Salon.com, in its discussion of the pressure on journalists to testify in the Wen Ho Lee and Valerie Plame affairs, seems to side with various grand poo-bahs of journalism in drawing an absolute line.
According to this view, sources who use, or try to use, journalists to spread disinformation or to further a plan to reveal the identities of covert CIA officers are entitled to exactly the same protection from those journalists as sources who make revelations in the public interest. All of the arguments come down to the principle that it’s impossible to make distinctions.
It’s true that anything less than a blanket policy of protecting all sources will discourage some sources from coming forward. True. So what?