That’s how it goes

The Newseum's Five (5) freedoms guaranteed by ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking  Everybody knows that the captain lied  Everybody got this broken feeling  Like their father or their dog just died.”

-Leonard Cohen

This coming weekend, I will be publishing a contribution to the Mic check guest blogger series from Claire O’Brien, whom I met through our interactions at her exceptional blog, Eléctrica in the Desert. Journalism is a profession that, in my not so humble opinion, falls under the category of “higher calling”, as it is entrusted with the widely coined mandate to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In this context, Claire is an honorable reporter whose story serves as a reminder that following one’s conscience may come at a price. I would like to share with readers the extraordinary attack that was coordinated against her in the midst of a racially and politically divisive murder trial several years ago that served to derail her career as a journalist. O’Brien worked as a reporter for the Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, at the time a Latino man named Sam Bonilla was on trial and facing decades in jail for killing a local man, which he claimed was in self-defense. Bonilla was a Mexican immigrant who feared he could not get a fair trial and opted to forego a jury trial. In the course of her investigative reporting, she interviewed a source who corroborated Bonilla’s claim that the man he killed when confronted had “a base of support that is well-known for its anti-Hispanic beliefs” and a “supply of semi-automatic weapons.” O’Brien was pressured to reveal her source and when she refused was threatened with contempt by the presiding Judge. As a result of her actions, she was unceremoniously fired from her job at the Daily Globe, which went so far as to change the locks in their offices. She found previously proffered job offers and invitations to appear at journalism conferences withdrawn. This despite the fact that O’Brien won multiple awards for her investigative reporting, helped bring Bonilla’s case into the light of public scrutiny and was instrumental in establishing a Shield Law, in 2010, by the Kansas legislature.

Journalism is not  a crime

(Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

In Claire O’Brien’s own words:

“I feel it’s important for me to make my position clear, and I want to start sharing it with people. It’s my only path to justice, so I must take it, even if any of my arguments are flawed and/or my efforts still fail. 

I wrack my brain daily re: why no one considers my position worth even investigating. During fierce national threats to our civil liberties, I had acted to derail a state frame up funneling a Latino victim of a Hate Crime to a 40-year prison term. My coverage shone a light on “one of the most repressive and disturbing racist systems” the Mexican American Defense Fund had ever seen. Next, the U.S. Dept. of Justice showed up. No one had ever been made aware of the plantation system exploiting 9,000 slaughterhouse workers and their families in a corner of SW Kansas. Next, I’m hit with a subpeona to reveal the name of a confidential source. The nations premier Free Press organization, founded by four Black reporters 40 years ago because they couldn’t interview a member of the Black Panther Party without getting arrested, sends its biggest big shot, the famous Lucy Dalglish (FYI, the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press is now a white-dominated organization).  

For the first time in the history of journalism, the DEFENDERS of reporters make a secret alliance with Corporate media and they knock this heavily supported reporter to the ground with a statement to the national press accusing me of lying. 
 
The very worst thing you can do to a reporter. I never got up. Reporters who had flooded me with support disappeared. When I returned to the Daily Globe, the doors were all locked-the locks had been changed. 
 
The Latino community got the message about what happened to reporters who spoke up for them. They were silenced. Every reporter in Kansas also got a message. Big shots who knew the truth said nothing, this reporter was silenced. No one can tell me that wasn’t a sucessful national atttack on the First Amendment.
 
And the American press won’t say a word?”
Dodge City, Kansas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dodge City, Kansas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are the facts of O’Brien’s case and then there are the facts. Dodge City, where Wyatt Earp once served as a deputy marshall, is known for once being a major part of the Chisholm Trail where cattle were driven from Texas to Kansas railcars to be shipped East. During the cattle years, Dodge City became a booming frontier town known for saloons, prostitutes and gun slingers. So it was, some 150 years later, the descendants of the old West collided with the descendants of the new South. In O’Brien, the Latino community found a voice and a champion who was not afraid to stand with them in the face of monumental political and legal pressures. O’Brien paid a heavy price for her solidarity. The most crushing blow was the betrayal at the hands of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Lucy Dalglish, former director of the RCFP, and now the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism, refused to issue a statement in support of O’Brien and, in fact, questioned her refusal to initially appear before the grand jury convened to pressure her into revealing her confidential source and her notes from jailhouse interviews with Bonilla. According to O’Brien, Washington, D.C. reporter Tony Mauro, then-president of the RCFP Steering Committee, was present when Lucy Dalglish admitted to Claire that, even after confirming Claire’s statements as true, she subsequently lied about Claire to the Associated Press. To add literal injury to the insults against her professional reputation, O’Brien was in a car accident shortly after leaving Dodge City jobless and penniless. She clearly ruffled the feathers of the preening peacocks found in every American city for whom the status quo is the guarantor of the power and privilege they have become accustomed to wielding. If an innocent Latino man is imprisoned for decades for standing his ground against white supremacists, well, apparently the bell tolled for he.
Ford County Courthouse in Dodge City, Kansas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford County Courthouse in Dodge City, Kansas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Claire O’Brien:

