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View Diary: Media ignore threat to hold Fox News reporter in contempt for protecting source in Aurora shooting (131 comments)

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  •  Is there (5+ / 0-)

    not a degree of Doctor/Patient confidentiality here that really does need a judge to determine if it needs to be released?

     I see that as the big difference between the cases.  Don't we want ill people to feel confident that their medical records are safe from general public viewing.  We want people like him to feel confident being able to talk to a Doctor.

    •  This is a complicated matter here because we... (40+ / 0-)

      ...have three intersecting issues: what a reporter should do regarding information secretly provided; a psychiatrist's duty to her or his patient; a psychiatrist's duty to protect others from a potentially violent patient.

      Part of the matter is discussed here:

      For nearly three decades, the Tarasoff rule has been controversial among mental health professionals. This rule, which has spread to many states, originated in the California Supreme Court's decision in Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (17 Cal.3d 425 [1976]). In Tarasoff, a patient told his psychotherapist that he intended to kill an unnamed but readily identifiable woman. Subsequently, the patient killed the woman. Her parents then sued the psychotherapist for failing to warn them or their daughter about the danger. The California Supreme Court rejected the psychotherapist's claim that he owed no duty to the woman because she was not his patient, holding that if a therapist determines or reasonably should have determined "that a patient poses a serious danger of violence to others, he bears a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the foreseeable victim of that danger."

      In 1985, the California legislature codified the Tarasoff rule: California law now provides that a psychotherapist has a duty to protect or warn a third party only if the therapist actually believed or predicted that the patient posed a serious risk of inflicting serious bodily injury upon a reasonably identifiable victim. [...]

      It's a big issue, with a lot of tentacles.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 12:16:53 PM PDT

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      •  MB - I too am surprised that the MSM (6+ / 0-)

        hasn't circled the wagons on this case.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 12:54:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  me gut says a professional reporter in (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, a2nite, KenBee, daeros

        possession of knowledge of potential tragedy, massive mayhem etc
        has some duty to warn or advise somebody. An editor?

        Anybody would I imagine. If  I knew something as a civilian and failed to.warn  I am certain Id get spanked hard.

      •  Therein Lies the Rub (4+ / 0-)

        It seems like most of these stories pretty much follow the same script.

        In most jurisdictions there is a pretty broad reporter's shield law protecting the confidentiality of sources.  The story only gets interesting because the law also recognizes other important interests, like the defendant's right to a fair trial, and once in a while the important value of protecting confidential sources has to be balanced against other important values.  Also, once in a while, the important value of protecting sources won't end up being the Single Most Important Thing that trumps every other consideration.

        What we then get is an absolutist reporter saying he or she won't comply because a neutral third party ruled against him or her in this case.  The reporter's position that the reporter's interest is more important than anybody else's interest, and that the reporter gets to be the exclusive judge and jury about whose interest is the most important, is actually pretty hard to defend if you aren't a reporter.  This is especially true when the reporter setting herself up as the exclusive arbiter of what is important has an agenda very different from the model of protecting an innocent whistle blower from the power of Big Government.  That certainly wasn't Judith Miller's concern in protecting Scooter Libby.  It's hard to imagine this being a whistle blower situation either.

        •  It's the readers's interest, not just the reporter (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StrayCat, daeros

          There is a pretty clear case to be made in favor of an informed public.

          Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

          by Dogs are fuzzy on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 01:38:19 PM PDT

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        •  I'm recommending this, even though I profoundly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard, alice kleeman

          disagree with its thrust and jib.

          The public interest demands transparency above all else. If private sources fear that their revelations will harm their careers or land them in jail, they will be unwilling to supply transparency.

          Transparency is the ultimate value that trumps all others, including even the sanctity of a defendant's right to a fair trial (although it boggles the imagination to consider how revealing or not revealing a confidential source might violate a defendant's right to a fair trial).

          I used to be an investigative reporter in a previous life (once scooped the NY Times on a story of perfidy in academia :) and had to accept the fact that I might be jailed for contempt for refusing to reveal the identity of my sources.

          The sanctity of confidential sources goes with the investigative journalism territory, so to speak. Sort of like a doctor being asked to divulge confidential doctor-patient information or be jailed, or a lawyer being compelled to reveal attorney-client communications or risk jail. No self-respecting doctor or attorney would violate privilege, nor would or should any real investigative journalist.

          •  Transparency? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tod, daeros

            Transparency in governance, sure.  Transparency in personal medical records is not at all the same thing.

            "with rights come responsibilities." Wrong. Responsibilities continue to exist even if you abdicate your rights.

            by happymisanthropy on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:40:07 PM PDT

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          •  Have You Noticed...... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos, mikejay611

            Have you noticed how the one group who consistently believe that reporter's rights are more important than everybody else's is reporters themselves?  Conflict of interest much?

            Most lawyers understand that there are exceptions to the attorney/client privilege. If the issue is fully and fairly litigated and the final authority rules that the privilege does not apply in a certain case most attorneys would respect the ruling.

