Thursday, June 29, 2006

REPORTER SHIELD? -- Theodore Olsen opines: "Journalists reporting on high-profile legal or political controversies cannot function effectively without offering some measure of confidentiality to their sources. Their ability to do so yields substantial benefits to the public in the form of stories that might otherwise never be written about corruption, misfeasance and abuse of power. A person with information about wrongdoing is often vulnerable to retaliation if exposed as an informant."

Speaking of which, WaPo editorial weighs in on the NYT decision to disclose the financial data monitoring program: "The decision on whether to publish information that government officials assert would damage national security is one of the gravest choices a newspaper can face. There may be times when editors get it wrong, either printing material that proves harmful or withholding information that should have come to light. But these are risks that the Constitution contemplated and that the Framers were persuaded were worth tolerating to ensure a free and vigorous press.