11 July 2005 10 am edt

Bloggers and journalists of respect

“An affiliation of science-minded journalists getting their blog on,” Sciencegate covers “the ideas and deeds of the G8 summit.”
This G8 summit was about saving a continent and a planet. If the horror of the attacks in London took your mind off Africa and global warming, well, that is only to be expected. (And it is what the murderers intended.) But the three-day summit appears to have done some good. Sciencegate can help you understand what was (and was not) achieved and what it might mean.
Mike Pick and Tim Murtaugh designed and developed the site at the behest of Seed Media Group (publishers of Seed Magazine), who conceived the project and collected the bloggers. Christopher Mims drove the project on Seed’s side. Sciencegate is an independent, with no formal connection to the G8 summit.
In defense of liberty

This is a proud but awful moment for The New York Times and its employees. One of our reporters, Judith Miller, has decided to accept a jail sentence rather than testify before a grand jury about one of her confidential sources....

She is surrendering her liberty in defense of a greater liberty, granted to a free press by the founding fathers so journalists can work on behalf of the public without fear of regulation or retaliation from any branch of government.

...[S]he acted in the great tradition of civil disobedience that began with this nation’s founding, which holds that the common good is best served in some instances by private citizens who are willing to defy a legal, but unjust or unwise, order.

This tradition stretches from the Boston Tea Party to the Underground Railroad, to the Americans who defied the McCarthy inquisitions and to the civil rights movement. It has called forth ordinary citizens, like Rosa Parks; government officials, like Daniel Ellsberg and Mark Felt; and statesmen, like Martin Luther King. Frequently, it falls to news organizations to uphold this tradition. As Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1972, “The press has a preferred position in our constitutional scheme, not to enable it to make money, not to set newsmen apart as a favored class, but to bring to fulfillment the public's right to know.”