Suppose an inside scoop of official secrets gives some market players an unfair advantage—is that a good reason to muzzle the media?

People who are concerned about runaway secrecy and who cheer when the media break important stories in defiance of government edict may still find this particular affair worrisome. Suppose the official secrets that are illegally leaked are published in an exclusive newsletter for a narrow sliver of the public that pays a lot of money […]

Why would anybody talk to a reporter? The plight of the irreplaceable source

Why should people talk to reporters? It’s a question that’s seldom raised among news people, which is too bad, because it’s an important one. When you think about it, that question goes to the foundation of the entire edifice of a free press. And that foundation, at the moment, is shaky. Let’s back up. No […]

U.S. is uniquely harsh in its panic over government secrets

By the standards of other countries, the U.S. approach to official secrecy is ferocious. For leaking hugely newsworthy information to the press, ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who’s beseeching a score of countries for asylum, and Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier being tried by a military court in Maryland, face charges of espionage. They could go […]

Media silent when administration targets news sources

When President Obama addressed the American Society of News Editors convention last month, the real news was what didn’t happen. The watchdogs didn’t bark. No discouraging word from the gathering of 1,000 of the country’s top news people, facing a president whose administration has led a vigorous attack on journalism’s most indispensable asset—its sources. Obama […]