Lake Erie Conservative

thoughtful discussion(s) about issue(s)

… In Defense of the 1st Amendment …

Posted by paulfromwloh on Monday,May 13th,2013

… In Defense of the 1st Amendment

.. Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, became the heroine of a cause celebre when federal prosecutors demanded she testify to a grand jury investigating a White House leak divulging that Valerie Plame was an undercover operative of the CIA. The government demanded she reveal her confidential sources for stories she wrote about the leak. Ms. Miller refused , and she was found in contempt of court and jailed for 85 days. She became a household name , and the poster child for freedom of the press.

.. Not as many people have heard the name Jana Winter . She , too  , is a reporter who faces jail time for refusing to divulge her sources .

English: Judith Miiler, frequently a panelist ...

English: Judith Miiler, frequently a panelist on Fox News Watch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The mainstream media does not seem to care very much. She is employed by the Fox News Channel , regarded as vile by the right-thinking people on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

.. In an affidavit filed with the court, Ms. Winter said, “In all of the time that I have worked as a journalist, I have always maintained my commitments to sources to keep the identities of confidential sources safe from disclosure. As a result, I enjoy an excellent reputation as an investigative journalist among my peers, and, as importantly, among the sources upon whom I rely to obtain information for my reporting. If this reputation were tarnished, it would severely compromise my ability to gather news, and would assuredly result in critical reports on public issues never seeing the light of the day.”

.. The case has serious implications for both the First Amendment, and for states, such as Colorado , that have enacted “shield laws” to protect reporters from revealing their sources. Colorado ‘ s law requires a court to determine whether the information obtained by a reporter is “directly relevant to a substantial issue in the proceedings.” In this case , it is clear that it does not . While Ms. Winter’s reporting demonstrated that the suspect had a desire to commit violent acts, it has no bearing on whether Mr. Holmes committed them.

.. If Ms. Winter is compelled to reveal her sources , it will have a chilling effect on reporters’ ability to gather and deliver news . The New York Times and other mainstream outlets have given scant attention or support for Ms . Winter ‘ s defense of the First Amendment. The Constitution, and Ms. Winter, deserve better.

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