04 March 2005

The ACLU sinks so low that it's unethical even for lawyers

[source, source]

According to the ethics complaint, at the same time [ACLU attorney Kathy] Hall defended the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board (CWARB) against an ACLU lawsuit in the case of Howard v. CWARB, she also served as co-counsel for the ACLU in a case against an Arkansas school board — McLaughlin v. Pulaski School District.

The two cases were not unrelated. In McLaughlin, Hall worked on behalf of the ACLU to sue a school district for restricting a gay teenager’s freedom to speak about his homosexuality. In Howard, Hall opposed the ACLU, defending the CWARB’s policy of not allowing gay couples to serve as foster parents.

Whether Ms. Hall liked CWARB’s policy or not, her duty was to defend her client and to disclose any conflicts of interest. (James Balcom, chairman of CWARB, confirmed that he didn’t learn of Hall’s representation of the ACLU until the trial was nearly over, and only then from a witness rather than from Ms. Hall.)

[…]

Why didn’t the ACLU speak up about Ms. Hall’s likely conflict of interest, as it ought to have done? It’s not like its top brass didn’t know who she was. Two of the ACLU’s lawyers opposing Ms. Hall and the CWARB were James Esseks, the litigation director of the ACLU’s national Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, and Leslie Cooper, a staff attorney for the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.

Their silence is especially curious, since Ms. Hall’s ACLU co-counsel on the McLaughlin case were…Leslie Cooper and James Esseks, of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project.

NOW IMAGINE THE KERFUFFLE had a conservative lawyer, say a member of the Federalist Society, not only kept quiet about a conflict of interest, but then refused to ask her sole expert witness a few important questions that could have affected the trial’s outcome — and then lost the trial.

My respect for the ACLU is such that this story doesn’t make it any less. That organization has long since sunk in to being a purely leftist political organization with no regard for the social underpinnings necessary to support civil liberties such as honesty and integrity.

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Learning the "wrong" lesson

[source, source]

Al Jazzera focused, as part of its coverage for the “deteriorated situations in Iraq” on every single demonstration against the interim government or the American presence in Iraq even if it was 10 people that are demonstrating! But this coverage, that was missed in the official Arab media most of the times, showed the Arab street an unusual scene. “Arab” citizens demonstrating freely against their government and the supposed brutal occupiers under the eyes of police!

These days we hear every now and then about demonstrations almost everywhere in the Arab world. Excuse me, but this is far from usual! I haven’t seen any demonstration against Saddam all my life and similarly I haven’t heard of any in Syria or Saudi Arabia prior to the 9th of April. Most of us think it’s what happened in Iraq that encouraged Arabs to demand more rights, but how could Arab citizens know the details of what’s happening in Iraq if it wasn’t for Al Jazeera and Al Arabyia?

An excellent point. Apparently the Arab Street is better at discerning who is really oppressive than the Modern American Left.

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Old Media credibility watch

[source]

The hopelessly la-la-leftist L.A. Times published an interview Thursday with a North Korean “businessman.” This was a straight interview piece, except that there really aren’t any intelligent questions from the writer, nominally the Times’ South Korean Bureau Chief. This appalling parody of journalism offers absolutely no context or background for the statements of a regime mouthpiece, former member of the North Korean diplomatic corps, and currently hustling business for the Pyongyang government. Think I’m kidding? The interview was held at a karaoke bar in Beijing owned by the North Korean government. Want to guess what happens to ordinary North Koreans who talk to Western journalists?

It’s not just this story, as egregious as it is. It is what the internal culture at the LA Times must be that articles like this make it to the published paper.

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