Rove/Plame: Judy jailed, Matt sings

And reporters all round the corporate press whistle a worried tune


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Timeswoman Judith Miller went to jail yesterday--she should have insisted on a full perp walk, with cuffs--and Matthew Cooper of Time has announced he'll testify before the grand jury. (Cooper said he got permission from his source--Karl Rove, though he did not name him--at the last minute.) Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is mau-mauing the press for all he's worth.

Writes Carol Leonnig in the WashPost:

In unusually blunt language, Fitzgerald told Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan that Cooper and Miller pretend that journalists have a broader right to protect confidential sources than lawyers, presidents and law enforcement officers. "Journalists are not entitled to promise complete confidentiality -- no one in America is," he wrote.


Over at Jim Romenesko's media blog, there's a great deal of jawing about this fresh government assault on the press, and almost nothing concerning the other side of the equation: Time's historic capitulation in the case, and the broader trend in corporate media toward abandoning even the pretense of a confrontational role vis a vis government.

We've seen it in spades recently in the rush of media outlets pledging to use anonymous sources rarely, or never. Never mind that the vast majority of whistleblowers in government or corporate suites demand anonymity as a condition of telling what they know; the corporate press means to get out of that line of work--because, among other things, it's bad business. Enterprise journalism of any sort, but most especially investigative reporting on powerful institutions, is costly. It takes skills and expertise that make for high payroll and expense lines. And the increasing concentration of ownership has made it all the more certain that investigative reporting will only offend a media outfit's friends and colleagues in the corporate world and in government.

As to how wide this circle of friends really is, Sam Smith's Undernews features a great Project Censored item on the interlocking boards of media companies.


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