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Balco leak uncovered

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

  1. HoopsMcCann

    HoopsMcCann Active Member

    but he's not wrong
  2. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    Is anyone else bothered by the Yahoo story? One news outlet investigating, publishing and "outing" another news outlet's confidential source?

    It seems that something like this would further add to the chilling effect that will hurt our business by discouraging people from offering information as confidential sources. Now a prospective source knows that, if what he's saying is important enough, he has to worry about more than whether he can trust the reporter to whom he gave the information, and whether that reporter will crack under government pressure. Now the source has to worry about the best journalists in the country spending their time and resources to discover his identity.

    A good find for Yahoo sports, but maybe a bad one for the journalism world?
  3. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    totally disagree. news outlets should report on one another - why should they be exempt from scrutiny?
    the story of how news is leaked is usually as revealing as the stories
    which is why the public has gotten cynical about mainstream media, i.e., attributing stories on national security to "senior administration official" or some such jive

    haven't you wanted to know who the SF Chronicle's source was? i have. the identity of the leaker is crucial to understanding the whole story - which we can't possibly know yet. what if it is a government prosecutor - it would suggest the Bonds case is weak and need a push from public opinion.

    once we found out that Deep Throat was FBI second-in-command Mark Felt it explained a whole lot about the Watergate story.
  4. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    I hesitate to get involved in this because I'll be the first to admit I don't know much about it, but someone explain why I'm wrong here and help me out:

    I don't feel terrible about the reporters possibly going to jail because Bonds wouldn't have testified in the first place had he known it would be leaked. No one would testify. The only way to make them talk is to promise it won't get out. Obviously sometimes people leak the testimony, but maybe it should be up the individuals to decide whether or not its important enough to warrant risking jail for. The reporters have to make the same choice — is it important enough to warrant going to jail for? Those guys made their choice ... they apparently felt it was worth going to jail for. I hope they don't. I think it sucks that they might. I hate Bonds. But, in the big picture, doesn't this make some sort of sense? Without the gov't making this such a big deal, they can't possibly claim that someone's testimony won't be leaked ...

    Again -- don't hate, just explain.
  5. DyePack

    DyePack New Member


    One thing you have to understand is the Kool-Aid drinkers will defend the reporters NO MATTER WHAT. It wouldn't matter if they used a knife and fork to eat the judge's kidney in open court.

    You can introduce all kinds of common sense about preserving the court process and protecting sealed witness testimony. None of that will sway the Kool-Aid drinkers.
  6. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    I do not think that knowing the source of the leak adds anything to this story. The story is the athletes who used the illegal drugs to cheat the system and enhance their performance. The leak gave us the court records, and information, we needed on that. I think the source is only relevant if the information is inaccurate or manipulated. I also think we had a pretty good understanding of Watergate for the thirty years when we did not know who Deep Throat was.

    I'm not saying news outlets should not report on other news outlets, but I don't think it is in our long-term interests to go digging up other people's confidential sources.
  7. I thought about this one a lot. But in the end, the leaker - however you feel about it - broke a federal law by handing over the testimony. When you break a law as a source, you put yourself out there to be investigated.
  8. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Not sure I understand your objection. Yahoo! doesn't owe that defense lawyer anything. They have no relationship with him. They never promised him any sort of confidentiality and they never got any info from him. They owe him zilch. The only people who owe him anything are Fainaru-Wada and Williams (if he was their source; still something we don't know for sure).

    The lawyer is certainly newsworthy, though, if Yahoo! got the story right. He's not only fair game, it's a story any investigative reporter on that trail would have loved to have gotten. That lawyer made himself part of the news by leaking the info, and he apparently made himself vulnerable to being exposed, by creating an enemy along the way who was willing to rat him out.

    Why would anyone who doesn't have a relationship with this lawyer feel like they owe him a thing?
  9. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    The reporters were simply doing their jobs, and the president even commended them for it. They didn't break any laws to get that info. Their "crime" was they were better investigators than the government. If they go to jail, it's a serious blow to a free press. If they turn in their sources, well, then you have reporters working with the government, which in turn, is a serious blow to a free press.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    There's some entertaining "logic."

    So the writers were better investigators than the government? You mean, the government that was already preparing a case? With witness testimony?

    And again, day one of any journalism law class warns people of this very situation.
  11. awriter

    awriter Active Member

    Again, what laws did the reporters break to get that info?
  12. Dale Cooper

    Dale Cooper Member

    It's not the lawyer that I'm worried about. It's the future of confidential sources.

    My concern is that if top-notch journalists are spending their time investigating confidential sources, than no one will ever want to be a confidential source, because the reporter's word will not be enough to keep it confidential. That chilling effect could kill us.
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