You have to love the smell of napalm in the morning, especially when it’s all over the New York Times.

For decades, the traditional media, and none more than the New York Times, has considered itself above the law, in a sense. Who do they think they are? Congress? Not anymore.

Anybody who thinks that their job is just as important as a reporter’s and that privacy rights should, if not constitutional, at least have what’s left of them equally distributed, has to love this ruling:

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to stop a federal prosecutor from reviewing the telephone records of two reporters for The New York Times. The records, the newspaper said, include information about many of the reporters’ confidential sources.

In a one-sentence order Monday offering no reasoning and noting no dissenting votes, the court rejected a request from The Times to stay a lower court’s decision while the paper tried to persuade the justices to review the case.

The Old Gray Lady has had her walker yanked away, and is now hitting the floor in agony and spilling her Citrucel all over the place.

Not that I’m a fan of court rulings. As a matter of fact, we’re court-ing ourselves out of all our freedoms, slowly and surely. When will I take the side of the Times on issues like this? The same day that the phone records of those of us in every other career in this country can’t be subpoenaed.

When did “reporter” get to be an untouchable job? Those days could be over.

The newspaper industry, namely the large ones, are usually self-promoted as being “above the fray.” They consider themselves to be not in an ordinary business, but as participants in a time-honored American institution, one that is beyond reproach in truth and integrity. They hold in their pen the power to expose fraud, deceit, racism, plagiarism, upheaval and illicit behavior – sometimes all in the same media building or senate office.

Despite all the pleas from the Times about the importance of maintaining the sanctity of their sources, the pessimist in me thinks that this protest is really about something else. What is that? Well, when you read that “an anonymous source told this reporter that…” what that often says to me is this: I coulda made this crap up for all you know.

I’ll bet there are more reporters who are fearing this particular Supreme Court ruling because it risks exposing them as frauds than there are who are genuinely concerned about the sanctity and confidentiality of their sources.

Either way, the Old Gray Lady needs a hip replacement — again.

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