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Obama-Appointed Judge Holds Veteran Reporter In Contempt

Graham Perdue
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A Barack Obama-appointed judge held veteran and highly respected reporter Catherine Herridge in contempt of court for not revealing the name of an informant in a case involving a Chinese-American scientist.

The First Amendment issues in this case are so glaringly apparent that even the leftist mainstream media is appalled. 

CNN warned of the implications for journalists and the press of allowing such a travesty. The Washington Post lamented Herridge being held in contempt “and ordered to pay $800 per day until she reveals the source for stories she wrote about Chinese-American scientist Yanping Chen.”


U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper attempted to defend his decision to hold the esteemed reporter in contempt. He noted that the free press plays a giant role in a democratic society. 

Cooper continued, “Herridge and many of her colleagues in the journalism community may disagree with that decision and prefer that a different balance be struck, but she is not permitted to flout a federal court’s order with impunity.” 

The scientist in question sued the FBI after Herridge reported in 2017 that she was being investigated by federal agents. The reporter at that time worked for Fox News.

Chen accused the agency of violating the Privacy Act by leaking information that she was under investigation. 


As part of her legal action, she subpoenaed Herridge and Fox News in an attempt to force them to reveal the source of the story. According to CNN, the network strongly resisted the subpoena and argued that it ran afoul of First Amendment protections enjoyed by the media. 

Journalists have long held that forcing a reporter to reveal their source after a promise of confidentiality will have a harsh effect on their profession. Sources will become far more reluctant to come forward with information if their identity will not be protected.

Fox News released a statement condemning the holding of a journalist in contempt for protecting a source. The network said it “remains committed to protecting the rights of a free press and freedom of speech.”

CBE News, where Herridge was most recently a reporter, said the contempt order “should be concerning to all Americans who value the role of the free press in our democracy.” 

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