Sunday, July 31, 2005

Brokaw blames government for Miller's jailing

Editor and Publisher prints this incredible report about Tom Brokaw and his Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) visiting Judith Miller in jail, then blaming the US government (read Bush) and calling for her immediate release. Miller, as you no doubt needn't be reminded, was jailed by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan after she refused to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the leaking of the CIA's Judith Plame.

It is a violation of federal law to refuse to testify before a federal grand jury, period. The US government (read Bush) has absolutely no influence whatsoever over a federal judge, especially in the fact that this judge is following the law. If a federal judge breaks the law, it is conceivable that the US Senate could take action against that judge in an impeachment and trial scenario. Again, the executive branch (read Bush) may play no part in this whatsoever.

What do Brokaw and the CPJ want Bush to do? Send US Marshalls to break her out of jail? And to put a cherry on top of this non-issue, the CPJ is quoted as saying,
"...the U.S. government is not only undermining the ability of a free press to function in this country but also sending a signal to other governments that such a course is acceptable when dealing with journalists of whose actions they do not approve."

"Only a minority of countries worldwide imprison journalists for their work," Cooper said. "The United States, long seen as setting a global standard for freedom of the press, is damaging its international reputation by jailing journalists."
Outrageous behavior on the part of this no doubt self described non-aligned committee. What the committee should have done is called upon the Congress of the US to pass legislation to institute a shield law to protect journalists who find themselves in this kind of a pickle.

I might add that while a minority of governments jail journalists "for their work", there is no small number of countries where journalists a shot dead or "disappeared" for their work, like Mexico, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, North Korea, Russia, China, and I could go on for some time. Stooping so low as to compare the US government (read Bush) with those journalistic hellholes is beyond the pale.

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