The Attorney General announces position on reporters being required to reveal undisclosed sources.
I have seen only one newscast about this subject and I expect there will be ample discussion and argument over the next weeks and months regarding this subject.
Reporters feel they have some first amendment rights to disclose information without revealing their sources.
I do not agree with them because they have already told us they should not use this practice unless it is a last resort. How can that be?
The constitution was very vague about the freedom of the press. In the first amendment a very short statement about congress not making any laws to abridge the press leaves a situation open to interpretation and argument as to what is the press that has this power.
I even found statements that it was better not to give any details so that it would slide through ratification easier. It was ratified by 9 states and it is interesting to review the states and their rural nature and possibly simpler expectations.
The press itself seemed to recognize the lack of definition and I believe, but am not positive, that they set up their own standards which helped define the press that would be protected by the first amendment.
Many feel the press is not conforming to its own standards and if not, I put forth the argument that if the press does not meet the definition of the press which it has helped to define, then it is not the “press” and not entitled to the protections given it. This would include the excessive use of undisclosed sources which some leading papers have covered in their standards as only being used in certain circumstances and as a last resort.
You can read my original posting on this subject, please go to Archive, select August 2006, and scroll down to August 11 under “Press, Free Press and Congress then The Freedom of the Press”