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THINKING ALLOWED


Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

You Better Tell : Rules to Live By

North Miami Beach, FL 07-07-2005
A.H. Schectman

Judith Miller will be the tenth reporter jailed for refusing to disclose sources.  The judge, in high judicial dudgeon, gave her jail time, not to think it over but to punish her for believing in the ethics of being true to her word about not revealing her sources.  In the end, like the final resolution of our knowing who Deep Throat was so many years ago, the GOVERNMENT wanted to know which citizen blew the whistle that embarrassed that GOVERNMENT.  It is interesting to note that the GOVERNMENT embodied in its elected PRESIDENT refused to turn over papers (disclosing sources) that would have helped in the proceedings in examining the qualifications of Robert Bolton.  This man turned out to be controversial yet the PRESIDENT and the GOVERNMENT were complicit in not revealing information that would be helpful in making the decision if the Senate should confirm the appointment of this man to the United Nations despite his record of animosity to that institution.

YOU BETTER TELL – or else.  How many times have parents told that to their children whose closed mouths and screwed up faces showed rebellion to authority?  We have rules to live by and you cannot tell me that those rules are tested and abused by almost everyone except, the reporters who were true to their word and protected their sources. Even young George Washington couldn’t tell a lie. Young princes and princesses are subject to the same rules – I think.

In other countries, reporters walk a thin line that is prescribed by those in control of that country.  Most of the time, they do not report the facts but the official Party line.  When they go to jail it is not a walk in the park.  They are treated as common criminals and sometimes disappear.  We have high visibility here in America.  Yet, under our system, we punish unevenly some of those who do not deserve punishment at all.

Here is Judith Miller, a 57 year old investigative reporter – a SENIOR CITIZEN – who is disrespected by the GOVERNMENT and the PRESIDENT, both of which should, at times, be prosecuted for actual crimes rather than sticking to principle.  The “crime” for which Judge Hogan sentenced Judith Miller to four months in Jail is equivalent to the length of time the Grand Jury before which she refused to name names is to run.

The Lesson here is, YOU BETTER TELL or someone will tell on you – but if you are the President or a member of the GOVERNMENT, you make up the rules as you go along.

 


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