Valerie Plame... The investigation in regards to who in the White House leaked her name is still ongoing. Two journalists are now facing jail time for contempt charges for refusing to divulge the name of the leaker/s in court. There is the question, should a journalists be forced to testify and break a vow of confidentiality? In analysis of this particular case, I believe the court should be allowed to hold the two in contempt if they do not divulge the leaker's name. This is why:
The public good is served by journalists being able to claim immunity from being forced to divulge who a confidential informant is. It allows an inside informant to become a whistle blower about governmental wrongdoing without fear of repercussions and allows wrongdoing to be exposed. 49 states and the District of Columbia have such "shield" laws intended to protect journalists from being forced to divulge confidential informants. Without this protection for reporters, the Deep throat would probably never come forward, many politicians taking bribes would never be caught, etc. But the case at hand is very different because the media is being used to commit a crime, not stop one. In most cases, the informant is trying to expose a crime or general wrongdoing within the government. Here, the person or persons who exposed Valerie Plame were not trying to correct an injustice, but used the media to create one, and in the process, may have committed a crime, not expose one. The reason the shield exists is to protect the public good, but nothing in the public good is protected when the reporter is protecting a potential criminal. The outing of Valerie Plame did not expose corruption or any other wrongdoing. It outed a CIA operative and it jeopardized national security. The immunity a journalist enjoys cannot be absolute or else abuse will ensue (as seen here). The Courts should not protect the media and the media should not protect the informants when the media is being used as a tool to commit a crime.