Had spent a portion of his adult life in trying to get press to come to grips with own failings.
“often arrogant refusal” of press to accept that it has some responsibilities of broader citizenship—has had deleterious effect in terms of public attitudes toward press (national security issues, etc.)
Two key points:
1) “trial by media is as American as apple pie”
2) actions of AG and state bar were “extraordinary”—need to keep in mind this wasn’t the normal approach
Yes—will be lessons from this case—but will only last until next high-profile case
Recall Sacco & Vanzetti case—“try them after you convict them”
Leo Frank case another such example
Quite aware that usual victims of media lynchings were black men—accused of crimes against white; only occasional cases (Scottsboro) attracted attention to the injustices
“even now, newspapers too often blandly play the conveyer belt” for improper utterances of prosecutors
“We should all be so lucky as to live in a country where the work of the
“to read its work was to watch a newspaper turn on a dime”—began to repeatedly say things weren’t straight: work especially impressive in comparison to other newspapers, “some much better known in other parts of the country”
Media never learned lessons of McCarthyism
--Wen Ho Lee,
Recall the movie: Absence of Malice (even sometimes
“cannot look to the media for a solution” in terms of media coverage of fair trial; also cannot hold media accountable for its misconduct except in very rare cases
But, unlike the media, there are clear rules for the court, the prosecutor, the police—no constitutional protections for them violating their rules, unlike the First Amendment for the media
Burden for ensuring fair trial relies on the Bar; can’t demand that media behave like lawyers
Why was this Bar intervention "extraordinary"--why not routine to curb a rogue prosecutor?
to Nifong: "to violate every canon, every principle, every single standard emblazoned in law school texts and bar canons"