Journalism’s “Black Wednesday” — NYT’s Judith Miller Goes to Jail

Today will be remembered as one of the darkest days in the history of journalism, of freedom of the press, of freedom, period.

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is going to jail for not revealing her source in the Valerie Plame affair. Meanwhile, Time Magazine reporter Matthew Cooper is turning over his notes, and columnist/commentator/neo-con hothead Robert Novak, who outed former CIA agent Plame and put her life in danger, is on the sidelines, perhaps negotiating his book deal.

It’s a bad day for due process but a worse day for the truth, the future of which is in serious jeopardy.

Journalists are only as good as their sources – without them there are only press releases and staged sound bites. Yes, unnamed sources should only be used as a last resort, but sometimes they are necessary. Sometimes they need protection – and so do the journalists.

I’m not a fan of Judith Miller’s work – her coverage of the Iraq war was an embarrassment to her newspaper and to fellow journalists everywhere. But I am proud of her for refusing to relinquish her Constitutional rights, and for standing up for all of us.

I just hope she is not already too late.

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