By Brad Friedman on 3/6/2005, 9:05pm PT  

All BRAD BLOG readers know that we've never had anything but the kindest of things to say here about The NY Times! Especially about their very fine pre-Iraq War coverage and their unparalleled post-election coverage! So don't even bother to go searching these pages for anything but uncategorical praise for the old "Grey Lady".

That said, in a far more serious item here yesterday headlined "The Empire Strikes Back: Bloggers Under Fire", we mentioned being interviewed for a Times article which hits the stands tomorrow morning. The article has just been posted online tonight.

The Times' Jonathon Glater covers the recent test case in California which may determine, in California at least, whether bloggers are entitled to the same legal protections as print and broadcast journalists when it comes to things like protecting the identity of sources.

The superb coverage in that fine paper by the brilliant Glater, both opens and closes with ingenious quotes from yours truly:

If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people, perhaps to the point that it may be hard for courts in the future to countenance its extension to anyone.

"It's very serious stuff," said Brad Friedman, who describes himself as an investigative blogger (his site is bradblog.com). "Are they bloggers because they only publish online? I think you have to look at what folks are doing. And if they're reporting, then they're reporters."
...
[blah, blah, blah...stuff in which Brad is not quoted...blah, blah, blah...]
...
Mr. Friedman, the blogger, said that ultimately, bloggers' role as purveyors of important information that traditional news organizations might ignore made online journalists more important than before, and so more deserving of protection.

"As the mainstream media has become more and more corporate and more and more like the governmental and corporate bodies that mainstream journalists used to report on," he said, "a lot of this stuff has fallen now to the bloggers - to do what mainstream folks used to do. It's still serving the exact same purpose: keeping the bad guys honest."

In all seriousness, it's an interesting discussion which, frankly, effects all of us much more than we wish it did. If only because of the nail hit squarely on its the head in that last quote by the devastatingly handsome Mr. Friedman.

By way of demonstration of the above point (the corporate thing, not the handsome thing), notice the following smart quote in the article made by law professor Susan Crawford:

"Under what circumstances should an online forum be forced to disclose a source behind information that they're posting?" Ms. Crawford said. "There is no principled distinction between a New York Times reporter and a blogger for these purposes. Both operate as news sources for wide swaths of the general public."

She makes an excellent point, but perhaps even more notable, click on that URL which The Times chose to use when linking to themselves.

Nuff said. For now. Other than to note that this article on legal issues and journalistic ethics was placed decidedly in The Times' "Technology" section. We have a feeling the MSM may still not be getting it. We'll give them another week or two.

UPDATE: The Times' Jonathon Glater, who wrote the above mentioned article, points out to us that, in the print edition, this story ran on the front page of the Business section (as opposed to "Technology" where it was in the online version).