03
Jun
14

No Easy Way to Be Fair on Media Credentials

Scotusblog has covered the Supreme Court in depth and with distinction since 2002. It wins journalism awards at a steady clip. Its main reporter, Lyle Denniston, is an old-school journalist of fearsome integrity and independence.

But Scotusblog has never gotten a press credential from the Supreme Court. Its Senate credentials were recently revoked.

Neither institution has explained what is going on, though everybody knows what concerns them: Thomas C. Goldstein, the blog’s publisher, also argues before the Supreme Court.

Whether Mr. Goldstein has a conflict of interest is a good question for a journalism seminar. Notwithstanding thoughtful policies to make the blog’s reporting independent of Mr. Goldstein’s law practice, his dual roles run afoul of some journalistic norms. So does his forthright acknowledgment that in his own work for the blog he would withhold information from readers if he thought publishing it would violate his ethical duties to the court.

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