Lawyers for the Newhouse Newspapers-owned PD have concluded that the newspaper would almost certainly be found culpable if the leaks were investigated by authorities.Now, Ohio has a shield law to protect journalists. Its Ohio Revised Code § 2739.12 and it states:
"They've said, this is a super, super high-risk endeavor, and you would, you know, you'd lose," Clifton said in an interview Friday afternoon.
"The reporters say, 'Well, we're willing to go to jail, and I'm willing to go to jail if it gets laid on me,'" Clifton added, "but the newspaper isn't willing to go to jail. That's what the lawyers have told us. So this is a Time Inc. sort of situation."
No person engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by any newspaper or any press association for the purpose of gathering, procuring, compiling, editing, disseminating, or publishing news shall be required to disclose the source of any information procured or obtained by such person in the course of his employment, in any legal proceeding, trial, or investigation before any court, grand jury, petit jury, or any officer thereof, before the presiding officer of any tribunal, or his agent, or before any commission, department, division, or bureau of this state, or before any county or municipal body, officer or committee thereof.Therefore, these two stories must be of a federal nature. What could it be? Iraq? Gitmo? Plame? Sadly, we just don’t know, yet. I have a feeling we will. Otherwise, why would Clifton mention this at all? Doesn’t he open himself up to obstruction of justice charges by doing so? Jeff, help me out here.
We now have to take a look at Clifton’s motives for speaking to E&P. Take note of Clifton saying “but the newspaper isn’t willing to go to jail.” Corporations don’t go to jail. They pay fines and being unwilling to pay the fines to tell important stories definitely contradicts this Columbia Journalism Review article about “The Newhouse Way” which is defined as “Freedom to shape a paper without measuring everything against the bottom line.” Newhouse claims to take a very hands off approach to its editors, I should note that the CJR article is pre-Patriot Act, so I don’t know if this is still the prevailing view.
While it is possible Newhouse told him to shut it down, Clifton may be just trying to gin up some publisity prior to taking a running leap off the cliff. I hope this is the case. If it isn’t, let’s hope the reporters covering these stories bring them to the blogosphere. Hell, I’ll do the time, I could use a vacation.