“And I’m supposed to accept it? What message is the Left sending me? If the Press leaders and the corporate media can stamp out rank and file reporters at will, that means their tens of millions of the unimportant readers have just had their First Amendment access to a free press shattered.

And the American public won’t get to weigh in because the American public will never know.
 
One Latino man’s life was at stake (he was 40, and was headed for a 40-year sentence) and another had risked reprisal from the Aryan Brotherhood on the basis of my word, which I have never broken.
 
When I stepped forward to take a big risk, I did not think I was standing alone. I have understood that our only power lies with one another since I was eight years old, and that refusing to stand for a worker who acted to defend all our rights was not a defensible choice. Personal feelings had no role whatsoever in this ongoing struggle. To deny support in such a circumstance was the strongest public rejection the Left could send.
 
Every day I still wonder: what does it mean to write and speak about oppression and resistance, yet allow someone we know to be singled out and picked off without even a chance to be heard? My beliefs have been shaken to the core, although my blog doesn’t reveal that, because I cannot grasp the idea that I am not considered worthy of the rights we’d all defend for the worst wife and child absuser: the right to present my defense, to be heard, and to be represented by counsel. I risked a charge of felony contempt, 4-6 months in jail, a fine of $1,000 a day, the combined wrath of a power I had no chance of facing alone, the loss of my reputation, the regard of my peers, my way of life, a voiceless community I had been honored to serve, my political honor, my income, my home and my family. One minute I had the only protection the working class may rely on-numbers and publicity. That’s what the Left DOES. I looked up and realized that I was facing that vast corporate power alone.”
Solidarity

(Photo credit: BlueRobot)

I was privileged to meet O’Brien through a series of conversations on our respective blogs. Her story needs to be shared and reshared because it’s our story. The implications of her legal case do not exist in a vacuum but are part of a much larger pattern of organized censorship and controlled discourse engineered by the corporate media and political interests they serve, with the ever present currents of systemic racism bubbling just underneath the surface. I must confess that while I have known superficially of the circumstances of Claire’s case, I failed to absorb the full impact of the suffering she has experienced and the toll it has taken. In America, where the global hunger games masked as austerity are taking effect, it is essential that we stand together rather than allow ourselves to continue to be divided. Europe is seeing a rise in fascist ideologies in Greece and other countries hard hit by austerity as people seek someone, anyone, to blame. As the corporate media act as gatekeepers of knowledge on behalf of their capos in lower Manhattan and the Beltway, the American public is kept on a short leash and information is doled out on a strictly “need to know” basis. The controlling of the discourse is by definition the managing of dissent. As Paulo Freire cautioned, “If the structure does not permit dialogue the structure must be changed.” As long as the ruling class is the one telling the stories, their straw narratives will continue to be spun into gold. If we turn our backs on the Claire O’Brien’s among us, who will be there to speak up when they come for us? Will the way that it has always gone continue to be the way it always goes?
______________________________

