Judith Miller is going to jail. Matthew Cooper is not. Is this of any real importance to any of us?
Yes, indeed it is. This is not a question of freedom of the press or reporter privilege. It is about whistle blowing-- when someone in a position to know that something bad is going on decides to leak this knowledge to the rest of us.
No incumbent government, Republican or Democrat, likes a whistle blower. Neither does any well established business.
But the public always gains from such information.
And we the public should insist that all our whistle blowers themselves and the reporters who pass on their information should be protected from attack by any government or business whose nasty secrets are being revealed.
Vermont is not one of the thirty-one states which provides statutory protection for whistle blowers. And in the Miller/Cooper case the federal government is attacking their efforts to shield their sources. Maybe we had better tell our legislators, state and federal, that we want them to enact law which will protect this important public function.