The Corner

A Lawyer’s Right For Once

From a reader:

You’ve given me an opening with your juxtapositioning of journalists and doctors and lawyers. I am a lawyer. I was required to complete a lengthy education and to pass a rigorous exam in order to become one. I am licensed to practice law, and if I break the ethical rules of my profession, I will be severely disciplined, and even disbarred (that is, I lose my license and thus my livelihood). Along with that responsibility, I have the power to defend my clients in certain extraordinary ways, such as refusing to give testimony where the attorney-client privilege applies and my client exercises it.

Journalists claim a version of this right and many others (for example, the right to be flown around war zones by the Pentagon and to photograph, but not help, the wounded), but if a journalist violates the journalists code of ethics, he faces nothing more than a media handwringing session, which may HELP his career (see Geraldo). All rights, no duties — the sanctimoniousness (yes, it is a word) is breathtaking.

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