Judith Miller's in jail and I really don't care.

Miller has gotten precious little support from many in her line of work, which is telling, in my view. I happen to think that her defense is pretty shitty, and that the government has done pretty much all it can to get at the information she has without compelling her testimony, which is a damn sight more than they'd do for me or most other people who don't work for the paper of record.

Part of the reason for my apathy comes from the fact that Miller has been practicing precious little journalism for the last few years. She was a mouthpiece for the administration and for Ahmad Chalabi during the run up to the war and in the aftermath (an unrepentant mouthpiece, I might add), then switched gears and went into the Oil for Food scandal in a similarly hacktackular way. It's not journalism when you don't do any investigation--I only worked for a college paper and I learned that much. Miller seems to have decided long ago to turn in her credentials as a journalist in return for access and the ability to source people anonymously with impunity.

But here's why I don't really care that she's in jail.

Her few supporters--Armando from Daily Kos among them--have argued that jailing her will put a chill on people who want to come forward and act as whistleblowers, and that even though Miller isn't protecting a whistleblower, the principle is the same. And Armando may be right in the vague, hazy overall view. But that doesn't matter.

Because part of the deal that comes with whistleblowing is that the issue has to be so big, so important, so massive that the whistleblower is willing to risk personal and financial destruction, is willing to risk reputation, is willing to risk jail in order to get the information out there. You don't become a whistleblower thinking there won't be any blowback--you have to know there's a chance that you're going to get killed and know that it's important enough to do it anyway.

And the same goes for journalists in the position of protecting sources. If you're going to depend on dirty politicos for access, if you're going to sell your journalistic credentials for a spot at the table, then you'd better either be ready to sell them out when the law comes after them or to go to jail to protect them.

Miller made her choice a while back. Her source better hope she likes jail.

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