Journalists Leave Roger Shuler To Rot In Alabama Jail

Is freedom of the press only for the journalists in their own circles? Why no outcry about Roger Shuler's endless incarceration?
Journalists Leave Roger Shuler To Rot In Alabama Jail

It's amazing to me that Roger Shuler's rights are being violated this way, that he's not being given the right to a trial or any due process, and journalists everywhere shrug.

Andrew Kreig of the Justice Integrity Project interviewed Roger recently, and took journalists to task for turning the other way and pretending this isn't happening right here in this country:

From my experience reading Shuler's blogs regularly since 2009, he is a courageous, corruption-fighting writer who has gained a national audience with a number of important scoops and some questionable stories that are impossible for a reader to assess fully.

He writes about sex scandals, for example, far more than I would. Few of us are in the hotel rooms when these politicians travel with their aides, and so we have little means to judge whether his claims are true. That is true also for one-sided statements about such matters even in court cases.

That said, political insiders in Alabama and nationally find such tales of great interest in their private conversations. Mainstream journalism organizations ignore such matters except when an "accidental" scandal erupts and the safety of pack journalism can justify reporting to the public.

Even then, the public is rarely informed that some such sex scandals arise as deliberate hit jobs by political opposition researchers who store up dossiers for use when helpful in a political blackmail process. That part of the massive dark world of politics tends to remain off limits for the media, especially since at least a few journalists are complicit.

Instead, reporters pursue more routine fare from staged events whereby reporters function more as stenographers than independent, pro-consumer watchdogs. Industry events seek to retain some vestige of glamor by self-congratulatory awards ceremonies, participation by government, entertainment and media celebrities (especially in Washington) -- and, of course, high-minded rhetoric about the nation's free press and First Amendment freedoms.

The National Press Club, for example, has scheduled in cooperation with government officials a number of Sunshine Week and Freedom of Information events over the next month. But the club has not bestirred itself to write even a simple letter protesting Shuler's treatment despite many requests by me.
Similarly, the Society of Professional Journalists has done nothing in its array of venues despite at least ten requests by me to various officials nationally, in Alabama, or in my Washington, DC region. The Online News Association, founded to advance blogging and other online news, pleads poverty and other priorities when I have asked them to do something about Shuler's plight.


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Worst of all has been Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), based at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. I have yet to receive a single response as a member to my emails directed to several IRE executives on behalf of Shuler, an alumnus of the school.

Whether or not you think Shuler is right or wrong about what he reported, he's entitled to the same due process as any other journalist. Where are all the civil libertarians?

Consider the kangaroo court:

But his chief tormenter, Claud (sic) Neilson is not even a real judge elected to serve in the jurisdiction by standard procedures.

[...]

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who notoriously ignored the U.S. Supreme Court's establishment of religion holdings in the so-called "Ten Commandments Case" a decade ago, brought Neilson out of retirement in mysterious circumstances last summer. Moore named Neilson to serve as a part-time state judge to handle the Shuler case, whose docket and courtroom were kept secret during its main procedures.

Is this why they're ignoring him?

There is snobbery at work here. Many will rally to the defense of an elite reporter at a major news organization that creates a free press campaign.

Shuler, on the other hand, is one a-person operation. His site was the only one in a ranking of the top 50 legal blogs in the country that was not run with organizational funding. So, he has little if anything to offer his supporters but his writing.

If so, that's pathetic.

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