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Bloggers And The Presumption of Innocence

Jeralyn Merritt, a fellow member of the Examiner blog board, has an excellent debut piece there today about bloggers and reporting about Rove in the Plame matter.

As a criminal defense lawyer, I don't blame Robert Luskin for attacking liberal bloggers in a recent New York Observer interview.

Mr. Rove, Mr. Luskin said, had fallen victim to partisans and -- more importantly -- the bloggers who became their enablers.

I say this as one of the liberal bloggers writing about Rove. The presumption of innocence is a bedrock of our criminal justice system and representing a client under federal investigation is hard enough without having to endure endless public speculation in which guilt is assumed...

Where I disagree with Luskin is in castigating bloggers as being "enablers" of a partisan agenda and hacks "masquerading" as journalists without accountability...

Were those of us wrong who speculated Rove would be indicted? Yes. But we also were careful to detail and present our reasoning as our interpretation based upon media reports, statements attributed to Luskin and other attorneys involved in the case and pleadings in the Judith Miller/Matthew Cooper subpoena and Scooter Libby cases. How many mainstream journalists bothered to read every pleading, available transcript and court order in both cases? By and large, it was the bloggers, not the mainstream media, who gathered documents from the courts' Web sites and made them available for all to read and interpret for themselves. Bloggers also educated readers on the legal process, from how grand juries work to the meaning of criminal statutes and the mechanics of cooperation deals.

Read it all.


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Comments (13)

Unfortunately, JM has not f... (Below threshold)
clarice:

Unfortunately, JM has not followed her own advice about innocent until proven guilty on her own blog.

Clarice:Agreed and... (Below threshold)
smh10:

Clarice:

Agreed and that to me renders the article moot. Practice what you preach as there are those who will never forget no matter how you attempt to rewrite history.

This is the part I find har... (Below threshold)
BurbankErnie:

This is the part I find hard to believe coming from the "Reality Based Party":


" But we also were careful to detail and present our reasoning as our interpretation based upon media reports, statements attributed to Luskin and other attorneys involved in the case and pleadings in the Judith Miller/Matthew Cooper subpoena and Scooter Libby cases. "


I mean, who are they trying to fool?

Bloggers are no different t... (Below threshold)

Bloggers are no different than anyone else in the media: http://www.anotherblogger.com/2006/06/20/bloggers-presume-just-like-the-media/

What do you expect these da... (Below threshold)

What do you expect these days? Heck Associated Press can't even tell the difference between China and Japan. Since when has accuracy or consistancy mattered lately?

All above pretty much sum ... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

All above pretty much sum up my opinion.

However, I appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to see new content here that may induce actual discsussion outside of our usual trolls.

Lee and Mak/jp2 might disagree, but, nice post.

Jeralyn might be accurately... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Jeralyn might be accurately reporting her own blog, but I can name several off the top of my head who had Rove indicted, convicted, and fending off prison rape. How many blogs echoed Joe Wilson's demand to see Rove frog-marched off? How many lumped in his "indictment" with the "Republican culture of corruption" meme?

J.

Another case of Caveat Empt... (Below threshold)

Another case of Caveat Emptor. If you (the reader) wants instant, raw information then its up to the reader to filter the good from the bad.

Presumption of innocence is a mechanism for the courts and doesn't need to carry over into blogging.
Statement of opinion is free speech, up to the point where libel may occur.

What liberal bloggers actua... (Below threshold)
jp2:

What liberal bloggers actually ran with the story?

Do you live in a cave, jp2?... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Do you live in a cave, jp2? You must or you would have seen the uproar for the last couple of weeks over Truthout's refusal to admit that they were wrong on the issue of Rove's indictment. Instead, there has been a steady diet of "Well, on the surface it might appear that we were wrong, but here's what we think is really going on and it proves we are right despite all the facts to the contrary."

Do you live in a cave, j... (Below threshold)

Do you live in a cave, jp2?

He's still got some evolving left to do before he gets to that point.

I agree with Rodney Dill on... (Below threshold)

I agree with Rodney Dill on this one - with a caveat.
The blogger should make clear that it IS an opinion...

I'd also like to point out to some of the other commenters that the right side of the blogosphere has had the same tendency to assume guilt in other cases. Let he who is without sin... etc.

Jeralyn, who has apparently... (Below threshold)
Bat One:

Jeralyn, who has apparently taken possession of the John Kerry Memorial Waffle House Counter Stool, seems content to criticize some of her leftwing blogger cousins, at least partly, but is strangely silent on Truthout's role, or the fact that so many in the MSM took the Leopold story as gospel truth.

Nor does Jeralyn mention that it's been mostly the conservative bloggers who have

"bothered to read every pleading, available transcript and court order in both cases... gathered documents from the courts' Web sites and made them available for all to read and interpret for themselves... (and) and also educated readers on the legal process, from how grand juries work to the meaning of criminal statutes and the mechanics of cooperation deals."

The reality is that most lefty sites were to busy with their planned "Fitzmas" celebrations to bother with much of this stuff at all.




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