Author archives

Illinois wiretapping law restrictive at best

At a time when millions of Americans have a cell phone with video and audio capability and when videotapes of police misconduct often are the stuff of news reports, Illinois is leading the nation in prosecuting citizens who tape officers in public. Illinois has one of the three most restrictive eavesdropping laws in the country, along with Maryland and Massachusetts. And Illinois police and prosecutors are not shy about using the law to punish the taping of arrests and interrogations.

Juan Williams – The Micro View

News organizations have the right – the responsibility even – to discipline or fire reporters who violate professional ethical standards.  But NPR reacted too hastily and too drastically when it fired news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims. There is no easy yardstick for determining when reporters deserve to be fired for …

Reporters tactics a question in Innocence Project

The surreptitious recording of conversations by a reporter – a tricky legal and ethical issue – is the latest charge that prosecutors have raised about the tactics used by David Protess’ students at the Medill Innocence Project. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez maintained in a written statement that the secret recording raised “serious legal and ethical questions about the methods that the professor and his students employed during their investigation.” The Innocence Project’s investigation concluded that Anthony McKinney was innocent of the 1978 murder of a security guard in Harvey, Ill. The Innocence Project has been influential in freeing 11 people from death row in Illinois.

Effects of Citizens United case still unclear

If you were following the coverage of the 2010 congressional election, you probably got the idea that Republicans greatly outspent Democrats, that campaign money had a lot to do with the Republican landslide and that a January decision of the U.S. Supreme Court – Citizens United – opened the floodgate to the huge, secret corporate contributions. That was the refrain of innumerable press reports in the mainstream media, such as NPR. But parts of that picture are misleading, exaggerated or, at least, unprovable based on current campaign finance data.

NPR fired Williams too quickly

News organizations have the right – the responsibility even – to discipline or fire reporters who violate professional ethical standards. But NPR reacted too hastily and too drastically when it fired news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made about Muslims.

Fox sues Carnahan over Fair Use

Fox News’ copyright suit against Robin Carnahan’s campaign may be the first time that a news organization has sued a candidate for use of its copyrighted content, experts say. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the claim is frivolous, lawyers say.

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