I'd argue the "Game of Shadows" argument is not quite as cut-and-dried (and perhaps not as overwraught) as Wright Thompson lays out on the front of ESPN.com this morning, but it's a great jump-off for a discussion.
As I mentioned in the post below, the filter through which fans are getting this story is slightly distorted: In stories where the media has a stake, expect the story to have a slant.
(For example, where's the column from Roger Cossack or someone else who might be able to explain that while these particular prosecutors might be overreaching, the principle of maintaining the integrity of the grand-jury process has significant societal benefit.)
That's not a bad thing: I certainly want journalists to be advocating ways they can do their job to the best of their ability, not about clamping down.
But I'm not sure if fans are reacting to that or just a different set of values when they respond to polls about this issue . I think the SportsNation poll about the issue is pretty revealing:
It is hardly clear-cut that fans agree with Thompson: 49 percent say the G.O.S. writers should give up their sources.
(Now, the poll itself is slightly biased towards a particular result, using loaded language like "give up.")
And, more interesting, in the question about whether the justice system should be allowed to punish journalists who don't reveal their sources:
53 percent of fans give journalists some sort of prison time and another 18 percent say it should be a financial penalty. That's 71 percent who say some sort of penalty should be delivered.
Only 29 percent say that the justice system shouldn't punish journalists who don't reveal their sources.
To sum up: Half the fans out there think the journalists should have to give up their sources, but even including the half that don't, an overwhelming majority of fans thinks journalists can and should be punished for their decision to withhold the information.That's the balance that makes this so interesting: Public's right to know versus the public's obvious interest in the sanctity of the rule of law.
Again, I sympathize with the G.O.S. authors and advocate some sort of federal "shield" law for investigative reporting.
But, to me, the most fascinating spin-off of all this is the disconnect between the sports media covering (and advocating) this story and the fans who the media argues it serves.Comment Question: What do you think of this whole issue? Where do you come down? What do you think of this disconnect? (And there are some great G.O.S.-related comments in the post below, so be sure to check those out, too. But let's get the comment string going off this post.)