Time magazine's spineless editor-in-chief Norman Pearlstine practically boasted of his complete lack of understanding of the First Amendment, the concept of journalism and what a backbone is for — not to mention why his "news" magazine should go under — in his comment to the New York Times:

"I found myself really coming to the conclusion that once the Supreme Court has spoken in a case involving national security and a grand jury, we are not above the law and we have to behave the way ordinary citizens do."

Pearlstine sold out his own reporter, Matthew Cooper, who was willing to serve up to 180 days in federal prison. The New York Times's own Judith Miller has steadfastly refused to reveal her sources in the probe to find who the identity of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame.

The Times includes the following historical context:

The case represents the starkest confrontation between the press and the government since 1971, when the Supreme Court refused to stop The Times and The Washington Post from publishing a classified history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers. And legal experts said yesterday that they knew of no other instance in modern journalistic history in which a major news organization announced that it would disclose the identities of its confidential sources in response to a government subpoena.

The Times in this case fully understands what to be in the journalism business.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of The Times, was critical of Time. "We are deeply disappointed by Time Inc.'s decision to deliver the subpoenaed records," Mr. Sulzberger said. "We faced similar pressures in 1978 when both our reporter Myron Farber and the Times Company were held in contempt of court for refusing to provide the names of confidential sources. Mr. Farber served 40 days in jail and we were forced to pay significant fines.

But not the clueless Pearstine, who said, "If I were The New York Times in 1978 I would have turned over the information."

James C. Goodale, a former attorney for the Times's parent company and First Amendment expert, said: "A public company must protect its assets even if that means going into contempt. It has an obligation under the First Amendment to protect those assets, and it's in the interest of shareholders to protect those assets."

Time magazine deserves to go out of business — the sooner, the better — for what it has done to damage the sacred status of the First Amendment and our press freedoms.


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