With the verdict in the Bradley Manning trial earlier this week, many have expressed concern that the conviction might chill the practice of whistleblowing… and even the practice of journalism.
We have been here before with the release of confidential information to the New York Times back in the early 70’s. indeed many have compared Manning to that of Daniel Ellsberg who released those Pentagon papers the Times started publishing in 1971. Chief counsel for the New York Times during the Pentagon Papers incident, James Goodale, has written that the Manning verdict – and likely harsh sentencing – sets a “bad precedent” for whisteblowers and journalists, especially when put in the context of the way the government is handling the cases of Wikileaks and James Rosen, the Fox News reporter who reported on a leak about North Korea’s nuclear plan. He argues that when it comes to press freedom, President Obama is even worse than Richard Nixon.