Martin Bashir was the first witness for the prosecution. His documentary pretty much sparked the current charges when Jackson was seen holding hands with the 13-year-old boy and admitting that the two slept in the same bed.
Bashir was warned that he might be found in content of court Tuesday if he continues refusing to answer questions. Prosecutors put Bashir on the stand to talk about his video and put that film into evidence.
Jackson’s attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr doggedly went after Bashir in an attempt to kill his credibility and probably to see if he get Bashir found in contempt. If Judge Rodney Melville rules Bashir in contempt all of his comments and the documentary are stricken from the record.
Bashir claims to be protected under California’s “shield laws” that protects reporter notes and sources. Theoretically Bashir doesn’t have to turn over any un-used footage, notes or comment on what he saw and did not tape.
The idea is that what you say to a reporter off the record is guarded with the same confidence as lawyer to client, pastor to parishioner and doctor to patient. If Bashir breaks that confidence his career as a reporter is probably dead.
No journalist who takes their job seriously is ever going to roll over on a source or give up their notes for two reasons. One is industry blacklisting and two is our fuction as the fifth estate.
Confidentiality is absolutely the key to a free press. If whistle blowers like the famous “Deep Throat” are not protected then no one will ever come forward with anything.
It applies even to the every day journalist. During my time I heard coaches make comments that would have sounded racist in print, state representatives dishing trash on their opponent’s and less then polite reasons why certain road projects were funded and others weren’t.
I routinely destroyed my notes just so I would never be called to reveal any of the information I have held back from stories.
Bashir should not be forced into revealing any more details about Jackson then what he put in those tapes. If he is then it sets an ugly precedent that if the state wants evidence reporter aren’t safe.
That’s not a free press, that’s using the media as another arm of the law. That’s not America.
If you’re interested The Smoking Gun, is doing the best job covering the Jackson case.