Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Newspapers prove themselves irrelevant

Well, it may be yesterday's news, but if you haven't heard by now, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is sitting on stories of 'profound' importance, fearful due to the whole Judith Miller thing (she's in jail for not revealing her sources). From the article:
Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton says the Cleveland daily is not reporting two major investigative stories of "profound importance" because they are based on illegally leaked documents -- and the paper fears the consequences faced now by jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller.


Clifton's revelation that the PD was holding two investigative projects was actually first published in a column he wrote June 30 about the Miller and Cooper case. While the column garnered positive reaction, he said, almost nobody picked up on the disclosure tucked into the end of the piece.

"As I write this, two stories of profound importance languish in our hands," Clifton wrote. "The public would be well served to know them, but both are based on documents leaked to us by people who would face deep trouble for having leaked them. Publishing the stories would almost certainly lead to a leak investigation and the ultimate choice: talk or go to jail. Because talking isn't an option and jail is too high a price to pay, these two stories will go untold for now. How many more are out there?"

Clifton said he wrote the column to show that "there are consequences" to the actions taken against Miller and Cooper by a federal judge and special prosecutor.
This is kinda freaky...obviously the intent of the June 30 editorial was to show what kind of effect throwing a reporter in jail can have for our free press. I always assumed that it was in the public's interest to know as much as possible about anything of importance to the public, and that reporters could not be required to divulge sources. Apparently due to the paranoid secrecy of a certain unnamed Presidential Administration, you can kiss the 1st amendment goodbye!

Fortunately, maybe bloggers will come to the rescue of the dinosaur newspaper industry? Offers to publish any of these important stories are already emerging. I don't know how someone could ethically NOT publish a story that is of 'profound' importance.

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