Wednesday, June 29, 2005

O Bill, We've Missed You

Safire, that is, not Clinton. William Safire returns to the NYT op-ed page today to write in praise of Judy Miller of the NYTand against the SCOTUS decision to allow the prosecution of Miller and Time reporter Matthew Cooper. In The Jailing of Judith Miller , her argues that reportorial privilege is key:

The principle at stake here is the idea of "reportorial privilege," embraced in shield laws in 49 states and the District of Columbia, but not in federal courts. That privilege not to testify - held by lawyers, members of the clergy, spouses and others - gives assurance to whistleblowers that information confided to a reporter revealing corruption or malfeasance in government will not result in loss of job or more severe retaliation from on high. (Most of the states' attorneys general, recognizing the value of press leads in law enforcement, strongly supported the reporters in this case.)

Safire is right to lament the SCOTUS's lack of action and to list steps that need to be taken. We should be years beyond the point where people are still made martyrs of for free speech, and the High Court's failure to acknowledge this is a scary indicator the direction of future rulings on media issue.


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