Friday, December 03, 2004

Which Crime Is Worse? The Chronicle Vs. Barry Bonds

I'm not trying to make light of the Barry Bonds/Jason Giambi Steroid "scandal" that has come to light in recent days, but I have more of a problem with the San Francisco Chronicle running this story than I do with the players involved in this story.

In case you missed it The San Francisco Chronicle reported both Berry Bonds & Jason Giambi testified before a grand jury late last year, in what were supposed to be sealed court documents, they did, in fact, use steroids (While Giambi openly admitted to it, Bonds says he wasn't aware of what was in "The Cream" or "The Clear").

Whether you believe him or not is irrelevant at this point. What bothers me most is the flaw in our judicial system. These men testified under oath to the Grand Jury under the stipulation they would be granted immunity from prosecution (otherwise they would just opt for the 5th amendment protection) & that their testimony would be sealed and never released to the public. So how then did the Chronicle obtain copies of the transcripts of their testimony?

I'm sure this question will be asked repeatedly. Reporters will be brought in and asked this very thing. Of course, they will cite law that protects a journalist from revealing his/her source.

I believe that law is flawed. If the "source" of a story is purely giving information he or she knows to be the truth, but wants to remain hidden, I understand and I think it would be up to the journalist as to whether or not to protect that person.

Here is my exception to that rule, however: If the person who is giving the information is knowingly and willingly BREAKING THE LAW by providing this information (as the source of this story is) he or she should be afforded no protections under the law. If the journalist is unwilling to name this source, he/she should spend the time on prison/pay the penalty the offender would have received.

I believe in the right to confront your accuser. I believe in the right to know what you are up against. If someone is so cowardly they give information which was obtained on the trust no one would ever know about it, that "source" should pay the consequences of those actions.