Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ravalli Republic reporters

Journalism Help
This is for all the exceptional "reporters" at the Ravalli Republic Newspaper.
It is especially for Perry Backus the senior reporter.

News out of Hamilton Montana may never be the same; "allegedly"

From the University of Virginia Law School (ranked in top ten).
RU-MTSD-400 Media Law & Defamation

The following are NOT DEFENSES against libel:

a) The word "allegedly" does not offer any protection. [Sorry Perry Backus, time for redo]

The phrase, "She allegedly has AIDS" is legally the same as "She has AIDS."

b) Official attribution does not protect reporters. For instance, in reporting an arrest, one reports the fact of the arrest. One does not say "Joe Smith we as arrested for committing arson, police said" but rather: "Police have charged Joe Smith with arson." Reporting the charge (not an arrest for something) is factually correct and is also ethical in that you do not presume guilt.

Question: Does that mean you don't believe the police? Not exactly. It means that believing or not believing the police is irrelevant -- it's entirely up to the court to decide who to believe. Ethical reporters do not help police or prosecutors make their cases to the public.
[we just put Perry Backus, The Ravalli Republic out of business,]

c) Off the record attribution is dangerous.

It would be a serious mistake to report on the basis of an off the record comment that a prominent citizen had been stopped for drunken driving unless there is a clear record of the stop, a Breathalyzer test or some other documentation backing up the allegation. The documentation should be on paper in the police station. In general, reporters must refrain from repeating courthouse gossip, even if probably true, unless it is proveably true in court.

d) Claims of opinion do not shield a malicious statement of fact.

It would be libellous to say, "in my opinion, the person has AIDs," (if indeed this were untrue) because there is a factual allegation underlying the opinion. In fact, as you'll see below, courts don't really differentiate between fact and opinion.

e) Unofficial court documents lacking privilege can be a problem. Affidavits or allegations concerning misconduct are not privileged if the court has not admitted them into evidence or if the case is settled out of court. This doesn't mean that they cant be reported, but care must be taken in assessing their validity, in noting their unofficial status, in attributing their origin and in providing opportunity for rebuttal. A reporter should not report frivolous or obviously extraordinary charges that lack substance. In other words, don't let yourself be used for partisan purposes. [or local gov't payoff].
good luck Perry Backus, now you know the rules of the road... The Job Service is on Old Darby Rd.
Read more on Perry Backus for Ravalli Republic Lee Enterprises:
The Perry Backus Reputation: why we felt we needed to write to the US President: Montana corruption was destroying American's lives, and killing Americans outside our protected rights; Lee Enterprises Newspapers in Montana are facilitating, participating, profiteering off this Racket.

Perry Backus Exposed: Ravalli Republic reporter covers up Hit and Run, affidavit for his arrest.

The Perry Backus Way: how a Lee Enterprises reporter in Montana defames, destroys reputations

Perry Backus: the 'useful idiot' for Lee Enterprises, Montana Corruption (who pays Lee).
Source of links: 

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