Update: If there’s a journalist whose editor won’t kill the story, I have a ton of evidence and info. You should know that Jeremy Peters at the N.Y. Times said he was ready to write it, but they killed it, and that Charlie Savage knew of the problems I was having with GateHouse Media three months before anyone else did, and has remained silent.  Calvin Trillin wrote a piece in the New Yorker, and admitted to me right before his May 10, 2010 story that he’d been informed of my innocence before arriving in Dodge City. All I’m saying is, be prepared to get your story killed. I don’t know how to express how much any support will mean to me. Frankly, I have been devastated. Any blogger could make a huge difference by urging every connection they have to re-blog and tweet and re-tweet, demanding that the U. of Maryland Board of Trustees investigate these allegations. State law actually requires it. Also, the RCFP steering committee – the organization lists the many members, but refuses to provide me with email info for each of them. Reporter Tony Mauro, former president of the RCFP Steering Committee has participated in this cover-up, as has the Society for Professional Journalists – most prominently and ironically David Cullier, national Freedom of Information Act Officer. I have proof that he removed evidence of his actions from his SPJ blog. I am sorry I don’t have the contacts right at my fingertips. I have not been expecting any help for at least two years, and am having myriad tech problems with my laptop. However, it will take me just a couple of days to assemble the crucial links. In the meantime, my blog is packed with posts about this case, and if I can just stay on line long enough to assemble those links without getting kicked off, I will post them ASAP. Perhaps Jeff will have time to select at least a few.

I thank anyone who is willing to apply some pressure to these people – and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Yours in struggle,

Claire O’Brien
claireobrien23@gmail.com

________________________________

Postscript: I encourage readers to contact Claire directly to offer support and to consider writing to Amy Goodman at Democracy Now. Perhaps, we can help her story gain a wider audience and see that justice is truly served for a change. Here is the contact info for Democracy Now: http://www.democracynow.org/contact
____________________________

Further links to Claire O’Brien’s legal case:

Kansas reported who exposed racism in Dodge City has new battle to fight

A racially charged crime in Dodge City, Kansas

An open letter to attorney Chris Grenz, Kansas City, from journalist Claire M. O’Brien

All of us or none of us: No one walks alone

Gutless GateHouse puts bottom line ahead of public service

Claire O’Brien at Latina Lista

Governor signs shield law

Daily Globe wins six awards in state contest

This entry was posted in Social Justice and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to That’s how it goes

  1. What a story. We should all stand up for Claire O’Brien. Jeff, please post some information on what we can do to help.

    I should note here that, although my case is in no way comparable to Claire’s nor anywhere near as dramatic, I myself was black-listed as a journalist, many years ago. To make a long story brief, I worked in an East Coast region where a particularly ruthless corporation was gobbling up newspapers, stripping them of assets, firing people and then either shutting them down when they had bled all they could out of them, or selling them to a competitor whom they knew was buying the paper to shut it down.

    I spoke out, and found myself barred from working for area newspapers, many of which this company at the time still owned.

    Again, I am not comparing myself as I did not do anything as brave as Claire has done. It is disgraceful (although not altogether surprising) that the bodies that are supposed to stand up for her instead turned their backs. In the mid-1990s, at the end of my journalism career, I was lobbying the Society of Professional Journalists to take up the cause of the political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. (I was a member at the time.) They refused to do anything, and I sent them a blistering resignation letter.

    The spirit of neoliberalism — everyone for themselves — is more pervasive then we like to think.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact information. She would love to hear from those interested in offering further support.

      I’m sorry to hear about what you went through, I had no idea. Your story is equally compelling and illustrative of the extent that we are all becoming workers on the globalized plantation. I’ll bet you were a hell of a reporter. The technology and production sectors of the American economy were shipped overseas long ago and now they’re coming for the public workers. Educators have found themselves in similar circumstances with their national organizations-NEA, AFT-towing the corporate lines of the education “reformers”, i.e., Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, Eli Broad Foundation. Meanwhile, a whole new generation of children are growing up thinking that learning is equivalent to passing a standardized test.

      My respect and esteem for you grows the more I get to know you. Anyone who speaks up for political prisoners, i.e., Abu-Jamal, Shakur, Peltier, etc. is ok in my book. Take care.

      Like

      • Oh so true that they are coming for public workers. We saw it with Walker’s assault on state workers in Wisconsin and Rahm Emanuel’s attack on teachers and public schools in Chicago. None of us are safe.

        And, Jeff, please keep standing up. You’ve got a very popular blog for good reason — there are millions out there who understand what is going on and need to know they are not alone.

        Like

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        My home state of FL isn’t much better. We have Gov. Rick Scott who formerly was CEO of Columbia/HCA which had the dubious distinction of committing the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history totaling $1.7 billion. Scott once pleaded the Fifth an impressive 75 times in a civil suit involving Columbia/HCA. When Scott left the company, he was given $10 million in severance and $300 million in stocks. Nice work if you can get it.

