Judith Miller’s refusal to reveal her source and her willingness to go to jail for it takes an immense act of courage. There can be no doubt she believes in the need for journalists to maintain an aura of confidentiality.

However, the abstract question of whether all journalists deserve such rights is much less clear to me. What is the point of even talking about “uncovering the truth” in any situation if we don’t at least believe there is a possibility that someone with vital information will share it with a journalist who can report it? Any yet, to think that you should be able to keep your job working for someone who is a criminal or has done some terrible deed after you reveal them to a reporter is at the very least questionable. This is less an issue with government employees than private companies, also. A government supervisor can be replaced. In a company, your supervisor may be head of the company, so “replacing” her may be moot.

However, in the abstract, I would have to say that learning information necessary to make sound decisions of policy is thoroughly vital to the American demcratic enterprise.

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