John Chiv has skirted the line for awhile….but has he finally crossed it?
Guest post from a “court house watcher”:
The Tuluwat Examiner is a blog. Plain and simple. Your job as a blog is to ask questions and offer your point of view into topics of interest in your posts. You are unabashedly opinionated and biased. Because of those facts, you have rarely ever implied that your blog is a “journalistic endeavor”.
John Chiv writes a blog. John Chiv regularly calls himself a journalist. In fact, here his own words to speak for what he considers his role in the community and in journalism:
“Every court case I cover is because of my own journalist background, legal research and connections and on my own time. When other reporters are in the courtroom, we all help each other out. The media and the public and other organizations see the legitimacy and work; Paul and others do not. Paul has made it even more difficult and time consuming because if I don’t have information in open court or I cannot hear the clerk due to disrespectful people who think court is their personal living room, I have to work harder to get the information and make sure it is accurate because that is the record of integrity I have as a journalist for 30 years.”
So let’s look at what a journalist is. One definition reads:
A journalist is someone who investigates, collects and presents information as a news story. This can be presented through newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the internet. Journalists are relied upon to present news in a well-rounded, objective manner.
That last part is the main point of my post which I hope the Tuluwat Examiner will run. Could John Chiv’s court writings be considered well-mannered and objective? Sometimes, yes. But sometimes, he goes so far off on his opinions and unsubstantiated rumors regarding IN PROGRESS jury trials that I cringe….even if the allegations against the accused are so heinous that my own biases have led me to want to stay away from criticizing Chiv.
For instance, recently Chiv put up a post regarding a case that’s currently in front of a jury. The charges are related to child molestation. If proven, I hope that the full weight of the law will be handed out at sentencing. In one of his earlier posts about the case, Chiv was pretty good about just reporting the facts as he heard them, even though he is a little overly critical of the defense attorney’s questioning methods. Not that big of a deal. But last night, Chiv wrote another post. I will omit the defendant’s name, so that no jury members would be impacted by these unsubstantiated rumors. If the rumors are true, it’s up to the DA’s office to report them at trial, not an “objective journalist” who didn’t do any work other than listen to an unnamed persons claims. Chiv wrote:
“After my initial post on John Doe, I was contacted by someone who knows John Doe well and knows his ex-wives. He has two ex-wives. After the claims made by Doe’s attorney, Mr. Russo, in opening statements, I think it is important that some of this information come to light.”
“Doe’s impact has been from coast to coast. Based on what has been shared with me, I believe this has gone on for at least 40 years.”
“I am keeping some of the details vague, because there is fear and concern on the part of my source (s) and for the confidentiality of other alleged victims and their locations I will not say who my source is. Those who knew him do not wish to be contacted by Doe or have their families traumatized any further.”
“According to this source, Doe married one ex-wife, a 16 year old girl when he was 22 and another 15-17 year old when he was closer to 40. These facts, according to my source are documented in the courts-one in Illinois and the other girl possibly, Oregon. That’s where Doe lived before moving to CA.”
Could the information be true? Yes. But a real journalist would have verified such claims by contacting the counties Doe was married in and obtaining the licenses. Could Doe have abused young girls for 40 years? Yes, but a real journalist would have verified these claims through thorough research and verified documentation. A real journalist doesn’t just accept things at face value without researching and verifying. Chiv’s bias toward certain types of defendants is understandable, but that bias has no place in REAL journalism….it’s place is in the same muck the Tuluwat Examiner swims in…..the blogosphere.
Chiv is a blogger….plain and simple. As much as he would try to deny it, Chiv is treading through the same muck all bloggers do. The only problem is he holds himself above that and claims to be a journalist. Chiv, you are not a journalist.
Chiv should watch out. His advocacy blogging just might end up corrupting a jury and causing a guilty person to walk away with a mistrial. Food for thought Chiv…advocating and spreading rumors for victim families might end up hurting, as opposed to helping those who have survived. It’s the DA’s job to advocate for victims in the court, not a “journalists” job in the court of public opinion. In fact, if what your source has said is going to be used by the DA’s Office, then the mere fact that they contacted you and that you wrote a blog post might give the defense attorney ammunition to impeach the witness. Food for thought…..