Earlier today, Lucy Dalglish, Executive Director of Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, held an online chat over at post.com. She addressed questions about the Scooter Libby trial and its implications for the future of the media. Some excerpts:
- Burke, Va.: I care about freedom of the press but the more I watch the passel of overpaid, uncurious, played-by-the-Bush-administration weasels on the stand the more I enjoy it. I’d always kinda suspected these guys weren’t the noble people trying to ferret out the truth they claimed they were. I feel bad for the Sports journalist who is being threatened with jail, but seeing Russert have to answer questions — I love it.
Lucy Dalglish: I’ve not enjoyed any of it.
I know most of the reporters and editors who have been forced to testify, and they are hard-working, conscientious journalists. They have very difficult jobs and most days they perform admirably.
Albany, N.Y.: I realize that reporters need to protect sources, but in creating the false impression that they did not know who leaked Plame’s name, weren’t these reporters essentially lying to the public, and isn’t that a more important issue than protecting these administration sources?
Lucy Dalglish: I don’t recall reporters saying they don’t know who leaked the name (except for, perhaps, Tm Russert. My recollection is that most of them said they had sources they were not willing to identify.
Having been a reporter (many years ago), I know that often at the time you make a promise of confidentiality you have no idea whether the information is going to take you to a blockbuster story or into a black hole. One thing I have always believed, however, is that when you mae a promiseto a source, you keep it.
Arlington, Va.: Frankly, I am disgusted with the Washington Press Corpse. The testimony at the Libby trial yesterday just underscored my opinion. They are more concerned with being invited to the right cocktail parties, and hobnobbing with the right White House insiders, than in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. The White House lies to them, they know they are being lied to but continue to parrot the White House meme. Stop trying to be the cool kids and do some real work for a change.
Lucy Dalglish: Quite honestly, the reporters I work with in Washington usually don’t have time to hit cocktail parties.
There are a few egomaniacs, but most of them got into the business because they have enormous respect and reverence for democracy and believe they have an important role in protecting it.