Jail the Messenger, Forget the Message!

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That is the message an abominable U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan delivered on Wednesday. Journalists who report wrongdoings by government officials are the best friend democratic voters in a free society could possibly have. Judge Hogan obviously does not think that is true. Apparent from his jailing of NY Times journalist, Judith Miller, Judge Hogan believes journalists with confidential sources are a threat to government. Since he is a part of that government, such defiance in withholding confidential sources to preserve the free flow of information about government is a threat, and he means to insure that threat to government wrongdoing is incarcerated. It is a sad day for democracy in America and a loss of 1st Amendment protection.

The bottom line is, as Watergate and a host of other wrongdoings by government officials has since proved, confidential sources are the only way such wrongdoings are likely to ever become known to the voters and public in general. Confidential sources are in many cases, the only opportunity the public has to protect itself against wrongdoing by their government officials. And there is no doubt, as Joe Scarborough said on Wednesday, that if he were not guaranteed confidentiality, he would not have reported the wrongdoings he did when in D.C. He said the Republican Party would have come down on him heavily and his constituents would have been the ultimate losers if he, as a whistle blowing source, had been outed.

There are real and defensible reasons, including fear for one's life, for whistle blowers to have faith in the confidentiality agreements they strike with journalists. The power of government is awesome. It has the ability to make Americans disappear without a trace. The only protection against potential abuse of that power is insider whistle blowers who need the confidentiality agreements to protect and preserve their earnings, their job, and their families continuity of lifestyle and security, if not their very lives. It is time for all Americans from all political parties to contact their representatives demanding legislation that will protect the public's right to know when government officials act in contradiction to the Constitution, our land's laws, and in contradiction to the welfare of Americans at large.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on July 6, 2005 10:48 PM.

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