Interesting battle going on at the Boston Herald. The Washington Post weighed in today. A judge who gave a rapist a lenient sentence is upset with the Herald’s reporting and the subsequent TV coverage.
The story from the Post obviously sides with the judge. Large chunks of information presenting his side of the case are presented as fact with no attribution. Take this sentence for example: “Murphy developed post-traumatic stress disorder and later collapsed with a large duodenal ulcer near an artery.” I’m sure these are claims made in the judge’s lawsuit, but the sentence reads as though this is incontrovertible fact.
Looks like the Herald reporter got a little sloppy too:
Wedge said he stands behind what he wrote but acknowledged the quote may not have been exact. “I know he said the judge said either “She’s got to get over it” or “Tell her to get over it,” he said in an interview. Murphy maintains the conversation never occurred.
Of course, he didn’t know that the story was going to blow up and hinge around those words. But, he’d be in less hot water if he’d gotten the quotes right. That said, Dave Wedge is a good man and a good reporter. He’ll pull through this.
The interesting result may be the end of reporters doing television interviews — a welcome end to this media-crossing experiment. I never felt comfortable with newspaper reporters hawking their stories on TV. Newspaper reporters should have a healthy disdain for TV journalists.
In the end, this kind of stuff happens at the Herald about twice a year. If you’re the smaller paper in a two-paper town, you’ve got to make waves. Just make sure they spell your name right.