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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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Plame jailbirds-to-be: blame the addiction to anonymice

The most ridiculous criminal case of the year?

It was always in no one's interest - not even the Dems', who are hoping to be occupying the White House this time next year - for the Valerie Plame/Robert Novak leak case to do other than leak away into the sands [1].

The special prosecutor, Patrick J Fitzgerald, is clearly channelling Ken Starr, though: and DC journalists may find themselves behind bars for not revealing their wretched sources (Romenesko links roundup).

As it happens, the Columbia Journalism Review has a piece on the protection of journalists' sources which deserves reading beside the pieces on the Plame farrago. It makes the point that source protection is not an unmitigated public good; and that the law - state and Federal - on the subject is murky - notably, the Supreme Court case of Branzburg v Hayes - but suggests that there is good reason on all sides to leave it that way.

There is no necessary good TV movie conclusion here - especially from the pusillanimous shower of shit currently filling the nine black capes. And what if they suddenly get religion, and rule unequivocally in favour of the People's Justice's right to full evidence?

The only good that might come of the whole sordid affair would be a determiniation on the part of the gentlemen of the press to kick their addiction to the use of USG anonymous sources (Plawg passim). Perhaps seeing some of their better known colleagues taking a rest at Club Fed might give them pause.

Whoa, look! Are those Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots up there...?

  1. Unlike, say, Grutter and Gratz, the Michigan University affirmative action cases, which could have been excellent clean wins, had not USG collectively crapped their pants and wimped out.

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