Saturday, December 02, 2006

Never Assume

I always thought that our journalists had the right to protect their sources. Well, apparently not so in Missouri. Jason Crowell, of Cape Girardeau, and Chuck Graham, of Columbia recently tried and failed to put such protections in place. That's a shame. Reporters should be able to talk to whomever they need without their informants fearing exposure and reprisal.

Some critics of this protection say that it will lead to employees and insiders with grudges being given carte blanche to say what they want and it would. But it doesn't require the reporter to print their lies. The responsible reporter will investigate and, if the claims are supported, then print it. And what about the irresponsible reporter? Well, if their editors print the story based on shoddy investigations, which I would hope they wouldn't, the lies will be exposed and the publication discredited. It's not a perfect system but it's better than the alternative - zero access for reporters and therefore no public oversight of government and big corporations. But the reporters that really bother me are those that simply do nothing. They read the headlines, regurgitate them, and call it news. Or worse, parrot the talking points in the memo from upstairs. That's the irresponsible reporting that's really hurting the citizenry's' right to be informed these days.

But I digress. Kudos to Crowell for supporting this important protection. Better luck next time!

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