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No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Bad call | 186 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Bad call
Authored by: PJ on Friday, November 23 2012 @ 11:53 AM EST
And just to explain, so you understand the
emotion, it has to do with journalistic
ethics. The media has a duty, which it is
ignoring in some cases, to try to figure out
what is true and get as close to it as is
humanly possible, as Carl Bernstein put it
once (he of Watergate reporting fame).

But that means you don't publish anything as
a fact without two sources or some way to be
certain that what you are saying is actually
true. Now, FOSSPatents claims it isn't a
journalistic endeavor, that he is an analyst
so journalism ethics don't apply to him.

OK. But what about the media entities that
print his "news" as if it's true, without even
checking? How would that ever be right? It's
not right, and it's a degeneration of journalism.

It's also silly, because if he's wrong, and he
often is, then all the articles that relied on
his wrong facts also end up wrong, and that
pollutes the news pool.

I think it's a serious enough issue that I
feel obligated to report it. It's part of Groklaw's
purpose in being, to report FUD and errors and
make a record that is reliable.

So that's why I do it. And that's why I care.
And I care a lot about journalism, not to
mention ethics, so when I see a violation, I
just do care.

I think it's beyond shocking that he'd offer
a document without a source of any kind, not even
an anonymous source. Just thin air. He found
it somewhere. That's bad enough, but others
have written about it as if the document is
authentic, and we don't actually know that yet,
so if they want to write about it, they need
to clarify clearly that it might be authentic
or it might not. Otherwise what protects the
public from fraud? There are reasons why
courts, for example, absolutely require that
all documents introduced as evidence are
vouched for as authentic.

It's because sometimes people try to fudge. A
lawyer was just disbarred for tampering with
evidence. It can happen. It does sometimes.
And so what protects you if I draw up a document,
cross out some of it with a black majic marker
and tell you it's Cleopatra's lost will or
whatever? Nothing, unless journalists do their
job, which is to seek truth and care about it.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

I yam what I yam
Authored by: Wol on Friday, November 23 2012 @ 03:38 PM EST
Too true.

But people change. I've changed over the years.

I don't see the change in this particular article, but you know I think you have
changed. I'm not surprised.

But at the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself. It's your blog, you
set the rules. Just please listen to old-timers when they get concerned. You
have a far shorter fuse than you used to - but given all the grief you probably
get keeping this site clean, I am not at all surprised! Just please accept it
when we tell you it IS getting through to you!

Cheers,
Wol

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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