Petition: Claire O’Brien

When I first heard about Claire’s story, I thought that it was an issue of concealing a witness to protect him or her from being heard in court. I thought that a reporter was claiming to have disputable information, and stated that it came from a credible, though anonymous, source. I thought that a reporter was expecting to testify on behalf of an anonymous person. I thought that the reporter was justly fired from her job, but since her employer refused to reveal the reason, she imposed a wild story about it.

I discovered that this was like the game of “telephone” in which a simple message is orally passed along a line of people, as accurately as possible, and the last version is found to be quite different from the original one.

I discovered that award-winning investigative reporter Claire O’Brien gave a voice to Latinos who often had no other voice, by publishing their stories in a newspaper. She obtained information about a murder from people who trusted her. A subpoena demanded her notes. The judge threatened to hold her in contempt of court if she did not reveal a certain source who revealed embarrassing and incriminating information about the popular person who was killed. She refused to reveal her notes and source. She won an award for the murder news story…after she was fired by the newspaper that had employed her while she wrote it. Quickly, organizations that claimed to support free speech and professional journalism joined a campaign to discredit Ms. O’Brien.

She is now destitute, dependent on public aid. Lawyers and reporters who are aware of the facts have been unable to share her story because of likely repercussions. Public pressure is her hope for justice, since she trusts that Tom Mauro, a key player in this dispute, will set the record straight, when pressed.

Please:
1. read her story
2. participate in her petition to Tony Mauro
3. share her story with others

Thank you for sharing Claire’s hopes and dreads.

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13 thoughts on “Petition: Claire O’Brien

    1. When I published this, it broadcasted to twitter, facebook, tumblr, google+, LinkedIn, gmail, and rebelmouse. It has already been retweeted.

      Thank YOU Claire. We must get you back to investigative reporting! We need to read more of your stories.

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  1. It’s a shame we are in a time that journalism has become political and politics are touted as journalism. Those that are actually writing what they see get suppressed and THAT we say is freedom of speech. Good article.

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          1. Where would we send it? However, I am not a reporter or peer but don’t mind putting some thoughts down if you want to forward it on.

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            1. I am so glad that you are interested! Claire is depending on public pressure from us non-reporters and non-peers, to persuade Tom Mauro to stand up for her. Here is what I sent to him (you can simply copy and paste it into an email):

              Tony Mauro (TMauro@alm.com)

              Dear Tony Mauro:

              I urge you to break your silence regarding the attack on reporter Claire O’Brien, following her role in the Dodge city murder trial against Sam Bonilla. As former president of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press’ Steering Committee, and current U.S. Supreme court reporter for the American Law Review, you must uphold the standards of your profession and democracy, and the ethical requirements of your own job of reporting truth to the public.

              I understand that you were present at an April 21, 2010 conference call in which Lucy Dalglish (former director of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press) admitted having lied to Claire O’Brien, saying that Claire’s report of GateHouse Media’s threats were unfounded – after GateHouse itself had confirmed them to Dalglish. You knew that Dalglish defamed Claire to the Associated Press with damaging fabrications two days later, thereby destroying her credibility and reputation, while backing the lies of a ruthless corporation. Further, you refused to admit that Claire had any right to issue a press release restoring her professional name. What you eventually agreed to issue — four months after Dalglish’s lies went out on the AP’s national wire and three months after O’Brien had been fired and blacklisted with no notice or severance pay — was a piece of PR that made no mention of the fact that Dalglish had lied to O’Brien, lied about her, lied to the public, or censored an important news story.

              Since then, Dalglish has used her influence to defame Claire O’Brien on a national level. Every opportunity to publicize the truth, every potential supporter, every First Amendment nonprofit’s legal staff, and every job offer has been corrupted by a narrative constructed by Dalglish and disseminated by the networks of influence available to her.

              Claire is trusting you to set the record straight and revive her career.

              Thank you for setting the record straight,
              [full name, address]


              She asks that we send it to the following people to help persuade him, and perhaps these others, to speak out on her behalf. I simply CC’d:
              susan.herman@brooklaw.edu
              Breaux, Kia kbreaux@ap.org
              Laura Anderson Wright landerso@umd.edu
              Peter Weiler pweiler@umd.edu
              Charlie Savage charlie.savage@gmail.com
              Charles Ogletree ogletree@law.harvard.edu
              David Cuillier cuillier@email.arizona.edu
              Billy Dennis peoriapundit@gmail.com
              Johnson, Mark P. mjohnson@sonnenschein.com
              Jeremy Peters petersjw@nytimes.com
              petersjw@gmail.com
              Chris Grenz christophergrenz@gmail.com
              charlene.aguilar@lakesideschool.org
              Renee DeVigne rdevigne@law.gwu.edu
              Judith Lennett lennett@northnode.org
              Diego Bernal dbernal@maldef.org
              rhegeman@ap.org
              tomari.quinn@cjonline.com
              claireobrien23@gmail.com

              Thank you for caring

              Like

              1. OH! That’s tremendous! Thank you for doing so much to support investigative journalism. I know of several more letters that have gone out to Tony Mauro now.

                If you want to do more, will you consider finding more people who might also want to send the letter?

                Thank you for caring.

                Like

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