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Important...Please read if you're a journalist...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by jason_whitlock, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

  2. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    I think that the reporters, in providing the platform that spurs the commission of the crime, are accomplices.
  3. Columbo

    Columbo Active Member

    It doesn't matter if the NFL is rife with steroids.

    Everyone on the offensive and defensive lines use them, so, on a team level, it's a wash. And no one gives a flying rat's ass about individual football records.

    Where steroids have become a firebrand of scorn are in two places: individual sports, and teh team sport where the individual records are held in such high esteem that 32 years ago, a drug-free Hank Aaron received multitudes of death threats as he tracked down The Babe.

    No ONE wants to see Aaron's hellish 1974 made a trivia note by that cheating asshole, who has had BY FAR his greatest years from the ages of 35-39. Someone please explain that phenomenon and tell me the last time that was the case for an athlete.

    Oh, I know, Bonds had that really secretive and clean workout regimen. LOL!
  4. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I am really late to this thread. But I am shocked at the people here who don't see the big deal that these reporters--or any reporter--are being sent to prison for not revealing a source. A free press is vital to a democracy. And the ability to protect sources goes hand in hand with that.

    These reporters didn't do anything illegal. They used information they obtained legally to do good investigative journalism. Their ability to do that sort of journalism accomplishes a much greater good--think Watergate--than it does the government to compel them to reveal their sources. This is something any journalist SHOULD feel strongly about.

    Nearly every state now has a shield law of some sort to protect reporters from this. The Federal government doesn't. Quite frankly, it should take a page from the individual states. I am not sure that a call to arms will accomplish much, but I am shocked that some people are saying they deserve to go to prison. The law, in this case, is not only unjust, it is potentially dangerous to a free press.
  5. columbo

    spoken like the naive idiot you are....

    you think performance-enhancing drugs are only used by linemen.... guess todd sauerburn was contemplating a move from punter to the offensive line.

    and if our concern about steroids is just about records, then we're all just a big group of flaming idiots.
  6. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    As noble as we think our profession is, journalists aren't above the law.

    Somebody broke the law by leaking grand jury testimony.

    The prosecutors have every right to use every method in their power to find who broke the law.

    This isn't a stifling of freedom of the press, or freedom of the speech. The government is not clamping down because they did not like what a pair of reporters wrote. There isn't some grave injustice being committed here.

    That said, both guys deserve our support.

    But there is a difference between support and protest.
  7. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Not necessarily. It's not illegal for witnesses in a grand jury to leak testimony. They can sing to the world if they want.

    It's already come out that Conte himself was a source for them -- NOT illegal.

    It's hasn't been proven any law was broken here.

    I urge everybody to (a) reserve judgement until we have the facts and (b) know the law.
  8. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Of course it is...for the next guys who have a story to tell.

    I know, any reporter who would sit on a story, etc etc...but for every reporter with a hot story and a secret source, there's a legal department shaking it head and warning not to go there.

    This isn't the first or last time this will happen, but it's a mistake to believe that a free and informed press isn't affected when reporters go to jail for doing their jobs too well.
  9. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I am just blown away that a journalist would have your beliefs. It certainly is a stifling of a free press. These two reporters are going to jail for protecting their sources. To avoid going to prison, their alternatives were/are: 1) not print the story or 2) reveal their sources. If they don't print the story, a free press that keeps the public informed clearly suffers. if you can't see that, not sure I can explain it to you. If they reveal their sources, it has a chilling effect. Why would anyone with sensitive information ever talk to a reporter in confidence? We might as well only have a "free press" that reports the easy-to-find news that falls into your lap.
  10. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    The "press" is going to have to be a lot more vigilant if there is to be a federal shield law enacted.

    Every poll you could take shows one thing: A sharp decline in credibility.

    And before the bleating of "First Amendment" starts, think of this: Imagine the chain a story passes through. How many weak/non-existent links are in that chain, compared to say, 15 to 20 years ago?

    I don't think Joe Citizen wants a system where it takes only someone with an agenda to push through an anonymous report, then cling to anonymity for years. That report had better be damn credible, but no one will ever know because the source won't be revealed.

    The public simply won't tolerate a situation like that.
  11. I have absolutely no idea where I stand on this.
    I have an instinctive impulse to go grab a sign and march, simply because the profession's so embattled these days that I think we should stand with any of our colleagues simply because they are our colleagues. And I still believe "no law," -- as in, "Congress shall make no law..." -- means "no law."
    And it's a big "however."
    I'm not sure if we should argue from principle for an absolute privilege that allows us essentially to become part of a criminal prosecution, which I believe is what's happening here. Prosecutors regularly leak GJ evidence for their own purposes, either a) to poison the jury pool and b)to increase the public pressure on a defendant. The problem with taking the leaks is that, by doing so, you -- and, often, your paper -- become unable to cover another really good story -- to wit, that a prosecutor has broken the law by leaking the testimony. We saw that, alas, with the leakfest that was Ken Starr's investigation. People who sucked up the leaks from the OIC were thereafter renedered incapable of reporting the very real network of lawyers, activists etc. who were working hand-in-glove to bring down the president, and these leaks were pre-Monica, BTW.
    Also, the Novak/Judy Miller/Valerie Plame case is another, similar dilemma. Do we argue from principle for an absolute privilege to be part of a dirty-tricks operation? Or is the fact that a predential aide is leaking classified material a better story to chase? Can't chase both of them, after all.
    I have no idea what the answer is to any of this.
  12. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    FB, That is an industry ethics question, not a legal question. No one says a reporter has to take a phone call from a prosecutor leaking something, or that the reporter has to offer that prosecutor the ability to speak off the record.

    The question is, should that reporter be allowed to make that decision--to grant a source (any source) confidentiality without threat of being compelled to reveal that source. There are clearly some stories that would never be able to be told without confidential sources. And since an informed public is what makes a democracy and a free society tick, I believe that it is a grave error of omission that we have gone this long without reporters being granted legal protection to protect sources.
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