"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Journalistic privilege
Arthur Sibler has a great piece on just what journalistic privilege is and is not. Once Upon a Time...: The Privilege to Destroy: The Priesthood of Journalism

"As we've seen in the sorry saga of Saint Judy of the Times, this turns the idea of protecting confidential sources on its head, and completely reverses its intended aim. The idea had once been to protect a person who revealed wrongdoing by the powerful and who might be retaliated against, possibly severely, by those same powerful people or their powerful friends. It was critical to this idea, although almost everyone now seems to have forgotten it, that the person who revealed wrongdoing was telling the truth. That was a crucial part of the original context in which this idea arose. It has now been dropped entirely. Journalists can peddle the lies told by the false confessors with impunity, and the liar goes scot free. The lies can cause great damage, and the liar is never called to account."

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