A Fox News reporter faces jail time for not giving up her sources in a story on the Aurora shooting, but CNN host Jake Tapper is the only anchor or reporter at the network to mention her plight. Fox News has reported on it, along with various online outlets; the networks have been silent. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough brought it up on Monday's Morning Joe.
Tapper made the story part of the "Buried Lead" segment on his Monday show, "stories we don't think are getting enough attention." It certainly hasn't piqued the curiosity of anyone else at CNN, meriting only a CNN.com piece and no other mentions on air. "Where is the public outrage about this type of thing?" Tapper asked. "Does the public not understand or see us as a check on people in power?"
As Politico reported: "Fox News contributor and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who spent 85 days in jail for refusing to give up her source in the Valerie Plame scandal, told BuzzFeed that if Winter 'worked for mainstream newspapers or CNN, I think the case would have been covered. There's a certain reluctance because it's Fox News.'"
Tapper explained why the story is so important, from a journalist's perspective. "This was a huge scoop and clearly of public interest. It raised key questions," he noted. Winter had learned through anonymous law enforcement sources that the Aurora shooter, James Holmes, revealed details of his shooting plot to his psychiatrist before he carried the plan out.
Holmes' lawyers then demanded that Winters reveal her sources, who they argued violated Colorado's gag rule. Winters refused, and faces the possibility of six months in jail.
"So why should you care about this? Because Jonna was doing her job so you can judge how well the judicial and mental health and other systems are working," Tapper told his audience. He then brought on National Journal's Matthew Cooper, who was pressed to reveal his sources during the Valerie Plame scandal.
"You know, it's not about us, the journalists, it's about the public. You wouldn't have known about a lot of the Watergate scandal. You wouldn't have known a lot about corporate malfeasance and other stuff unless journalists are able to use and protect confidential sources," Cooper argued.