Wednesday :: Jul 6, 2005

Confidentiality and abuse


by eriposte

The incomparable Josh Marshall gently chides many of us:

That said, there is a line of thinking that's become fairly widespread among the president's critics and many Democrats that says that journalistic privilege is meant to protect whistleblowers and sources exposing wrong-doing not sources who are the wrongdoers themselves.

There's a certain moral economy to this reasoning. But in practice, in the real world journalists operate, it that reasoning just doesn't hold water. It's a specious reasoning that allows people to have their civil libertarian cake and eat it too.

(I'll try to elaborate on why I think this in a subsequent post.)

Josh is a person I have enormous respect for - so naturally I look forward to his post. But for the sake of clarification, let me modify Josh's statement to make it clear what my position really is (and I suspect this is the position of many others as well):

That said, there is a line of thinking that's become fairly widespread among the president's critics and many Democrats that says that journalistic privilege is meant to protect whistleblowers and sources exposing wrong-doing not sources who are the wrongdoers themselves who specifically use journalistic privilege and confidentiality in order to commit crimes (especially against whistleblowers).

So, Josh, I do look forward to your arguments because this is an important subject, but please note the distinction.

eriposte :: 9:53 PM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!