicly disparaged President Bush?s rationale for invading Iraq. Administration detractors said the leak was designed to punish Wilson for his criticism by ending his wife?s undercover career.


Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper, who identified Plame after Novak, avoided the same jail term given Miller. Also held in contempt by Hogan for refusing to testify before Fitzgerald?s grand jury, Cooper shocked the packed courtroom Wednesday by announcing that his source had contacted him just hours earlier to give him specific, unambiguous permission to tell the grand jury about their conversations.


Miller never wrote a story naming Plame, and there?s been no official explanation why Fitzgerald wants Miller?s testimony. The court rulings upholding his effort have blacked out details of his reasons. New York Times? attorney Floyd Abrams speculated Wednesday that ?most likely somebody testified to the grand jury that he or she had spoken to Judy.?


News executives and observers, however, did not think that details of the case would limit its impact on journalism.


?This investigation ? whether it intended to or not ? is intimidating sources and journalists,? said Jane Kirtley, professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota. ?In a climate of increasing secrecy, it raises a question of whether the people will be reduced to just getting the official line from the government.?


Grasping for a silver lining outside the courthouse, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller said maybe someone in government with information to disclose will understand the lengths to which reporters will go to protect sources.


Brant Houston, executive director of Investigate Reporters and Editors, predicted, ?There will still be stories based on anonymous sources. But this will make every reporter think twice about granting anonymity, which they really should do anyway.?


Deanna Sands, Omaha, Neb., World-Herald managing editor and president of Associated Press Managing Editors Association, was less optimistic.


?It raises the specter of government intervention in the gathering of information and has to be noticed by anyone considering talking to a reporter,? Sands said in a telephone interview. ?It?s more likely to give people pause.


?Unfortunately, we?ll never know how many good stories we won?t get to write.?


The Miller-Cooper case has been seen as a test of press freedom, and numerous media groups have lined up behind the reporters. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have shield laws protecting reporters from having to identify their confidential sources, though there is no federal protection. Congress is considering a bill, however, and Cooper and others involved in the case have urged passage.


Hogan and Fitzgerald stressed that they were not asking Miller to identify a whistleblower but rather a possible criminal. Disclosure of an undercover intelligence officer?s identity can be a federal crime if done intentionally and the leaker knew of the secret status.


Hogan said allowing Miller to defy the courts would be a step toward anarchy. He saw ?a realistic possibility that confinement might cause her to testify? or persuade her source to give her the same release Cooper?s gave him.


Miller was seen entering the Alexandria, Va., Detention Center, where she could remain until the grand jury expires Oct. 28.

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