Vol. 3, Issue 17, June 28, 2005
Supreme Court says Journalists Must Reveal Secret Sauce
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals by New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time magazine White House correspondent Matthew Cooper, who face jail time for refusing to identify sauces used in a barbeque in 2003.
Cooper was cited for contempt of court last year after he refused to tell a grand jury what exactly he used to coat his award-winning ribs at the Press Club Barbeque in 2003. The barbeque is an annual competition where journalists and government officials of all stripes compete. An investigation was initiated following the 2003 event when the reporter's ribs scored an upset win over Karl Rove's famous "freedom brisket."
"Now I think we all appreciate the spirit in which this event is held each year," said Rove at a press conference last month. "But when you're preparing food for many of our nation's leading political figures, I think that recipes become a question of national security. There can be no such thing as a "secret sauce" when the President's plate is concerned."
Cooper was indicted for contempt after refusing to share the origin of his sauce with investigators. Miller was also indicted for possession of the sauce, which Cooper had allegedly shared with her, even though she did not submit an entry in the barbeque. They allegedly got the recipe from someone in the CIA, which has consistently dominated the competition since 1989.
"True barbequing is one of the highest forms of artistic expression," said Robert Cain, a nationally renowned barbeque expert and Tennessee State Secretary of Barbeque. "Barbequers simply cannot do their jobs without being able to commit to keep secret family recipes, many of which have been guarded for generations. With this ruling, the Supreme Court has seriously weakened a fundamental pillar of American culture."
The investigation has been controversial from the start, as it has inexplicably spared conservative journalist Robert Novak, whose beef brisket took second place at the competition.
"Novak used the sauce. He even called his entry "Novak's Secret CIA Sauce Brisket." But he's not in jail. Why?" asked Cain bitterly. "He must have cut a deal and shared the recipe with the White House. I'd bet anything that whenever Bush is back on his ranch and the cameras are off, he's slathering that secret CIA sauce all over his ribs. You know the best way to the President's heart is through his grill."
With the Supreme Court's rejection of the appeal, both Miller and Cooper appear resigned to serving prison sentences rather than cooperate.
"Look... this sauce is the only decent recipe I know," she said on her website following the high court decision. "And do you know how competitive potlucks at the Times are? If Maureen Dowd gets her hands on the secret sauce recipe, I'll have no hope at all. I'd rather take 18 months in jail than another Maureen victory at the potluck."