Jana Winter may soon be treading ankle deep in press freedom bullshit once stepped on by former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.
Winter has been ordered to divulge her source over information pertaining to a notebook owned by James Holmes, who is responsible for 12 deaths at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado back in 2012. According to the defense attorneys of Holmes, the leak of information infringed on court orders that limited public access to material or potential evidence. The court order was established so as to allow a fair trial.
*Sidenote: Because of some psychiatry law, the notebook can’t be used against Holmes.
Similarly during an FBI investigation back in 2005, Judith Miller refused to name her source that leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame. Although not having written a single word about Plame back in her NYTimes days, Miller said that she knew who leaked Plame’s name and was promptly thrown in jail for contempt of court. After having spent near 3 months in jail, she finally decided, “Okay fiiiiine” and testified before a grand jury. Thus Scooter Libby, chief of staff to then Vice President Dick Cheney, was discovered to be the leak.
While the media has tried to spin the two reporters alike and paint them as press freedom heroes waving flags of reporter martyrism, let me just be quick to point out that Judith Miller is an asshole. Her role in the Plame Affair was hiding someone who wanted the general public to believe that Iraq was capable of mass destruction. The Bush administration was bent on invading Iraq that they were also bent on inflicting whatever damage they can on those who opposed… that included Valerie Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, who took a trip to Niger to investigate claims of Saddam Hussein purchasing uranium. And what did he find, you ask? Nothing.
…and look where we are now! 🙂
Fast forward to Winter who currently straddles the fence between freedom and jail time. Law enforcement have already taken oath and denied leaking information, leaving Winter to be thrown under the bus. Should she have reported on the mental being of Holmes? From a journalistic standpoint, or at least my opinion, the point of being a reporter is to cover all angles so that the public can make their own opinion. Without reporting that, how else would we have opened up a conversation about mental illnesses and its effects on society and violence?
The ramifications of the law complicates matters for the press. If Winter were to be punished for refusing to name her source, journalism, as Theodore Boutrous Jr. said in the New York Times, would be seriously jeopardized and laws protecting it would be gutted.
So lay off Winter, woulddya!
Thoughts, ladies and gentlemen?