Legal Limits on Journalism

Ann Althouse reads a ruling from the Second Circuit and finds this gem:

Learning of imminent law enforcement… and informing targets of them is not an activity essential, or even common, to journalism.

You see, normally journalists may hide their phone records and sources from the courts in support of whistle-blowing and freedom of the press. Those are laudable goals. However, when a reporter learns of a raid and calls the target of the raid to warn them just to “get their reaction,” they are out of line and deserve lower standards for privacy of their information.

I suspect that once the phone records are available possible prosecution for obstruction of justice is possible. Did the NYT reporter intend to impair the conduct of the raid? Perhaps no, but a reasonable person probably would expect calling them up and asking them about it to cause a reaction.

If a tipped off target ambushed the raid and killed the cop, I'd expect the reporter to at least go for manslaughter. (Added: That didn't happen in this case, but it could if the practice continues.)

Josh Poulson

Posted Wednesday, Aug 2 2006 07:44 AM

Adjacent entries


« More Puns
Earthquake Centered a Couple Miles From Us »





To track back to this entry, ping this URL:

There are no trackbacks on this entry.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)



Affiliate advertising

Basecamp project management and collaboration

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate