Matt and Judy: Update

  • Time Inc. announced this morning that they will, in fact, turn over Matt Cooper’s notes to the court pursuant to a court order. This highlights a very interesting and heretofore unexplored angle: the conflict between the idividual journalist and the agenda of its corporate employer. The WSJ looks into it here. If they didn’t hand it over, Cooper would face jail time; Time would face “a very large fine“. So while we debate whether the state has the right to compel violation of [still murkily-defined and not constitutionally protected] journalistic privilege, there is the completely different question of whether a corporation can or should do so itself (well, clearly it can but should it? And what would happen if Cooper turned around and sued Time Inc., or if the source did?). These are interesting questions. I guess Cooper can have a go at them from the outside.
  • Judith Miller and the New York Times, meanwhile, “won’t crack.” But, to be fair, the New York Times isn’t implicated and has no outstanding court orders against it. Nothing new on, either.
  • Judge Thomas F. Hogan has run out of patience, and said bluntly that testify or jail, according to the NYT. He also quoted from Lewis Carroll, saying “the time has come, the Walrus said.” Which means arguments will be limited to jail: where and for how long, and fines: how much. Which means that Floyd Abrams will have to shelve his brief on why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings. In other news, you remember what happened to those oysters.
  • Robert Novak is taking heat from his fellow journos for staying silent (and bloggers, natch). The NYT‘s Jacques Steinberg makes the rounds of Novak’s contemporaries like the now-defunct Capital Gang colleague Al Hunt (“It’s just so confusing to citizens and people in our business. If Bob could provide some context, I think it would be helpful”), San Diego Union-Tribune (which runs his column) reader representative Gina Lubrano (on his zipped lips: “As a journalist, he would find that response unacceptable from others”) and (as mentioned) William Safire (“Mr. Novak should finally write the column he owes readers and colleagues”). Novak says he’ll tell all when he can, and in the meantime he’s got no problems doing his job, but apparently he’s “showing some strain.” I will say this for him, he’s one hell of a stoic 74-year old.