Class Notes

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Watched the trailer for the Above the Fold Documentary about Anelia; No class on Thursday.

Watching a video about how Journalists deal with their jobs – should you have confidential sources?

Expect law enforcement will ask a lot more journalists’ opinions with terrorism becoming a much bigger issue.

NOTES: News War (Part 1)

Once upon a time journalists/media were considered heroes; now that’s not really the case

July 6, 2005: reporters being hounded by the reporters after the Plame affair

Bush administration pushing for war in 2003

The government has an advantage when they want to sell an idea

NYTimes tied to the government in some way, so they printed support stories

Judith Miller covered terrorism for a long time

  • She believed that they wouldn’t give the president false information, but she had the wrong sources
  • If your sources are wrong, then you’re wrong
  • Thought there were WMD (weapons of mass destruction)
  • Some WMD reports hoped that they were getting it right

They were hearing doubts about WMD reports

Baghdad had fallen by end of 2003; landed aboard the USS Lincoln;

Summer 2003 – war reports even more violent

“What I didn’t find in Africa” – Uranium supposedly in Africa

Wilson (writer of report) outed his wife Valerie Plame; Story was a devastating scandal for white house

Revealing Plame’s identity was technically illegal; leak investigations when it involves confidential info

info has to be accurate; file a report; “Echos of watergate”

2003 – been in Iraq for 3-4 months with no sign of WMD’s — problem

walter Pincus – Washington Post

conspiracy to manipulate the press-damage control

Valerie was being outed as a CIA agent

anonymous sources have changed since watergate – confidentiality & anonymity are conditions the source imposes on the journalist

Miller willing to go to jail rather than testify

Government & press at war; happened in the 1960’s with the Black Panthers

  • FBI turned to Earl Caldwell to get info from him, but he said no
  • Caldwell had information, but he didn’t cooperate with the FBI; they took him to court
  • 9th court of repeals; 1st amendment protects info and the process
  • government appealed the situation to supreme court
  • “Branzberg”case
  • case of press standing up to government; press can’t be the arm for the government because then the public has no way to criticize the government
  • Public has right to know – William Bradford Reynolds

“Reporters’ Privilege”

  • needed cases to prove this
  • value of anonymous sources never more clear; it was impossible to do watergate if they hadn’t used anonymous sources

government has all sorts of ways to get information, so what is the essential root to get in formation from the press? –Confidentiality

“Nobody should be above the law” – but spouses are, and so are lawyers b/c of confidentiality

Journalists considered heroes once upon a time – turned around now

Reporters went to jail to protect their sources

Lowered courts rule to protect journalists; reporters’ privilege

subpoena (sending people to court – in this case, journalists) – only when all other avenues have been closed, as well as specific circumstances that are life & death

Cooper & Miller: Would the courts back their decision not to testify?

Miller felt that it was important for someone to stand up & fight, even if they lost, which they did – no appeal for journalists in this situation

July 6, 2005 – headed into DC District court to testify

  • Norman Pearlstine gave up cooper’s notes – Cooper disagreed with his choice
  • Pearlstine in a difficult position; practical matter typical for him
    • Institution – had no choice but to turn over notes in this case
  • NYTimes did not have a subpoena
  • everyone wishes it had been a cleaner case
  • Miller refused to testify, was shackled and taken to a detention center
    • not well liked but suddenly is a sort of martyr; but she didn’t think she had anything to apologize for; knew she was in jail for a cause that she felt she was important; upset about it though
    • was extremely complicated
  • September 29, 2005
    • made a deal to provide limited testimony
    • soon after, she and the NYTimes would part ways


Valerie Wilson; Plame investigation had one last twist: Miller had not been the first to hear of Valerie’s being an agent

Are you ready to go to jail (voluntarily) for your principals?

“Certain fights are worth fighting, even if you don’t stand a chance of winning.” (Is there anything you’re prepared to fight for because you believe in it?)

No homework for Thursday – so, no class either; work on Labor of Love









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