        We’re all in this together despite how the neolibs would like us to behave. When we’re at each other’s throats then we’re not at theirs. Thanks for all of your support and solidarity.

        Like

    • Your situation is indeed comparable to mine, and I’m honored to be in your company.
      It is Mr. Abu-Jamal who humbles us both.
      Thank-you so much for your contributions – then and now.
      Boy, the corporation to which you refer sounds a lot like GateHouse Media, formerly Liberty (LOL) Publishing – the bullies of the small to mid-size press world. (Yet, a lot of decent papers, such as the Brockton (MA) Patriot-Ledger manage to keep struggling along under the GateHouse yoke. Counting shoppers, it owns close to 400 publications now. That market has proven to be very lucrative – those readers are the last holdout re online media. They will want a physical newspaper (and will USE those shoppers) for at least another generation. Very significantly, they are also the millions who don’t read any other newspaper and who are the most in need of accurate information.
      You know, I was so focused on the plantation, I mean on the intense world of Dodge City (plus we had to lay the paper out and prepare the negatives for the press) that I confess I became somewhat oblivious to political developments in the larger world. Thus, I was unprepared for the whole concept of neo-liberalism and the role non-profits play as “gatekeepers”. I really was just a beat reporter who loved my job. I’m basically disoriented without a newsroom – even the newsroom of a crummy paper.
      And all I want to do is go home, regardless of how dysfunctional the “family”
      Sorry to get off topic.
      Thanks again, very much, for your comments.
      Just a note to other commenters: I am kicked off line pretty much constantly. I’m doing my best to fix the problem. Please know that I will respond to all who seemed to direct comments to myself as well as Jeff. Thank-you, all.
      As for you, Jeff: I don’t have the words to thank you. Just: finally, someone heard me. So, be proud – because I am proud of you..
      In solidarity,
      Claire

      Like

      • The newspaper company in question is MediaNews Group, and I worked for two different newspapers that were gobbled up by them. They bought five newspapers in Northern New Jersey in the 1980s, and by the time they were done, only one was left (since sold). Dean Singleton made towering piles of money by doing in this in a string of communities; most of the rest of us — employees and readers — didn’t do nearly as well.

        Like

  2. This an extremely disheartening story to say the least. We all know that the judicial system in this country has been corporatized. But, to think that people with the moral and professional obligation to defend freedom of speech and the right of every person to be allowed to have their voice heard could turn their backs on a person of integrity is sickenly depressing. Everyone with a conscience should be deeply moved by Claire’s story and the potential implications for all of us. This is a death knell for the first amendment and a warning to anyone who cherishes freedom in all forms – thought, expression and human rights. Excellent and important post, Jeff. Thank you.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Journalists are on the front lines right now and those who choose integrity over climbing the corporate ladder become cannon fodder in the corporate newsrooms. Mix in racist politics and you have a combustible situation. I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact information. She would love to hear from those interested in offering further support.

      Like

  3. Despite the great injustice suffered by O’Brien, her strength of character is inspiring. The type of integrity and courage she demonstrated in the face of adversity is what the world needs more of, though all too often such individuals are punished while the cowardly and obedient are rewarded by corrupt systems. Thank you for bringing attention to this story so we can all learn from Claire O’Brien’s experience.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Alas, stories like hers are becoming the rule rather than the exception. I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact info if you’re interested in finding out more. Any support would be greatly appreciated, Luther.

      Like

  4. Reblogged this on Fahrenheit 451 Used Books and commented:
    Books for Activists, Militants, Students, Protesters, Wisdom Seekers, Progressive readers and Revolutionary Minds – at fah451bks.com / blogs at fah451bks.wordpress.com

    Like

  5. ileneonwords says:

    First you got me with Leonard Cohen…then I read the article. Very powerful, I never heard of this before. Thank you, Jeff.

    Like

  6. Great post Jeff. I guess Chris Hedges nailed it when he spoke of the complicity of the Left in the collapse of democracy. Is anyone starting a fund to help Claire with her legal costs?

