Bob Woodward has offered to serve some of jailed reporter Judith Miller's time behind bars, and urged others to share her incarceration as well.(Click here for the Viking's witty and true take on it.) I'll force this into a springboard for another point, though. I don't much know the law, so Razor will have to help out. But it seems to me Miller should go to jail (though whether Woodward or anyone else can "serve her time for her" is another matter). Is the journalistic shield a legal matter, or an ethical one? Ethical, I think. A reporter protects her source, right? But the courts shouldn't necessarily recognize that the way they recognize, say, attorney-client privilege. After all, a client has to talk to his attorney, to some extent, if he wants good representation. Thus the protection. But a source isn't obligated to speak to a reporter, so why should there be protection?
Look, if Miller goes to jail for pretecting her source, amen to her. That takes guts. But I have always thought that the protection of a source was something reporters did at their own risk anyway. That's the point, isn't it? It doesn't take much guts to protect a source if you have immunity from subpoena, after all.
This has become a major stir in the blogging community too. Should bloggers have any kind of protection? Sure, and anybody with a crappy webpage can defy a court order. I like the idea of credentialing a few bloggers for political conventions and suchlike, but I've never been a big enough fan of journalists to want to live in a world where everyone is one.
Put Miller in the clink.