Standing up for the LA Times
The Los Angeles Times has been catching flack from Senator McCain and his supporters because it refuses to release a video of Senator Obama at a party for Rashid Khalidi, an Israeli critic among other things. The Times did an extensive piece in April on the relationship. It based the story on a video but did not put it on its web site because its source made it a condition of getting the video.
The Times is doing the right thing. A promise to a source must be kept. If you start breaking them, you won’t get anyone to work with you. It’s also disingenious for journalists to argue they need a Shield law and then give up sources when it fits their needs.
There is another very good reason not to breach those agreements. The Supreme Court says news organizations can be sued if they do.
The LA Times is doing the right thing in holding its ground.
Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the publics right to know either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.