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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. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Three months of legal and editorial review to get Barry Bonds' testimony in print? I'm having a lot of difficulty with that part of the theory.
  2. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    let me amend: a source without a private self-serving agenda.

    a government source is assumed to be serving the public interest.

    first amendment - free speech? what about the right to testify before a grand jury without it being made public - that's free speech, too.
  3. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Nobody, certainly not a government source, can be "assumed" to be serving the public interest. There are no good guys and bad guys.
  4. I, on the other hand, see no First Amendment issue here at all.
    I see irresponsibility, scoop-hunger, and a sleazebag defense attorney playing the entire system -- including his own clients -- for suckers.
  5. Totally agree. Nothing in this case is so important that it is worth damaging the Grand Jury process or violating the rights of Giambi, Bonds, etc. It's just baseball, not the Pentagon Papers.
  6. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Even more than Fainaru-Wada and Williams, I'd like to hear Bronstein explain how he allowed his reporters/newspaper to be used like this. What a disgrace.
  7. RokSki

    RokSki New Member

    Cran: You make an excellent point. Couldn't agree more. And I'll add this caveat: We as journalists look even worse when we jump on the bandwagon with particular glee and hurriedness because we think we get to 'take down' a guy who has mistreated our brethren over the years and who 'doesn't deserve' to break the HR record. This is why people don't like Fox News, or any other overtly subjective media source. Things like this can seriously hurt journalism's credibility.

    I'm not willing to support anyone who's willing to bargain with that collective credibility for his/their own interests. I don't care if it's Judith Miller, Woodward, or anybody else. No individual(s) before the 'team.' But the facts aren't all in yet, so I'm going to hold back a little bit. But it's not looking good for 'our' guys right now, and that makes me angry.

    21 - You are right, we can't throw out the baby with the bathwater. But this is why some of us were skeptical about this whole enterprise from the beginning, and weren't quite ready to sign petitions on websites supporting Mark and Lance. It seems the other shoe has begun to drop in earnest, if it hadn't already met the floor when the grand jury testimony was leaked and provided to the public.

    I'm all for free speech, with almost no exceptions. There is, however, that 'You can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater' and similar clauses to be reckoned with.

    If this plays out like it's looking it's going to play out, Mark and Lance would be far from the 1st amendment martyrs they allowed (some would say 'reveled') themselves to be portrayed as being. Oh, yeah, and I should add: that they profitably allowed. Not just financially, but reputation-wise as well.

    Like I said, I'm mad, because this would hurt all journalists credibility, and make the lot of us look like fame- and money-grubbing whores.

    Judith Miller knew there was an audience hungry for the aluminum tubes story. She sated that need, and to her personal benefit. Woodward knew that by withholding certain facts hey was privy to before the 2004 elections, he would be making certain people - as well as his own pocketbook - very happy.

    In that tradition, Mark and Lance knew that there was an audience - oops, let me correct that: a huge, willing-to-pay money audience - who wanted to bring Bonds down, by any means necessary. So maybe they got 'played' by a wily lawyer, they (and the Chron) might have thought. So what? There's papers and books to sell, after all.

    21, I don't know who you are, and I don't need to know. But I have heard others say here that you have had a book or books published. If that's the case, you certainly would understand having the 'perfect' book at the 'perfect' time. Mark and Lance had that book, and even if they got 'played,' damnit if it was going to stop them from making some coin. This wasn't a public good, it was a for-profit endeavor, all the way around. And that's one of the reasons I thought it stunk from the beginning. Profiting off of leaked grand jury testimony may be good business, but it's bad karma. Especially when you allow yourself to be held up as some paragon of the 1st amendment.

    Like I said, I'm a bit upset with this, if it goes like it looks it will. But I tell you who should be really pissed: The good people who - for the right, non-profitable reasons - apparently got taken for a ride by Mark and Lance. Not only not for profit in most cases, but on their own dime.

    If I'm Mark and Lance, it's not Rokski's column I fear, it's those of the guys I let sing my praises and fly out to support me in court.

    I want to write more, but JDV just called and I have to do some other stuff. But I want to come back to this and make some larger points, as time allows.

    Also, for anyone who cares, I made some significant changes to my last post on this thread, so if you read it already, you might want to re-read it.
  8. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    Unfortunately, it is too late, 21.

    I supported Fainaru-Wada/Williams and the Chronicle. Now, I feel queasy about it. Mr. Kindred, I just can't see the newspaper waiting three months to get Bonds' testimony into print. And, even if it did, it was still after it knew Ellerman was making his move. Both sides in this debate can argue whether or not any laws were actually broken. To me, it's also an ethical issue. There are some serious questions that must be answered by both the reporters and the editors.

    Next time, I won't be as quick to support. If this was some owner/general manager/player pulling a similar stunt, that person wouldn't get the benefit of the doubt. We'd be writing columns and filling the airwaves with comments like, "They held back information last time, why should we believe them this time?"

    The standard should be the same for us.
  9. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm....justice and truth at any cost. Not sure I wanna toboggan down that slippery slope.
  10. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I can see why you wouldn't want to.

    I mean, truth and justice... That's so f'ed up.
  11. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Refresh my memory, what was the timeline on the book and did it arise from the reporting done for the Chronicle or was it from the reporters working on a book deal?

    And I don't want to sound like a guy from Poynter, but it is generally agreed that the commission of a crime in pursuit of a story is not a good idea. You can't hack into a computer system or voice mail (Hi Cincy!) to get information. It gets a little tricky with leaked information, you have to weigh the good and the bad. And the first time around, that's debatable, but I'd think okay. But the second time, when they knew what the defense attorney was doing, trying to get the case thrown out by leaking and blaming it on the prosecution, that's when the brakes should have been hit. But the lawyer had a huge carrot, Bonds, and the decision was made to go for it anyway.
    To sell books, to sell papers, to generate big news and it looks like a remarkably poor decision by the Chronicle.
    The ones who supported the reporters got used, duped even, into believing something that wasn't true.
    The ends don't always justify the means.
  12. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Fenian said it well. It was irresponsible reporting by the Chronicle, apparently fueled by a hunger for scoops and maybe some ridiculous journalism award. The Chronicle either failed to understand the motivations of its source, or worse, willfully ignored them. I can't wait for Bronstein to explain how all this happened on his watch.

    I also wonder if these guys have hurt the cause for a federal shield law through their irresponsiblity. They might now be held out as Exhibit One among reasons journalists shouldn't have such protections.
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