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Friday, March 09, 2007

While the Beltway Journalists Sing....

Josh Wolf rots in jail...

The SF Bay Guardian's Bruce Brugmann says it's a shame, and calls out Kurtz:

Marvelous. Simply marvelous. While ten of the l9 witnesses testifying in the Libby trial were singing journalists, and three of them were central to securing Libby's conviction, Howard Kurtz, the media critic of the Washington Post and the voice of the inside-the-beltway media establishment, did not raise any of the obvious issues and questions in this unprecedented mass outing of sources by journalists in federal court in Washington, D.C. It was a "spectacle that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago," as Adam Liptak put it rightly in the New York Times March 8.

Instead, one day after the Libby guilty verdict, Kurtz went after Josh Wolf, the longest jailed journalist in U.S. history for contempt of court, in his March 8 column headlined "Jailed Man Is A Videographer And a Blogger but Is He a Journalist?" Kurtz, who tosses softballs about every Sunday morning in his media show on CNN, hit Josh hard with a lead that said, "He is being cast by some journalists as a young champion of the First Amendment, jailed for taking a lonely stand heavy-handed federal prosecutors."

Then: "But Wolf's rationale for withholding the video, and refusing to testify, is less than crystal clear. There are no confidential sources involved in the case. He sold part of the tape to local television stations and posted another portion on his blog. Why, then, is he willing to give up his freedom over the remaining footage?"

And then he quoted, not a media lawyer nor a journalist with knowledge of
California law, but a professor who ought to be flunked out of law school (Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California Los Angeles). Kurtz quoted Volokh as saying without blushing, "It's one thing to say journalists must respect promises of confidentiality they made to their sources. It would be quite another to say journalists have a right to refuse to testify even about non-confidential sources. When something is videotaped in a public place, it's hard to see even an implied agreement of confidentiality."

To which I ask....whatthe?

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