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What's on Pages 72 thru 78?

Chicago Sun Times: "Kids, don't fall for 'free press' hype"


"Anybody who thinks they want to be a reporter should be required to read every single word of the opinion of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia No. 04-3138. That's the one that ordered Miller and Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper to reveal their confidential sources to a federal grand jury.

Pay particular attention to pages 72 through 78. Why? Because they're blank, that's why. Even experienced constitutional lawyers are flabbergasted by this. But at the request of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor assigned to this inquiry, his most powerful arguments for why Miller and Cooper should break their promises to sources are too sensitive for any of us to see.

As one respected First Amendment expert was heard to say, "What is this, freakin' Albania?"

What's on those pages? I think we need to know - I would like to know, because apart from the stance that "nobody is above the law', the Freedom of the Press for the future may depend on it. As the majority of my colleagues are telling me, this ruling, along with the subsequent jailing of Judith Miller has sent a chilling effect across newsrooms throughout the nation, and indeed is already stopping good and important stories from being published.

The question I have is why would Mr. Fitzgerald, in a case with such national attention - especially to us who are real journalists - consider the reasons that journalist/source confidentiality be violated be so 'sensitive'?

I intend to find out. Yet beyond this overdone, and quite frankly ridulous story of Valerie Plame and who gave her identitity away there is a greater story unfolding:

"What is the future of journalism?"

As to Judith Miller and her jailing because of her refusal to "violate her word", it may just well prove to be the "Rosa Parks" beginning point to Federal Shield Law legislation. For the sake of the future of Journalism, I hope it does.


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