The Dangers of the Moral Highground

Imagine you were in the CIA or some other sensitive position and wanted to leak a great story to the press (get the word out etc.). Obviously it would be very important that no one figured out that you did it. So do you call up the reporter who gave into pressure from the feds and revealed their informant, or do you talk to the reporter who spent 4 months in prison to protect the identity of her sources?

From Cnn.com:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal judge ordered New York Times reporter Judith Miller jailed for contempt of court Wednesday for refusing to testify to a grand jury investigating the leak of a CIA operative's name. She was taken into custody immediately.

Miller faces up to four months in jail, the length of time before the term of the federal grand jury in the case expires.

"We have to follow the law," U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan said.

"If she were given a pass today, then the next person could say as a matter of principle, 'I will not obey the law because of the abortion issue,' or the election of a president or whatever. They could claim the moral high ground, and then we could descend into anarchy."

I think there might be a strange bit of truth in Judge Thomas Hogan's statement.

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I believe the judge should

I believe the judge should have said "ascend into anarchy". :)

Really I had two main

Really I had two main points. 1. they are doing this reporter a favor, and 2. The judge's statement is really kind of funny. I don't know enough about the case to judge whether said reporter should or shouldn't be in jail, nor whether she should or shouldn't help the government in this case. But I'll take your word for it.

The whole notion of taking the moral high ground as an avenue to ANARCHY, is what I find amusing. Though it sounds as if this reporter's actions have nothing to do with "taking the moral high ground" as such, which is interesting. It means the judge is giving her way too much credit with his statement, and perhaps helping to fuel the media's biased opinion of the case.(Not that it wouldn't be biased otherwise).

The people who need the

The people who need the shield law are people like Joseph Wilson, the *real* whistleblower in this case, and Valerie Plame. Oh, wait, Valerie Plame already *has* a shield law, and it's Miller who's flipping that shield law the bird.

I do strongly believe in the first amendment and the need for an independent media, but people are clamining a shield law for reporters is necessary to make sure wrongdoing in government is exposed. Miller is in jail for refusing to help in an investigation of government wrongdoing, not for exposing government wrongdoing. Unfortunately, it's pretty clear to me that the media is VERY biased toward letting reporters get away with anything.

I think Judge Hogan made absolutely the right decision in this case, and Miller can rot in jail for the sins of the entire news media in failing to point out that it's not a whistleblower they're protecting, it's a criminal who took revenge *against* a whistleblower.

there is, but being able to

there is, but being able to make that into the point just means whoever's got the resources to massage what they want from the law is up against... nothing, really. it's a little like cries for de-regulation coming from the mouthpieces of legal fictions enjoying limited liability. the house rules of anarchy.