Friday, November 11, 2005

'The Onion' Tackles Source Protection Issue, Judy-Style

By Miki Johnson

Published: November 10, 2005 3:55 PM ET

NEW YORK At long last the journalism community's top news stories have finally received the recognition they deserve from the prestigious fake-news establishment.

Picking on the media melee surrounding source protection in the I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby trial and the more recent talk of an investigation into leaks to the Washington Post about secret CIA prisons, the front page of today's Onion included a satirical story headlined “Redbook Reporter Refuses To Disclose Source Of Recipe.”

Positing a fabricated case where reporter Nancy Steuber “will be held in contempt of course if she continues to withhold the source of a recipe for maple-glazed ham,” the story obviously references Judith Miller's jail stay for refusing to reveal her sources.

“It is the opinion of the court that this is the most devastatingly succulent ham to come across our docket in a very long time,” the story quotes fictional judge Antonio Pelicore. “The state has a vested interest in learning the identity of the person responsible for a dish of this mouth-watering magnitude.”

Complete with speculation that Steuber's refusal to reveal her source is “motivated by self-interest, not a desire to protect free speech,” the story finishes with a quote from the “reporter” ringing of recent real-news stories.

“It's a women's magazine journalist's job to report on recipes of this caliber fairly and accurately. But when it comes to who is behind those recipes, or how best to use the leftovers, I'm afraid I'll have to remain silent, no matter the personal cost.”

Religion and Recipes don't mix especcially when ham is the primary ingredient.

First Aid for First Amendment

I would like to see this type of Press Release ASAP as a temporary solution pending the passage of an effective journalistic shield law:

Judith Miller’s Lament:

“On July 6, I chose to go to jail to defend my right as a journalist to protect a confidential source, the same right that enables lawyers to grant confidentiality to their clients, clergy to their parishioners, and physicians and psychotherapists to their patients.”

Inspired by the eloquent words and cogent ideas expressed by Judith Miller in her resignation letter, the New York Times announced today that they have entered into secret negotiations with a yet to be named national counseling service. Through a well-established network of neighborhood treatment centers and other outpatient facilities, the service has established an effective national presence in the behavioral health care marketplace. Volunteers at each facility will receive 8-week courses in journalism. Once trained, this dual duty cadre will be available to see whistle blowers and other unnamed sources who wish to leak important facts to the press. The conversations will be protected by the psychotherapist/patient relationship and will avoid any First Amendment conflicts. Besides saving the paper millions in insurance and legal expenses, this project will provide free counseling to those leaking as they deal with the anxiety of testifying before future grand juries. Individuals close to the talks say NYT will conduct a campaign asking their readers to suggest names for this new entity. Got any ideas?

In an unrelated story, the parent company of the unnamed national counseling service plans to establish a series of self-help urgent care centers in major U.S. cities. Each site will stock an abundant inventory of self-help publications and medical supplies and will be called “Suture Self
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