It’s the ultimate character test for a journalist: give up your confidential source or face going to jail.
And it’s not just a theoretical possibility in this age of aggressive prosecutions. Judith Miller, as a New York Times reporter, spent 85 days in jail for refusing to divulge her source in the CIA leak investigation. And federal prosecutors are eavesdropping on some journalists and treating them as potential criminals.
Jana Winter is now confronting the same career-threatening crisis. But it’s not the government that is going after the Fox News reporter. It’s an accused mass murderer.
Winter could face jail time for not revealing her sources in covering the movie-theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead and dozens injured last year. She disclosed that gunman James Holmes had sent a notebook to his psychiatrist before the late-night massacre.