I SMELL A COVERUP. BUT THE PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW! Ashe Schow: We might not learn anything new from Rolling Stone lawsuits.
Rolling Stone magazine is seeking to limit what gets publicly disclosed during the ongoing defamation case brought forth by University of Virginia Associate Dean Nicole Eramo.
Eramo was the only named official blamed for improperly handling an accusation of a brutal gang rape by a student known as “Jackie.” The accusation was detailed in a now-discredited article that appeared in Rolling Stone. After the story fell apart, Eramo filed a defamation lawsuit against the magazine for its portrayal of her.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted late last week that even though a Columbia Journalism Review of the article revealed some additional details, there could still be more information out there — information that could be private (such as Jackie’s confidential report of the alleged gang rape). It doesn’t matter that she lied, what she said to Eramo could be protected information.
“The proposal would secure confidentiality for disclosures that fall into any one of several baskets, including information whose release is barred by statute, trade secrets or ‘commercially sensitive’ information, ‘unpublished newsgathering materials’ and ‘information of a personal or intimate nature regarding any individual,'” Wemple wrote.
Wemple, predictably yet amusingly, opposes the protection of “unpublished newsgathering materials.”
The big story here is one of malfeasance by the press. “Unpublished newsgathering materials” are highly relevant to the public’s ability to judge.