It is a very real possibility that Fox News’ investigative journalist Jana Winter (pictured above) could face up to six months in prison for refusing to give up a source. In July of last year, Winter broke the story of James Holmes, the Colorado movie theatre shooter, giving a notebook to his psychiatrist that allegedly detailed his murder plans. Winter’s source is being accused by Homes’s attorneys of violating a court-ordered gag order.
Up until a few days ago, Winter’s plight had not gotten much attention. But now that Winter is just days away from facing real jail time (she is rightly refusing to name her source), the story has picked up some steam in the media — though still nowhere near the steam you would expect.
That probably has something to do with “Fox” and “News.”
Tapper hit the story yesterday, though, during a segment on his CNN show “The Lead” (video below), and writes:
There are some exceptions, for instance you wouldn’t want a reporter reporting recklessly nuclear codes that could harm the nation’s security, but that was not the case with Cooper, and it is not the case with Jana Winter. Winter had a legitimate scoop …
Imagine if Woodward and Bernstein had given up Deep Throat before blowing the cover off Watergate. The first amendment is on the line here, and so is the future of investigative journalism. If it was not for Winter, who knows if we would even know that warnings had been missed about the Aurora shooter, that the system had failed.
Nothing would make the government and the powerful happier than a breakdown in the system that protects journalists’ sources. Once a source comes to believe they won’t be protected, they will stop leaking information. Then it is only the government and powerful controlling what we know.