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Monday, May 23, 2005

Newsweek Case Lesson: Never Stop a Foe in The Process of Slaying Himself

If you are like me, you simply cannot resist reading the rest of a column that begins with this observation:

"As the bearers of bad news, journalists from time to time feel the need to remind their audiences not to shoot the messenger. More and more, however, the press is saving everyone else the trouble and shooting itself in the foot."

Those words are from the latest column by veteran newspaperman Paul McMasters, who for the past several years has labored at the First Amendment Center in Virginia. Think of a First Amendment debate that has taken place in the nation's public policy dialogue for the past decade and you can be sure Paul has had something to say about it that is well-worth reading.

I don't always agree with Paul as we come from rather different points on the political spectrum, but he is one of the folks I always read. Just like this week's column - did you know there are currently seven court cases involving 32 journalists and media organizations that revolve around the use of anonymous sources? Or that a recent study of 16 newspapers by the Project for Excellence in Journalism found articles using anonymous sources declined from 23 percent in 2003 to just seven percent in 2004?

Go here for the whole McMasters column, which I will be linking to on a regular basis in the future.