Wednesday, March 09, 2005

H.R. 581, The Anonymice Protection Act

Free Flow of Information Act of 2005

To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.

This is the proposed federal shield law for journalists. May it go down in flames.

The practice of anonymous sources has done our society incalculable harm. It was anonymous sources who falsely accused Richard Jewell in the Atlanta bombing and gave Eric Rudolph time to cover his tracks and go on to murder others. It was the anonymice who falsely accused Wan Ho Lee and launched a witch hunt at the Los Alamos laboratory.

Our national security and physical safety are endangered by the anonymice who betrayed Valerie Plame, sabotaging our ability to monitor the spread of weapons of mass destruction. If this bill passes, it is unlikely the perpetrators will ever be brought to justice. Our country will be unable to recruit future agents and no allied intelligence agency will cooperate with us.

I could write a long post about how the anonymice are the chief vectors of character assassination. I could write about why the anonymice are a threat to your clients’ reputation. However, the situation is too serious for that. Our nation’s ability to defend itself is at risk . We must end the evil practice of anonymous sources as if our lives depended on it.


Joe said...

I truly question any absolutist stance here. If someone has information that might get them fired (and thus not having a job to care for their families ... this is not a trivial worry in many cases) or worse (safety concerns can be imagined), if their name is released, situations can be listed in which protecting their identity is justified.

Yes, the discretion can be abused. Thus, there can be exceptions -- as there really always are in these cases. But, an absolutist anti-federal immunity stance (as compared to nearly all the states that have some sort of immunity) seems to me misguided.

Alice said...

The anonymice have struck again, read this and see if it does not persuade of the evil nature of anonymous sources-

From a reporter's point of view, read what David Ehrenstein has to say about anonymous sources-