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Per Claire…no legal defense fund has been initiated. It’s a great idea, though. I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact information. She would love to hear from those interested in offering further support. I still think your series on the Slocan Valley fuel spill in British Columbia are Pulitzer worthy…take care.

      Like

  7. Thanks for the Leonard Cohen quote. This seems to be a common experience – the Left turning on them – of American activists. I experienced it while working for the single payer movement in the 1990s. These little left wing think tanks and foundations would spring up here there and everywhere and infiltrate our groups and deliberately sabotage our work. It wasn’t until much later when I read Webster Tarpley’s unauthorized biography of Obama that I got any inkling of what was going on. Tarpley describes at length the right wing foundations that funded the “organizing” Obama did in Chicago – specifically its role in undermining genuine grassroots activity.

    There’s even a name for these foundations – “left gatekeepers.” When I started looking into it, I was really shocked how long it has been going on. Robert F Kennedy was the first to investigate CIA funding of non-profit foundations: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Cointelpro-Role-of-Lef-by-Dr-Stuart-Jeanne-B-110422-198.html

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I have tried to avoid the labels of Left or Right in the discourses I have initiated at this blog but if I had to put a name to it, I prefer progressive. Left and Right imply division or equal and opposing forces with little room for common ground. The term progressive implies forward movement which is the antithesis of stagnation. This is the damage Obama has done, he has brought the civil rights movement to a grinding halt while embodying the cynical co-opting of one of the most powerful movements in American history rather than its rightful culmination.

      The ruling class plays the long game and they play to win. The CIA has been conducting psyops on and against the American people for decades, despite the military being prohibited from conducting such exercises against domestic audiences (war is theater). COINTELPRO used a large dragnet but was aimed squarely at the black liberation movement, namely the Black Panthers who represented a real and viable threat to the status quo that they (the American elite) had worked so diligently to establish. NGO’s and think tanks/foundations (right or left) have long been a way to consolidate power and launder funds and resources through. The Powell memo was the lead-in for the standardization of the curriculums and assessments that we’re seeing in public education. A return to the activism and critical thinking of the 1960′s is to be avoided at all costs.

      One must assume every major genuine movement towards hope and change has been co-opted to some extent. That doesn’t mean that progress can’t be made, just that every rose has a few thorns. Occupy is a good example of this despite being infiltrated by agent provocateurs and others with dual agendas, it still made a lasting impression on the American conscience. Evidence of the threat that the movement posed is found in the brutal crackdowns in Oakland and Zuccotti Park. Tear gas was used on American citizens, yet a percentage of the population was perfectly fine with this. This is the level of disconnect we’re dealing with although when people are busy working and trying to make ends meet for themselves and their families on the capitalist hamster wheel, it’s understandable to an extent that some people want to just check out.

      Your insightful comments add much to the discussions, Stuart. I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact information. She would love to hear from those interested in offering further support.

      Like

  8. all the people who are making so much trouble for Claire- something very fishy about it – why are they all so 2 faced? why do they betray not only Claire, but what they are sworn to protect? fee speech, a reporter’s right not to reveal sources? and why do some act ok and then turn on her? not hard to imagine the disgusting judge calling up the Dodge newspaper, but what about all the other papers? Who is it keeping the blacklist?
    i think somewhere there must be a pro bono lawyer who can investigate this.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I would encourage you to contact Claire directly to find out more about her case and the issues involved. Any support would be greatly appreciated, Paul.

      Like

    • Mr. Siemmering,

      I am desperate for legal help, and hope this means I will hear from you. You have my email address. I am destitute, isolated and stuck in a remote desert region, and unable to get anyone to take any action on my behalf.
      Real defamation WORKS – or it doesn’t meet the standards of defamation.
      It isn’t people gossiping about you, and it isn’t getting your feelings hurt.
      It’s getting your life destroyed.

      So far, this has attracted the vigilance of a lot of corporate thugs and their non-profit tool who have me on an RSS feed. It will backfire on me if it begins and ends with comments.

      To all who expressed themselves so powerfully: I really, really need help.

      Thank-you.

      Claire O’Brien

      Like

  9. Reblogged this on rigzenchomo and commented:
    I know most of you who follow me are poets but this is a story I feel should be shared and maybe you will too.

    Like

  10. I reblogged, trust that helps some.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thank you, Rigzen Chomo. Every show of solidarity is helpful. I updated the post with a statement from Claire and her contact information. She would love to hear from those interested in offering further support.

