Attorney General Eric Holder testifies about the Justice Department. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Attorney General Eric Holder testifies about the Justice Department. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Dana Milbank explains today that you might not be sympathetic toward the journalist the FBI has named in an affidavit as a possible co-conspirator in national security leaks. In fact, nobody might be sympathetic, because almost everyone either has a natural antipathy toward the media in general or to Fox News, where the journalist works. But you should get over your antipathies, Milbank argues, because the affidavit characterizes reporting as a criminal behavior, which is bad. Even if you hate journalists. Or Fox News journalists.

This presents a problem in the comments. Many people apparently think that a journalist who is getting spied on and treated with suspicion is getting his just deserts.


Quit your whining and violins, Dana. I don’t care which administration you bash but neither you nor any of your reporter friends stood up for the common man when our emails were being spied on and our phone calls were being listened into. Where was your moral outrage then? Why is it ok for Bush 43 or Obama to snoop on ordinary Americans but a global disaster if they spy on journalists? Just because you carry a press card should not entitle you to the very basic freedoms that by right belong to everyone in this country. I am totally comfortable with the press being treated just like an ordinary citizen would be if s/he were caught leaking secrets. Stand up for the principles for everyone or get out of the business or writing news and op-eds. Your protestations ring hollow, when you ask for and receive some special privileges and ultimately create a two class society–one a journalist class, which has the freedom to speak, write and share anything they want under the guise of the First Amendment and a second class of regular people who have to look over their shoulder before saying a word.


The concept of freedom of the press came about when the press was a significant factor in establishing and maintaining freedom of the people. The press is not much concerned about freedom of the people nowadays. It may be a little late to be concerned about its own.


[Important concerns] seem to have taken a back seat to the vanity of the press, who these days I am wont to liken to ‘ladies of the night’–and just as vain and fickle and always for hire. I am trying hard to think of the last time I ever heard a so-called ‘journalist’ apologize–for anything.

PostScript is so sorry to hear that, Judge. In case you need anything written about or anything in the future, here’s PostScript’s card. She liked your use of “wont” there.


“The White House investigates reporters for doing their job.” Truly hilarious. So; in your world- no reporters are ever corrupt? And they are so pure they must never be investigated? Couldn’t ask for a clearer demonstration that you live in a fantasy world. Reality: both sides ALWAYS need to be investigated, because all humans are susceptible to corruption.


satxusa sticks up for journalists, some:

The cure for corrupt journalists isn’t jail, it is other journalists exposing their corruption.


I have some issues with this piece. “Let’s break some news, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it, or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.” Who is Rosen, or any journalist for that matter, to decide what is muddle-headed policy or to force an administration to go in the right direction? Often times, muddled policy is necessary: to save lives, to prevent an all-out war, and for many other reasons. Journalists seem to just want to get something, anything, that their competitors don’t have, so they can get credit.



This is a tricky situation. In the same type of self-interest congress uses in determining their pay and benefits, journalists will use their own platform of power to control perception of this situation. It will be difficult to take anything the press has to say on this alleged abuse of power at face value.

Sooo, according to many commenters, the press and the government are constantly in a natural war over secrecy, and both will overstate their cases to constrain the other.

But wait! eaglepeak, former reporter, has a different perspective entirely. What if the press and government were not enemies always wanting to wound each other? What if they asked each other nicely for what they want?

What appears to be missing is an attempt to negotiate with the reporter and his news organization. It could be true that all other avenues were exhausted to find the leaker. So it makes sense to work the reporter who wanted to break the story. On the other hand, reporters need to exercise some judgement on the risks of exposing sensitive national security information. As a former reporter, I’d not want to be in Rosen’s shoes, but it looks like Kim is the leaker and will likely be the only one prosecuted.

Good-faith negotiation doesn’t seem to have happened in this case, it’s true. Though the lurid details of compromising might be saved for the inevitable bestselling tell-all.