Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Alvarez Agonistes: "60 Minutes" Had No Time for the Root of Its Interest in Anita Alvarez - David Protess

Under the spreading chestnut tree/I sold you and you sold me/.There lie they, and here lie we/ Under the spreading chestnut tree. Orwell's 1984
The Two-Minute Hate Drill was crafted by George Orwell in his novel 1984 - George was off by twenty-eight years.  These days the we get a heaping helping of the Two-Minute Hate Drill every day and no time off for Sunday. We have Hate Week cycles: We got Burge; we got Palin: We got Ryan; We got Blago; We got Charlie Sheen; We got Lindsays -Lohan and Graham; We got Joe Walsh: We got Chick Fil A; We got 1%-ers: We got Catholics and We always got Israel!  We have Vanecko and we now have the Random Judge!

My favorite Chicago reporter and one of the best in the business, Natasha Korecki reported this in today's Sun Times about the "60 Minutes" tune-up:
“We are appalled, absolutely, unequivocally appalled by the lack of information [in the ‘60 Minutes’ report],” Alvarez’s spokeswoman, Sally Daly, said. “They did not include information that is critical to this case. Anita spent an hour doing this interview. We were ensured that we were going to get a fair shake ... I didn’t expect that from ‘60 Minutes.’ She could have easily not done the interview. She stood up and explained the cases publicly.”
Daly said the piece failed to report key facts in the cases — the so-called Engelwood Four case and one in which a group of Dixmoor men’s cases were dismissed after they spent years in prison. That included some suspects pleading guilty and testifying against others before judges and juries.
“These cases were presented multiple times to judges and juries,” Daly said. “Our office did a very, very thorough, careful review of these cases. She found that there was not enough evidence.”

The object of the Two Minutes Hate Drill, or a Hate Cycle are determined by the needs of the agreed upon tautologists of the academic, legal, political  and journalistic interest complex: Progressive academic, clerics (UCC, Unitarian, atheist and secularists), elected officials, funding sources (Eychaner, Van Amerigen & etc.), and the cadres of lawyers and law professors in symbiotic solidarity with Medill fashioned editors and columnists. Their reach is national but most effective when pounded out locally.  E.G. David Protess' Innocence Project, rock-rooted on the campus of Evanston, Illinois' Northwestern University and buttresses by the MacArthur and Blum Centers for Law, has trained and sent forth the hundreds of journalists to CNN, Newsweek

Dave Protess no longer operates within the ivy of Northwestern, because Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvares out-ed Professor Dave as a phony and the university booted the Tweedy Fagin - The Chicago Tribune Company's Chicago magazine tried to parse Protess back into a good light: 

“That the university had seen fit to issue a one-sided, nasty, vituperative broadside against him in the form of that press release seemed to be a violation of trust, not only of the university’s relationship with David Protess as a faculty member but a breach of trust with us.”
Cubbage responds by saying that Protess forced the university’s hand. “Northwestern University generally does not discuss publicly actions regarding its faculty and staff,” he says in an e-mail. “However, statements in the media by Professor Protess and our desire to be as forthcoming as possible on an issue of great importance to the University, its faculty, our students, alumni and our community prompted us to make the statement.” . . .A few weeks later, an article by a Medill senior, Brian Rosenthal, appeared in The Daily Northwestern, questioning the reporting methods of Protess and his students. On the same day, a lengthy piece in the Chicago Tribune raised similar questions. Both articles cited two identical episodes (neither of them denied by Protess): that one of his students said she had misrepresented herself as a U.S. Census Bureau employee to learn the whereabouts of a potential source and that another had posed as a ComEd worker to help track down a witness.
Both incidents were contained in the Ferkenhoff report, according to sources. And Protess says Jenner & Block questioned him about both. When I asked Cubbage whether the report had been leaked, he responded, “The University has no knowledge as to whether the report was shared, other than it was not shared by the University’s Office of General Counsel or its outside counsel.” Rosenthal told me that he “had no direct contact with the so-called report.” The Tribune reporter, Matthew Walberg, declined to comment.
The stories could merely have been the result of increased scrutiny brought on by the controversy over Protess and the nature of the accusations against him. Whatever the case, the effect was palpable. Protess’s reputation, as well as his 30-year legacy, suffered a staggering blow. More than that, media attention had shifted away from outrage over Protess’s ouster and onto his and his students’ professional ethics.
Protess offered his defense: There’s a long tradition of reporters going undercover, including for a Pulitzer Prize–winning series in the Tribune in which the reporter William Gaines posed as a janitor to detail hospital abuses.
And several practitioners back him up. “As a longtime investigative reporter who also holds a doctorate and specializes in the history of investigative journalism, I can tell you this,” says the University of Maryland’s Feldstein: “Exposing wrongdoing is not easy. Powerful interests do everything they can to block such challenges to their authority. I can tell you that flirting with a source or paying a source’s cab fare is a routine practice among journalistic professionals, not even a misdemeanor compared to the literal felonies that Protess exposed.”
Others disagree with the practice of journalists misrepresenting themselves. “I don’t say I condone that, and it’s not what I do as a journalist,” says American University’s Lewis. “I always disclose who I am, and that’s how I conduct myself. [But] I also understand that this is a slightly gray area.” In the end, the point was moot. Protess was out. The damage was done—both to him and to the school. “It has a long-term effect that will take a long time for the institution to get over,” says Foster. “It’s one of those moments in the 90-year history of Medill, one of those chapters in the [university’s] history, that I think will remain heartbreaking.

”Not just heartbreaking, adds Leff. Ironic. “From the minute I heard about the Anita Alvarez subpoena, I felt that she set out to ruin David’s reputation and to derail the concept of the [Medill Innocence] Project. And I think she did a damn good job. And I think that, wittingly or unwittingly, the university played right into her hands.”
At the bottom of it all, the question still remains: Why would the university go to such great lengths to not simply reprimand Protess—or even push him out—but to publicly attack him, his work, and his integrity, to virtually excommunicate a man who had brought such renown to the school? (emphasis my own)

And that, boys and girls, was how Anita Alvarez was bumped to front of the line for Two Minute Hate and now in the Hate Cycle.

"60 Minutes" sent their hard hitting team to do a job on Cook County States Attorney Alvarez and they chatted up an Innocence Project talker from a its New York affiliate, Peter Neufield to dig up necrophilia in order to smear Alvarez, but not the hometown cabbie briber and Fagin Dave Protess.  Alvarez was set up and she is now a subject for the scorn of Zorn, the malice of Marin, and eggs of the editorial boards of both papers.

Alavarez was Bush-whacked. Given the editing, the snide and syrupy slurs of CBS 'Byron Pitts, Anita Alvarez did a commendable job with the 60 Minutes advocate. She held her ground and stated the case.
Ms. Alvarez fell afoul of the Medill/NorthwesternLaw/Lawsuit-Lotto Lawyer complex when she out-ed Chicago’s Fagin – David Protess – for the hypocrite-corner cutting phony that he is; causing Northwestern to deep-six him after years allowing The Wrongful Everything Gang to burnish the university’s reputation as Progressive Dreamworks and Hogwarts Illinois

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