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How do we feel about the Chron guys now?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Twoback

    Twoback Active Member

    Of course they knew they were being used. And they used the source to get the headlines and the book deal. It's part of what we do every day. Where it crosses the line is when they know that the defense attorney is using the stories to try to get his client(s) a break. You can't keep going after that. I'm not sure what the correct way out is once that happens, but I'm certain the answer isn't to accept more info and write more stories.
  2. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Odd, FB, that you're now eager to accept as "fact" the word of the same subset of feds you believed were snakes a year ago.
    Odder is the fact that Ellerman's client, James Valente, for whom he allegedly cooked up this scam, never really faced prison time because the steroid-dealing penalties are so light. He wound up with a sentence of probation, no time in jail at all.
    The key date in our hopes of understanding what happened here now seems to be June 14 when Ellerman faces sentencing and will be asked to explain what he did and why.
    By the way, Ellerman's motion for dismissal of charges against Valente was not based on the Chronicle stories alone; he also claimed the government had leaked information to the US Anti-Doping Agency and to the government of Greece (prior to the 2004 Olympics).
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    It is? That's what we do every day? Swap ethics for headlines and book deals?

    I just can't believe this is that simple....and given the scope and importance of the story, I hope we get more details before we drop the gavel.
  4. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    I've done a little Nexis work on the dates here and want to posit a theory....

    June 28, 2004 -- Montgomery's grand-jury testimony of November 2003 is reported by the Chronicle. (With Ellerman the source, presumably.)

    Oct. 8, 2004 -- Ellerman asks for dismissal of charges, based partly on the Chronicle stories.

    Dec. 3, 2004 -- The Bonds grand-jury testimony of December 2003 is reported in the Chronicle. (Ellerman the source again.)

    Isn't it possible -- just asking -- that Ellerman provided Bonds' grand-jury transcript to the reporters BEFORE he asked for dismissal? Let's say he talked to the Chronicle in September. Fainaru-Wada and Wiilliams wrote over 3500 words on the testimony; with editors, lawyers, et al., I can see it easily taking a long time to get the story ready. So when he asks for dismissal of the charges, they have been blind-sided. They've done the Montgomery story and are in the process of doing Bonds. What happens then? Do you say, "We can't run this story now that we've learned our weasel is a real weasel?" Do you out him? Or do you say, "He's blaming the government for leaks to the USADA and to Greece, and he's blaming us, too, and who knows which parts are lies? We're publishing"? In this scenario, the story would have been delayed even longer than normal because of the Chronicle/Hearst legal vetting. Far-fetched? Could be.
  5. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    we don't know if ellerman was the only source. they might well have had two sources.

    interesting though, that in BALCO the defense leaked, and in Plame/Wilson the government planted the story.

    different by degree.

    government is supposed to be working in the public interest. a reporter assumes on a matter of national security that highly-placed officials are acting with rectitude.

    a defense attorney is not working in the public interest.

    to me, the Chronicle is more culpable and negligent - and venal.

    if i had flown to SF to stand behind Williams and Fainaru-Wada I would feel duped at this point. unless it turns out they had a source without an agenda.
  6. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    The bad news: The Chronicle appears to have fucked up. The good news: the T-shirts are now on sale!

    Seriously, there's a lesson to be learned by the media about being a little careful before jumping on a bandwagon -- without knowing any of the facts -- solely because it's a journalists' bandwagon.
  7. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    Two things:
    1) I flew to San Francisco and am proud I did. The First Amendment is that important.

    2) There is no source without an agenda, never has been, never will be.
  8. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    What everybody seems to be conveniently forgetting is that justice has been served. The leaker was caught, admitted to everything, and is probably going to jail.

    And we know that the man who will break Aaron's record cheated.

    The truth has won out here, folks, in every aspect.
  9. RokSki

    RokSki New Member


    I think your theory is very plausible. A good attorney dealing with a high-profile case will always seek to manipulate the media for his/her interest (i.e., the interest of his/her client). Of course, some do it more ethically than others.

    Not only do I think it's possible that Ellerman gave the Chron the transcript before he asked for dismissal, I'd be really surprised if this wasn't the sequence of events. Your Nexis research certainly strengthens that theory's possibility.

    And you're correct (and more levelheaded than I, for one): June 14 is going to be very interesting. Although, if Ellerman did orchestrate this in the manner of your theory, and he did it intelligently (read: unethically intelligently) enough, I suspect he will have an appropriate cover story in court. Much like what many feel Libby (who is himself, like Ellerman, a lawyer) is up to in his own trial. Like a good jazz musician, one must know the basic 'notes' of the legal system before one can really improvise with them. Allegedly improvise.

    Can't wait to hear the fallout from all of this, both now and after June 14. This has all gotten much, much more interesting.

    And you know who's laughing his ass off right now? That guy who's about to report to the Giants' spring training. The guy who's sitting just 22 back from the most revered record in sports.

    Never forget the law of unintended consequences.

    Hope you got that one, Loopy. And the rest of the overwrought moralizers.

    We already have been treated to the selective morality of the public's right to know vis-a-vis the illegality of leaking grand jury testimony. And now, the moral pool just got a bit muddier. Can't wait to hear from certain precincts in light of this news. Relative morality's great.

    When it's on your side.
  10. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I guess this is where I get stuck: did they protect him because they promised to, or because they had no choice, since revealing the source would also reveal some unattractive issues?

    But either way, as for the support the reporters have received, I hope we don't throw out the tshirts with the dirty laundry. The message is still important, for the next journalists who need it.
  11. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Dave, your timeline is definitely plausible. Not far-fetched at all, though I wonder, if the Chronicle got the grand jury testimony of Barry Bonds, wouldn't they be working virtually 24/7 to get that in print. I mean, Bonds was the whole ball of wax in this thing. Not saying it wouldn't take three months or so to work on the story, but if you've got your hands on that firecracker, I suspect you'd (and everyone else) would be burning lots of midnight oil to get it done.
  12. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    I'm still unclear... maybe somebody can help me out... HOW did Ellerman get the transcripts?

    Defense attorneys are not an official part of a grand jury-- am I correct?

    I always thought a grand jury was one-sided deal-- that one side being the prosecution. While a defense attorney might be allowed to be present... I didn't think he had access to transcripts...

    I read Ellerman shared an office with a private investigator, but I'm still unclear on how he ended up with transcripts....

    I still think the court may have screwed up in giving him copies... OR... he was given copies as part of discovery in a separate court proceeding... in which case the transcripts were no longer secret and justice was not being subverted by publishing them.


    Look, the Chron had a tough decision to make. The judge ruled against Ellerman's request to dismiss. Ellerman's scheme wasn't going to work. That fact had to figure in to the Chron's decision-making.
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