According to the New York Times, a judge wants reporters to reveal their sources in stories regarding “a former Army scientist’s possible role in the 2001 anthrax attacks.” The judge wants the sources revealed in an effort by the scientist to prove a defamation lawsuit against his alleged accusers.
This recent trend toward judicial attacks on the journalistic protection will have an increasingly negative effect on the media’s ability to appropriately provide information to the public. Hidden sources have long been the lifeblood of an industry meant to shine the light on dark corners of criminal behavior and the misuse of the publics’ trust.
Sure, the media has fallen down on the job, recently, posting pictures of Britney’s giner rather than providing updates on the war in Afghanistan. Sure, the media has tried to solidify power by steering public fears and perceptions hither and yon according to their whims.
But that doesn’t mean we have to attack to the very foundation of honorable and essential investigative journalism by altering the basic tenant of the protection of sources. Such decrees will further send the media into the realm of irrelevant and useless. Like Britney’s giner.