      Like

  11. Thank-you very, very much. Anyone willing to help, please email claireobrien23@gmail.com

    Like

  12. We need to read this, and know that they will come for anybody. They are no longer that picky. They will practice on the zombies, and perfect the attacks on those who refuse to walk around dead to their selves. Use them as examples to keep the zombies toeing the line. It is war. Peace.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      We must refuse to become the walking dead or dead (wo)men walking. Making examples of any ants who step out a line is straight up “A Bug’s Life”…

      Hopper: “You let one ant stand up to us, then they all might stand up! Those puny little ants outnumber us a hundred to one and if they ever figure that out there goes our way of life! It’s not about food, it’s about keeping those ants in line.”

      Check out the updated statement from Claire. Peace to you.

      Like

  13. Shainbird says:

    This is disheartening, corruption is prevalent everywhere, endangering life, but when it is cultivated in the minds of those who must be purveyors of truth, it can be depressing and worse, pushes to extinction those like Claire O’Brien and Sam Bonilla, and everything they stand for, and truth itself can no longer be recognizable. Thank you Jeff for bringing this to our attention. Claire’s story needs the exposure of Democracy Now! I know with the good hearts and minds of people like you and Claire, such stories will not remain untold or unknown.

    Like

  14. Shainbird says:

    Jeff, thank you for the Jeffster! To be a recipient of an award from an individual who drinks of the fountain of truth and takes nourishment from the bread of justice is an honor. It means a lot to me, thank you sincerely.

    Like

  15. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Per Calvin Trillin at The New Yorker on May 10, 2010, ” Last Labor Day afternoon, Tanner Brunson—accompanied by his friend Steven Holt, Holt’s daughter, his stepson, and a former boyfriend of his stepdaughter’s—drove his truck down a riverbed in Dodge City, Kansas. Holt and Brunson had consumed a lot of beer and in the riverbed they came upon Sam Bonilla, a Cox Communications cable guy, walking with his older son and his nephew. As Brunson’s truck approached, Bonilla gave him the finger. Holt and Brunson got out of the truck and as they approached Bonilla he fired on them with a .22-calibre gun. At the hospital, doctors stabilized Brunson, but Steven Holt died. Both Holt and Brunson were “good ole country boys.” Bonilla was Hispanic. After some hesitation, Bonilla turned himself in to the police on the evening of the shooting. He told them that he repeatedly shouted “Get back!” to Brunson and Holt before shooting, a claim confirmed by Holt’s daughter and stepson.”

    Per Marissa Trevino at Latina Lista, Dodge City is “a place where some of the ‘white’ locals like to play a game they call ‘Border Patrol’ where they use their trucks to intimidate Latino pedestrians.” Further, “O’Brien’s diligence to Bonilla’s case, and her commitment to her journalistic ethics in not revealing a source during the course of reporting on Bonilla’s case, garnered her first place in the news category of the Spring 2010 Kansas Press Association awards (Not to mention, she won three additional awards) and was instrumental in finally getting the Kansas legislature to pass a Shield Law which was signed by Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson in April.”

    From rturner229 at Daily Kos, “Take the case of Claire O’Brien, who until earlier this month was a reporter for the Dodge City Daily Globe. Ms. O’Brien refused to give up her source and that eventually led to her firing by the Globe’s owners, the good folks at GateHouse Media, who, of course, refuse to give a reason for the firing, saying only that it falls under that all-purpose escape valve- “it’s a personnel matter.” Only a few weeks after her firing, Claire O’Brien received four awards from the Kansas Press Association, including first place in the best news story category for the story that ended up getting her fired.”

    Like

  16. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Mrs. Holt,

    I have removed your comments attacking Claire O’Brien. You have had ample opportunity to defame her already and I do not intend to provide you with additional space, defamation of character is not a “free press”.

    Respectfully,
    Jeff Nguyen

    Like

  17. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Additional established facts per Claire O’Brien:

    Sam Bonilla claimed that Holt aimed the fourwheeler right at him and the two children and speeded up. He jumped out of the way at the last minute. Then he gave them the finger. He could easily have been killed had he not leaped aside and that was his main point. That was why he pulled out that tiny 22, which he had brought to scare off the wild dogs that run through the riverbed. Bonilla was tired of jumping out of the way.

