Can a newspaper "go to jail"?


The New York Times continues its campaign to show how the Plame affair will lead to the chilling of press freedoms. Here it covers the Cleveland Plain Dealer's claims it is withholding from publication two investigative stories based on leaks for fear of prosecution.

A reporter is quoted as being willing to martyr himself a la Judith Miller but that "the newspaper isn't willing to go to jail." If this is an example of the semantics of journalists, we are in trouble. How can a newspaper go to jail?

The editor of the paper, Doug Clifton, characterized the documents and the story of being "profoundly important." The editor for the paper later admits in the article that "these are documents that someone had and should not have released to anyone else" and that they were illegally disclosed.

If they were so "profoundly important" maybe Clifton should just go ahead and publish. Or is he just making a claim to highlight the sacrifice the public is experiencing due to the judicial treatment of the Times and Time magazine? If this involves a state issue, then state shield laws should provide protection and if this profoundly important issue is a federal issue, the whole nation might benefit from its release, no?

Ed Lasky   7 9 05