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Should journalists reveal their sources?

by AirTalk®

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives for the weekly Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on April 9, 2013 in Washington, DC. McConnell's campaign office has asked the FBI to investigate the source of a recording of an internal campaign meeting that was recently made public. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Mother Jones published on Tuesday a secret meeting between Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his aides on February 2. Mother Jones said they were given the secret recording by an anonymous source, and the FBI is currently investigating who bugged the Senator’s office. In the meeting, Senator McConnell and his aides discussed how to bring down Democratic opponents, especially actress Ashley Judd. They discussed at length her political views, religious beliefs and her personal struggles with depression.

Also, a Colorado judge yesterday decided to delay his decision about asking Fox News reporter Jana Winter to testify in the James Holmes trial. If Winter takes the stand, she has to reveal her sources or serve time in prison for being in contempt of court. Winter reported that anonymous law enforcement sources told her that Holmes sent his psychiatrist a notebook with details about “how he was going to kill people.” The law enforcement officials who told Winters about the notebook have not come forward, but the judge is also deciding whether or not the notebook’s contents are admissible in court since it may be protected under physician-patient privilege.

Should journalists still be protected from revealing their sources? Is there negative bias towards the media outlets have that covered these stories?

Sara Morrison, Assistant Editor of the Columbia Journalism Review

Kelly McBride, Senior Faculty for Ethics, Poynter Institute

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