I'd like input from journalists and bloggers.
Here's a hypothetical. You're a blogger and you write about a person who has been thrust into the spotlight — they are mildly internet-infamous. That person emails you and asks if they can talk to you off the record. You agree. They make a series of statements to you about the litigation that is the subject of your post. Some months later, that person's lawyer files a motion in court with a representation contradicting something that the person told you off the record.
So: either the person lied to you during the off-the-record communication, or the person's lawyers are lying to the court.
Does the ethical obligation to keep the communication off the record continue?
I don't think a single lie on a single subject vitiates the off-the-record agreement as to the whole communication. However, as I have said before, I am troubled by the prospect that a journalist can be bound by a promise to a tipster when it appears that tipster is lying to a court.
What do you think?
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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