    He was an uppity Latino, with his own martial arts studio. He had started off in the slaughterhouse and worked his way above his station.

    Steve Holt had a huge tattoo of a noose around his neck, he was well over six feet tall and outweighed Bonilla by 100 pounds. Bonilla, a slight man, could not use his martial arts abilities because he had a badly injured shoulder. A .22 pistol is so small that Holt’s stepdaughter testified that at first she thought it was a flashlight or some kind of toy.

    Finally, tests revealed that Bonilla did not fire until they were THREE inches away – in other words, they were upon him!

    Like

  18. lumar1298 says:

    Wow… What a story… Courageous lady… I’ll be sharing the story… We all need to wake-up…

    Like

  19. larryjben says:

    Jeff, I will be linking this to my blog tomorrow. Good stuff.

    Like

  20. David Thomas says:

    Reblogged this on mindfullyintolove and commented:
    Unbelievable

    Like

  21. David Thomas says:

    Reblogged this on The Water is Boiling and commented:
    Unbelievable

    Like

  22. Pingback: First Amendment stuff today. | randomthoughts

  23. UPDATE FROM CLAIRE O’BRIEN: My position is worse than it was before this post. It attracted enough attention to tighten the noose in specific ways, but no support to protect me from increased retaliation.

    Like

  24. Pingback: The big chill | Deconstructing Myths

  25. krikli01 says:

    Now I should be the one to thank you, Mr. Nguyen, for introducing me to Miss O’Brien and her story. Thanks a bunch, seriously. It’s so saddening that there can be betrayal at such levels… What kind of society is this one? I seriously pray this saddening situation in the world changes in the coming future now that the Internet is helping us pass the information everywhere. It must… It can’t stay this way forever!
    Thanks a bunch! Such a nice post!

    Like

  26. krikli01 says:

    Reblogged this on The Two Thousands and commented:
    Let’s pass this story everywhere so we can add pressure and help Miss O’Brien! Pretty please!

    Like

  27. uldissprogis says:

    Although nothing is guaranteed in this world, I may also become a victim of censorship eventually because I am trying to fight against all the myths in this world by publishing as much truth as I can. I know the government knows of my writing because their job is to follow potential trouble makers for the movers and shakers of this world. I empathize with Claire and only hope that she finds her way back into reporting for pay someday. Good luck, because reality can be very cruel sometimes. Best wishes. Uldis

    Like

  28. Kansas.
    I have spent time in Kansas. Kansas is a very difficult place.
    It is little better in Missouri.
    Thank you for this.
    As i type I see Claire’s request to D-6 for a reblog. I am most happy to oblige.

    Like

  29. Reblogged this on 47whitebuffalo's Blog and commented:
    Oh the things you discover when you return the favors of visits. This is serious business in “That’s how it goes.” Journalists are under attack everywhere. Speaking truth is a dangerous business. Thanks to Jeff Nguyen for introducing me to Claire O’Brien’s struggle.

    Like

  30. Pingback: In gratitude | Deconstructing Myths

  31. mytiturk says:

    I’ve posted a link to Eléctrica In The Desert on my blog, Jeff. Your site will be next. Thanks for this.

    Like

  32. skulzstudios says:

    Injustice piles on injustice. High crimes with that prerequisite side of misdemeanors becomes bullshit du jour. Fully 98% off the oppressed people all around our Planet “endorse” that oppression. Of course they do and all you have to do is ask them. Be strong Ms. O’Brien and hang in there. This boiling pot is almost ready to whistle.
    solidarity,
    donzo of the skulzstudios

    Like

  33. Pingback: Mic check: Claire O’Brien | Deconstructing Myths

  34. Reblogged this on Amarillo Alternative News and commented:
    Kansas Reporter Who Exposed Racism in Dodge City Has New Battle to Fight

    http://latinalista.com/2010/05/kansas_reporter_who_exposed_racism_in_do

    Like

  35. Pingback: Petition: Claire O’Brien | Deconstructing Myths

  36. takethegate says:

    Reblogged this on TakeTheGate and commented:
    Very Interesting….I may make a video about this at some point.

    Like

Please feel free to share your thoughts and join the discussion (Email, name and website are optional).

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s