Bob gives an update on last week's story about allegations by the Cleveland Plain Dealer that one of the anonymous commenters on their website was a local judge who had improperly posted about cases in her courtroom.
Artist: by Kurt Vile
BOB GARFIELD: And now an update. Last week we reported on an ethical controversy brewing at The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The dust-up began when an anonymous online commenter posted on the paper’s website about the mental state of a reporter’s relative. An editor investigated who was behind the comment and learned that the user name was registered to an email address belonging to a local judge. That judge had also posted many strongly-worded comments on cases she had presided over, as well as cases she’s currently overseeing, including a high profile murder prosecution. The Plain Dealer printed that judge’s identity. We spoke to the editor, Susan Goldberg, about the incident and asked her whether the paper had committed an ethical lapse by stripping a specific commenter of her anonymity. Well, the judge in question, Shirley Strickland Saffold, seems to think so. This week, she sued The Plain Dealer for 50 million dollars, alleging that the paper engaged in a conspiracy to publish her confidential information.