Jane reports that one of the jurors was let go today:
I'm at the courthouse, and as Christy said in her update, one of the jurors was exposed to media coverage of the trial. Nobody really expected anything early this morning, so everyone is scrambling into the media room to try and figure out what's going on...read on
The WaPo and Deborah Howell have a lot to answer for in my estimation because of the Post's decision to have Toensing author an op-ed piece after she filed a brief on behalf of the Washington Post and the Post failed to disclose that fact when her story was published. Here's Howell's lame explanation:
While Toensing is a partisan, she also filed a friend-of-the-court brief during the leak investigation with media lawyer Bruce W. Sanford on behalf of 36 news organizations, including The Post. She and Sanford, who also worked on the 1982 law, argued that journalists shouldn't have to testify because no crime was committed if Plame wasn't a covert operative. Editors should have mentioned the court filing in the Outlook piece.
Outlook's graphic of fake police mug shots of Fitzgerald, Wilson, Armitage and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, which ran with the Toensing piece, also drew complaints of marking "a low standard of conduct in print," as one reader wrote....
Failure to disclose these facts is outrageous. It's highly unethical and Howell dismissed this information as if it was trivial. (firstname.lastname@example.org.) The Washinton Post has a BIG dog in this show because a bevy of their reporters are involved in the case, not named Tim Russert and they are attacking Fitzgerald's case. Toensing should not be allowed to voice an opinion after she filed a suit in the Washington Post's name. She has a mug shot of Patrick Fitzgerald as if he's the criminal, for God's sake. I say again, this is outrageous behavior on the part of the Washington Post.
Apparently to balance out Toensing---the Post gets the drooling of Byron York to then write a second piece. Why didn't the Post have Jane Hamsher write an opposing view ? After all, they usually have some sort of balance, but with all their own reporters being key witnesses in the Libby case you can understand their motives. Where is Howard Kurtz on this?
Howard Kurtz: The last time I checked the First Amendment, we're still allowed to comment on trials that are under way. The judge has not sequestered the jurors but has asked them to avoid all coverage of the trial. I'm keenly aware of this because there was a brief uproar when one juror saw my Style section piece on Tim Russert's testimony that federal marshals had somehow failed to excise from the morning papers, and the judge had to question the jury before the trial was allowed to proceed.
Howard, it's not about the First Amendment, but one of transparency. You do look like you're trying to tamper with the case as Brookline suggests because Toensing filed a brief on your behalf...
The only "rebuttal" allowed was a 150-word letter from Brent Budowsky. The refusal to fairly and accurately present the other side of this issue is a further sign that the Washington Post has lost its way as a journalistic institution. I am canceling my subscription to the Post. I encourage others to do likewise