recounts the Plame affair and the role the media, especially the New York Times, played in getting Patrick Fitzgerald appointed to investigate the leaking of Valerie Plame's position at the CIA and her relationship to Joe Wilson to the press.
Kelly notes the irony of Judy Miller's being jailed for contempt when she refused to name her sources for a story that she never reported, and this:
Being liberal requires flexibility of principle, but it's been fascinating to watch the contortions of journalists who argue that revealing Ms. Plame's identity was a serious breach of national security which must be prosecuted, but the other leaks are boons to the republic which should be applauded.
The press claims to espouse high standards of journalistic ethics, which seem to be much like the situational ethics that most of us would call hypocrisy and never so clearly as in this case.
In the end, the ethical principle involved seems to be "If it hurts George Bush, print it, and the law be damned." This is dishonest, prejudiced, anti-American and just plain unethical. Particularly obnoxious is the routine use of leaks by disgruntled bureaucrats. People don't leak information without some ulterior motive, either self-aggrandisement or a desire to undermine policy. The exception is when they are honestly concerned about corruption or neglect of duty, but more and more these days leaks seem to be accepted as shortcut to avoid real reporting.Mort Kondracke
is hardly a right-wing idealogue and he has written:
It's harmful enough that ideological conflict and partisan politics are preventing this country from solving its long-term challenges on health care, fiscal policy and energy. Now it's threatening our national survival.
He's right, but only the press can correct this dangerous situation.
If I were a publisher or editor, I'd be concerned about the amount of leaking and publishing of leaks, knowing that Watergate is the exception, not the rule, and that for the press to place itself above the law is not a service either to the public or to democracy.