Judith Miller sees a “travesty of justice” in forcing a reporter to divulge the identity of a confidential source who leaked information pertinent to a criminal trial. The real travesty would be if a single journalist affected an accused’s right to a fair trial.
Reporters have no business deciding the significance of information covered by a judge’s gag order, as the Fox News journalist did in this case by reporting leaked material in the trial of accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes. Transparency demands that a journalist’s stories can be proved, not created by the occasional reporter with an ax to grind.
Miller crossed the line in implying that an accused individual must suffer for some higher principle of political openness. Our Founding Fathers quite rightly did not anoint a journalist with standing equal to a judge in determining the path to justice.
It’s a crying shame that in a democracy, a journalist can be jailed for failing to reveal a source. But Miller isn’t the best person to make this point.
When the Bush administration was stirring up public support for an unnecessary and ultimately disastrous war, Miller acted as an agent of disinformation for the White House, writing stories based on lies published in the New York Times about Iraq’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.
This is not journalism, and Miller is not a journalist, any more than her employer, Fox News, is a news organization.
Marvin J. Wolf
Mar Vista Heights