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Balco leak uncovered

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by pressboxer, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    If you think the First Amendment guarantees these rights, then you need to take that first week of the journalism law course. I'm sure your local juco could offer it to you.

    Now we're back to "SSHIEEEEEEEEEEELDLAW", except when we don't need it, except we (meaning you and your cadre) really don't know when you need it because you don't know the law. Or the Constitution. Or the Bill of Rights. Or really much of anything.

    Right now, from what I gather, the Chronicle's argument is: "Yeah, we broke the law, but we're ABOVE the law. What we did is above the law."

    My prediction: Destruction in court, unless there's a deal or the government decides to be merciful.

    And once again, STILL no answer to the real argument: Was the information that was leaked public or not?
  2. zaphod

    zaphod New Member

    Well, it appears we have passed the point of diminishing returns in this discussion. Mr./Ms. Pack continues to assert I have made certain arguments, and when requested to supply evidence that I have actually made those arguments, provides nothing. Nothing other than the "we're back to . . ." line that defies understanding. My position has been, all along and without variation: Shield laws are a necessary thing whenever prosecutors try to employ journalists in the cause of law enforcement. When prosecutors do this, it poisons democracy and citizens are wise to enact legislation that restricts the practice. I speak for no "cadre," and it is dishonest for Mr./Ms. Pack to claim that I do.

    He/she is free to predict whatever outcome in the Balco court that he/she wishes. But a prediction of outcome (Patriots will beat Chargers) is not the same thing as a making and defending an argument. An argument involves setting forth propositions, demonstrating the truth of those propositions if necessary, then demonstrating the validity of the conclusion drawn from those propositions. Perhaps, while I dust off those media-law books in my attic, Mr./Ms. Pack should enroll in a critical-thinking course.

    In fact, I do believe the First Amendment guarantees the press protection from government meddling in the lawful production of journalism. It's a wonder that it has taken this long for Mr./Ms. Pack to recognize this. I have set forth some of the reasons why I believe this. Mr./Ms. Pack apparently has come to the opposite conclusion about the First Amendment. Unlike me, however, he/she does not construct any argument to demonstrate why such a contrary conclusion should be valid. Instead, we get mere assertions that a "journalism law course" says so. Well, until he/she gets out the texts and shows us the citations that support his assertion, his claim is empty.

    Mr./Ms. Pack can "gather" all he/she wants, but "gathering" is, frankly, weak. Actual study of the Chronicle's argument reveals that it has never admitted breaking any law, because in fact it has not even been accused of breaking any law -- there is no charge, in any jurisdiction, pending against the Chronicle. So it is inaccurate to assert the Chronicle is admitting violating the law. Moreover, it is a serious breakdown in logic to conclude the Chronicle's reliance upon the First Amendment to support an argument at bar is tantamount to conceding it is "above the law." The newspaper is arguing that because of the First Amendment, its protection of a source is within the law. By Mr./Ms. Pack's line of reasoning, anyone invoking their 5th-Amendment right to clam up under questioning would be holding themselves out to be "above the law." Law course, indeed.

    The question (it is not an "argument," as Mr./Ms. Pack states) of whether the leaked testimony was public is a very real question and deserves an answer. Frankly, I have no idea what the answer is, and don't pretend to. If it's determined the information was public, the contempt citation goes away, the prosecutor's subpoena is quashed, the Chronicle goes home and the grand jury returns to its task of finding the leaker without assistance from the newspaper. If it's determined the information was supposed to be secret, the Chronicle will continue its appeal of the contempt citation on First Amendment grounds. The outcome of that appeal will be decided upon First-Amendment arguments made by both sides. The question of the information's secrecy will, by that time, have become irrelevant. Perhaps this second potential sequence of events offends the sensibilities of Mr./Ms. Pack, and if he/she could explain why that is so, it would go some distance toward exposing the real argument he/she has regarding the worth of shield laws.

    But I don't hope for much. What I do expect, however, is that Mr./Ms. Pack will not be able to stand not having the last word. So I'll leave the stage now, and if someone could please leave the spotlight on for a moment, we'll let Mr./Ms. Pack have the empty stage (and probably empty theater) to him/herself, and bring down the curtain on this theater of the absurd:
  3. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    Wow, that was long. And lame. And evasive.

    At least, though, you admit you don't have an answer for whether the information was public.

    Anyway, there was a new development with this, in that the Chronicle recently made two arguments:

    (1) The government didn't do enough to find the source of the leak before issuing subpoenas to our heroes, Bo and Luke.

    (2) The law should protect this sort of thing.

    One of those makes sense but is arguable. One makes no sense at all. I'll let the keen minds sort out the two.
  4. dog428

    dog428 Active Member

    I like that not only are you an arrogant, pompous asshole who stupidly believes that he's far more intelligent than everyone else when discussing journalism topics, but you also hold the same beliefs for pretty much every topic.

    Here you are arguing this case with a) a guy who has so thoroughly embarrassed you that only you wouldn't be able to see it, and b) the attorneys for a major US newspaper.

    Keep it up. It's great comedy for those of us just watching.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I'm not the one arguing on the basis of what the law SHOULD say, rather than what it does say.

    The case goes back into court on Feb. 12, I believe. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be eating some crow that day unless the government decides to be merciful or someone comes forward.
  6. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    A Bloomberg story just moved that says Ellerman pleaded guilty today.

    A California lawyer pleaded guilty to disclosing grand jury information about a federal probe into
    steroid use among athletes to reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Troy Ellerman pleaded guilty to leaking the information, lying to prosecutors, obstructing justice and disobeying a court order not to disclose grand jury information, according to a plea agreement filed in federal court in San Francisco today.
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    AP reports the Chronicle reporters will avoid jail time. What a relief.
  8. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    SAN FRANCISCO -- Two San Francisco Chronicle reporters will avoid jail time after a
    lawyer pleaded guilty to leaking them secret grand jury documents from the
    BALCO steroids investigation.
  9. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    Apparently, AP was a little fast on the trigger:

  10. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    Even more amusing not to see the comments from said banned poster.
  11. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I read the first page and my first impression was "Oh my God, he's back!"
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I assume this is referring to some of my posts. Nobody "swore up and down" about anything. I said on numerous occasions that I strongly suspected the prosecution and called for whomever the "coward" was who leaked the information to come forward and fess up. I still don't understand why Ellerman was motivated to do something so stupid, but at least the reporters are off the hook.
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