            If it were me I would adopt a shield law that was stronger or weaker depending on a couple of things. Did the disclosure advance the public's right to know and public accountability or was the leak to a reporter designed to evade, not advance, public accountability?  Did the source have a credible threat of retaliation from government or industry worthy of protection?  The more it looks like Daniel Ellsberg the more protection. The more it looks like Scooter Libby the less protection.

      •  I don't (5+ / 0-)

        see how the Tarasoff rule would apply here.  The psychiatrist had not seen (maybe still hasn't) the material, it was still in the mail.  The subject was already in custody.  Jana Winter is protecting someone who broke the law by releasing pretrial documents thus hindering a fair trial.  

        Of course I believe that Judith Miller deserved to go to jail because she was protecting a law breaker not a whistle blower.

        •  almost sounds like mail tampering (4+ / 0-)

          and perhaps it was even stolen and sold...and to Fox who would love to gin up a story so as to undermine the  mental health professionals.

          This machine kills Fascists.

          by KenBee on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 01:40:46 PM PDT

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          •  You mean Murdoch wiretapping or stealing mail? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos, KenBee, happymisanthropy

            That could never happen.

            Tough call here, because there are a number of well-established public interests colliding: free press, patient confidentiality, privacy, and protection against mail theft.

            But the fact that it's a Murdoch operation and we're talking about possible mail tampering adds a huge dollop of irony.

          •  Well, the source was identified as being (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KenBee, daeros, Kevskos, mikejay611, Woody

            "in law enforcement."  Here is the lead paragraph:

            James Holmes, the accused gunman in last Friday's midnight movie massacre in Colorado, mailed a notebook "full of details about how he was going to kill people" to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the attack, and the parcel may have sat unopened in a mailroom for up to a week before its discovery Monday, a law enforcement source told
            So there is no question of mail tampering here. This is a case of somebody in the FBI leaking information about a defendant to the media, which is just as serious. More serious, in my opinion.

            Circumstances surely matter in a case like this. As much as I applaud the support for journalistic inviolability, even for journalists we don't like, whether the revelation itself was ethical in the first place ought to make a difference. If that does not make a difference, then Fox would be justified in stonewalling the investigation of the voicemail hacking scandal in the UI.

            It's hard to compare a case like this to one where a reporter is uncovering official wrongdoing that would otherwise go unpunished.  That's one of the key functions of journalism in our society, even when it involves acts which are technically illegal.

            In THIS case, we're talking about information about a suspect who has already been arrested and charged. The information leaked by law enforcement for its own purposes, which might well include swaying potential jurors.  That's very improper, an injustice toward the defendant.

            And since this is information that would no doubt have come out in the trial after the jury had been sequestered, this situation isn't about the right of the public to know, it's about an opportunity for a reporter to scoop other news organizations. That's not a matter of public interest at all.

            I've lost my faith in nihilism

            by grumpynerd on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 08:12:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, that's a good close reading (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              daeros, Kevskos

              but it doesn't say it was opened only by LEO upon discovery, or that it was removed after discovery, discovery by whom and then what? was my question...and sold or leaked to Fox news reporter then given to FBI...all that occurred to me to be another reading of it, knowing the specious parseing going on in all media.

              I guess I'd need to see a oathed chain of discovery testimony at this point,, but... even's pretty dam convenient and coincidental.
                How does mail just  'sit'...that's a pretty rare coincidence. Somebody could have stolen it and gave it back..all kinds of possibilities, but whatevebdfhgfgr...sometimes a rare coincidence is just a rare coincidence.

              This machine kills Fascists.

              by KenBee on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 11:45:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Not sure how I feel about this case... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the logic protecting journalists seems rather similar to that protecting patient records.  Yet there is a definite public interest in knowing what went on there.

      •  The noitebook didn't get to the psychiatrist here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The chilling notebook was found after the shooting in the campus mailroom at the University of Colorado, where Holmes had been enrolled:
        The link article she wrote says
        and the parcel may have sat unopened in a mailroom for up to a week before its discovery Monday
        and makes clear it went from the w enforcement

        so.. all the more puzzling that this is happening. The article isn't about state secrets. Might be against the rules for law enforcement to leak
        but why would they be pushing it this way. Jail for the reporter?

        Doesn't seem like a big issue under the circumstances

      •  I think the Calif Supremes ruled correctly here (2+ / 0-)

        that any medical professional should think they do not have an obligation to anyone other than their paying client is a little disturbing...not to say depressing.

        _"Love is the rosebud of an hour; Friendship the everlasting flower."_ Brook Boothby

        by Keith930 on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 07:14:34 PM PDT

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        •  my life was ruined by the hosptial (0+ / 0-)

          conning us into getting my elementary school involved when i was hosptialized as a kid

          hippa laws were not in place. and when i was diagnosed the wrong way  by the hospital  I had to live with that rulling in my school  for years. it meant that every time kids bullyed me i was to blame, etc.

          if anyone includng me told an adult at it they'd flip it on it's head so i was to blame, etc.

 If the dnc dscc or dccc send you mailers, send that link back to them and tell them you won't send money to people who defend democrats who betray progressive principals!

          by daeros on Tue Apr 09, 2013 at 03:35:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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