WASHINGTON—As journalists make headlines by refusing to identify anonymous sources in federal legal proceedings, Accuracy in Media (AIM) editor Cliff Kincaid said today that the media have no alternative but to obey the law and supply evidence of possible criminal activity.
“If they want to thumb their noses at federal law and court orders,” said Kincaid, “they should pay the price and go to jail. They should quit whining that they have a special protected status in society and are above the law. They are not.”
Kincaid said it is ironic that journalists are complaining about being ordered to provide testimony and documents in the case of the anonymous administration official who identified CIA agent Valerie Plame because the media encouraged the federal investigation of this matter in the first place. “Liberal journalists thought that a federal probe would nab conservative columnist Robert Novak, who received and publicized the information about Plame, and a White House official, in some conspiracy to punish a Bush Administration critic ? Plame’s husband and former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Instead, the story boomeranged on the press, forcing journalists like Matt Cooper of Time and Judith Miller of The New York Times to disclose what they know about the affair or face jail time.”
“In a further irony,” Kincaid said, “the naming of Plame was probably not a violation of law, and Wilson’s much-publicized charge that the administration lied about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium from Africa itself turned out to be false.”
Kincaid said that a federal shield law, in order to protect reporters from disclosing their sources, is the wrong way for Congress to proceed. “Such an approach will win cheers from the press,” said Kincaid. “But journalists don’t deserve special rights or protections. We need more, not less, accountability and disclosure from the media.”
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.