The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, August 16, 2004

Mother of Mercy, could this be the end of anonymous USG sourcing?

According to Howie Kurtz today, Time's Matt Cooper, currently bearing a one-way ticket to Fort Leavenworth courtesy of the Ken Starr (or is that, Inspector Javert) de nos jours, Patrick Fitzgerald,
doubles as an amateur stand-up comedian.

He may, perhaps, also play a part in the fall of the current system of anonymous sourcing in Washington. Time's lawyer in the case, Floyd Abraham, says that, if Cooper loses on the point of source protection,
Journalists will live under a new regime in which they'll either have to cut back very substantially on the use of anonymous sources -- even in situations that the fiercest journalistic critics think are appropriate -- or accept a much higher level of punishment on a much more frequent basis than journalists are used to in this country.

But the journos themselves possess the nuclear option. Kurtz quotes former US Attorney Joe diGenova:
Law enforcement officials routinely "leak information to the press," says diGenova, and "expect reporters are going to keep their confidence no matter what. And if that means going to jail, I think sources expect that."ยก

Journalists know where the bodies are buried - I suspect, in some cases, literally. They keep their tapes and notebooks. If Cooper finds himself in the hoosegow, it would surely be time for massive retaliation.

Will the worms turn?


From Romenesko, from whom all - many - good things flow, media-wise, further links here and here.

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