Monday, September 18, 2006

Two Journalists may be Denied Their First Amendment Rights

Lance Williams was one of my journalism professor's at UC Berkeley. He always greeted us with a "Hey now." Now he might be saying it from a jail cell?! :/

Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada are the writers of the well-known "Game of Shadows." (It should be well known to anyone into sports). The book discusses Barry Bonds, steroids, the grand jury testimonies and much more.

But may I remind people the book wasn't solely made to bash Bonds. Please people! The writers mentioned other athletes as well. Don’t be so judgmental!

Because Williams and Fainaru-Wada, one an investigative reporter and the other a sports writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, had sources give them confidential information from the BALCO trials, the federal court asked them to disclose who these sources. The two will not. Of course they won’t! What kind of reporters would they be if they broke a promise to a confidential source?! Not like it’s our first amendment rights. Does anyone remember the part which reads, freedom of the press? Duh people.

Now the two authors are facing time in jail for not producing their sources. I can't even begin to tell you how wrong this whole fiasco is. Williams and Fainaru-Wada did nothing illegal to obtain the information gathered for “Game of Shadows.” The public wants them to be punished for getting information they really, didn't want to hear or read. They were truthful in every account and people just can’t handle the truth.

Even though they can exercise their first amendment right, the court is denying them this natural right. How absurd is that?

There will be at a court hearing in San Francisco this Thursday to see whether the two will be sent to jail. This is a monumental case to reporters and the media. Not including the ripple effect it may have on the public’s view on the media. A sad day it will be indeed, if two innocent reporters must go to jail, and an even sadder day for U.S. reporters.

Fainaru-Wada and Williams spoke briefly about the book in my class last year. It will be a shame to see these two behind bars. But at least I know they stood up for what they believe. That says something.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The words are very nice and supportive of your former professor but I have problems with your premise.
First you say, "that the book was not written SOLELY to bash Bonds", does that mean "bashing Bonds" was or was not an objective of the book? If so bashing Bonds was an objective and that's not being OBJECTIVE.
Then you go on to say the writers obtained the CONFIDENTIAL information legally. Duh, what does confidential mean @ Cal? Well in the good old USA it means you published "grand jury" testimony that was sealed. They just jumped the gun on the Temporary "sealed" part and that's why the court is Freeing Anderson, Bonds personal trainer, and throwing your "boys" in.
My last point is a bit more morbid in nature, some would say, but why didn't anyone ever investigate that obvious STERIOD freak McGwire! he came into the league as a skinny pitcher and after almost retiring from baseball went on the "home run binge" for all ages! Why is it morbid you ask? Because I believe lynching people is morbid and this seems to me to be a very public lynching of Barry Bonds, a journalistic lynching by any other name..

1:43 AM  

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