Tribune Editor defends refusal to publish police report, as story explodes.
Mark Garber is not pleased.
In an e-mail to me, the Executive Editor of the Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers, the Oregon paper in the headlines for uncovering — and then sitting on — the story of the Al Gore sex case, believes I was unfair to the paper in a column earlier this week. The column, “Al Gore and The Media Protection Racket,” can be found here.
Here’s Mr. Garber’s e-mail:
Saw your Spectator article regarding the Portland Tribune’s coverage of Al Gore.
Thought you might like to see the police report (attached) that you, with such certainty, believe should have been the basis of a news story.
As you will see, the report was filed by a lawyer and contains little to no factual information. As the report clearly states, the alleged victim (the lawyer’s client) canceled three scheduled appointments with police and declined to press charges.
As we have reported, we obtained this report through a public records request several months after the alleged incident occurred.
Do you really believe it would be responsible journalistically to publish a story based on a police report that was filed months earlier by a lawyer whose client refused to talk to police or press charges? Or, was it more responsible to actually investigate whether there was any basis for the story? After all, people make wacky accusations about public figures every day. How would we know, based on this police report that you value so greatly, whether this was or wasn’t a complete hoax?
I know you have no way of verifying this, but your assumption that we held back because we are part of the “establishment” is unfounded. We would have published a story if the massage therapist would have provided information without placing conditions on what we could or could not include in the article. Because we follow an ethical code, we could not — and would not — publish off-the-record information without her permission … and that’s where we hit an impasse.
Perhaps when you choose to write about the actions of others, you might ask for their side of the story first.
Thank you for reading this.
- Mark Garber
Portland Tribune and Community Newspapers
First, we appreciate Mr. Garber’s response.
I have read his e-mail and I think American Spectator readers should be able to read it as well. This is a serious issue. While it is hard in the silence of print as opposed to personal conversations or video to communicate tone, Mr. Garber can rest assured that what follows is not intended as some sort of snarky reply. It is written on the eve of this Fourth of July weekend, a holiday that celebrates both American independence and the freedoms that flow from that independence. Freedom of the press is one of those freedoms, and this incident is in its own way a reminder of just why this particular freedom is so vital. The Tribune’s freedom to publish — or not publish — is their call to make, as it should be always.
The last sentence of Mr. Garber’s e-mail suggesting that “perhaps when you choose to write about the actions of others, you might ask for their side of the story first” — puzzles.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online