No First Amendment for you! RCFP’s DALGLISH defames a reporter and becomes a J School Dean

What you see below is tampered evidence: a false record fabricated by a powerful public interest attorney for the purpose of concealing her own gross violations of civil law, as well as of the ethical standards formally imposed by her profession.
This wasn’t written on Feb. 10, 2010 – not even close. It was written roughly seven months later, replacing the original post, deleting a long and contentious thread of comments, and completely obscuring the crucial facts.  It omits the central role the RCFP played in the case by never even mentioning it was an RCFP case.  
Tablet and mobile phone showing news online Kansas reporter misses court date to testify, held in contempt
       Cristina Abello | Reporter’s Privilege | Quicklink | February 10, 2010

Kansas reporter Claire O’Brien has been held in contempt of court and fined $1,000 after not appearing in court this morning to testify, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

She had previously been ordered by a Ford County court to testify about a confidential source and a jailhouse interview with a murder suspect in a grand jury proceeding. In that proceeding, she unsuccessfully argued that she was protected by a reporter’s privilege. Currently, there is no shield law in Kansas.

After the high court granted a stay in that matter, she was served with another subpoena to appear at the actual criminal trial. O’Brien’s newspaper, the Dodge City Globe filed an appeal in the state supreme court and lost.

O’Brien is seeking her own representation to continue to fight the case, the Capital-Journal reported.


The last sentence is, in fact, a bald faced lie. On the date in question, Former Executive RCFP Director Lucy Dalglish had just (and finally!) hired Kansas attorney and lecturer at KU’s J School, Mark Johnson to represent the completely out-gunned reporter.
Three months of unaided persistence later, O’Brien was able to force a conference call with Dalglish in which the latter admitted verbally in the (phone) presence of then-RCLP steering committee prez Tony Mauro that she had lied about reporter O’Brien.
Dalglish admitted that GateHouse Media attorneys had told her that the corporation would indeed cease all legal assistance to O’Brien if the latter refused to identify a confidential source to the state.  Dalglish admitted lying to O’Brien, who had first alerted her to this unprecedented corporate PUBLIC decision. Dalglish then lied to the Associated Press and to the Topeka Capitol Times, when she claimed that O’Brien had “had free and unencumbered legal assistance the whole time and has evidently chosen not to avail herself of it.”
At that time (April 21, 2010) Dalglish, cursing and yelling, agreed to release a statement intended to restore O’Brien’s professional good name. What this consisted of was a comment in the RCFP’s archives, posted back in February  (remember, this was now the end of April) way near the bottem of around 20 other comments! It wasn’t even a post of its own.
Fortunately, Dalgish also sought to put out the flames on her good friend, the Society of Professional Journalist’s site, so she posted an identical statement on its FOI blog. Both of these her statements disappeared, but I was able to get a screen shot of the FOI blog copy.
Please stay tuned for more of the truth – before the interests that prop up the powerful destroy and silence a good and honest reporter forever.
Note to the ACLU: consider yourselves on notice.


Lucy Dalglish Says: April 22nd, 2010 at 4:07pm

To Whom it May Concern:

This memo is to clarify misperceptions regarding the circumstances surrounding Claire O’Brien’s refusal to appear before a Kansas inquisition on February 10, 2010.

Ms. O’Brien was subpoenaed to testify in Dodge City, KS, in a murder investigation. She had written a story in the Dodge City Daily Globe regarding an October 13 jailhouse interview that also included statement from an anonymous source.

O’Brien’s then-employer, GateHouse Media, had unsuccessfully fought the subpoena all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.

It was my understanding from talking to a GateHouse representative before the scheduled testimony that the company had told Ms. O’Brien that it would provide an attorney for her at the Feb. 10 proceeding, but that if she refused to testify regarding her anonymous source, its financial support for her legal representation and subsequent potential fines would end.


7 thoughts on “No First Amendment for you! RCFP’s DALGLISH defames a reporter and becomes a J School Dean

    1. Hey, could I borrow the Australian Army? That would be a real Force! Just a few regiments, they’ll hardly be missed. Say, does your old uniform fit? I’ll make you a general! To top it off, I’ll feed all the troops delicious Mexican food – plus, there’ll be dancing!


      1. I have to disappoint you Claire.. I was actually in the British army, like my father, brothers, husband, grandparents….
        Cavalry too…
        The other disappointment I have for you, is that the NZ army ( miniscule) is a separate entity to the Australian. ( different countries) I suspect that there is only one regiment in the NZ army, but having been a pacifist for the last forty or more years, and attended Quaker meeting for the first ten of them I’m not up with the play on armies any more!!!
        I wish I had kept my old uniform, as the greatcoat was a gorgeous dark green job with a scarlet lining, and rather dashing…
        So I think it’ll have to be a private army for you Claire, and don’t let them dance on their hats


      2. Valerie, I’m afraid I gave a frivolous reply to a serious sentiment. I’m sorry. My opinion of my own sense of humor is notoriously inflated, and my instincts re when it’s time for a hilarious joke can be unreliable. I was so taken with the droll narrative tone in which you described your military life that I clearly took liberties with it. And I have read only chapters, not the whole thing.
        Valerie, I can’t imagine the real significance of such a huge family tradition – in the British calvary! And I know…come to think of it, I know absolutely nothing about it. I was just taken by your vivid descriptions of various European officers dashing from the ballroom to the battlefield.
        But of course I know there is no such thing as a dashing war. I apologize for taking such a frivolous luxury. However, I DID think you lived in Australia…ahem, those sharp journalistic instincts, don’t you know…no need to spread that around…
        I HAVE met my share of Quakers, though, as my family used to picket and demonstrate with them regularly when I was a child, although I’m not up to snuff on them now.

        As for an army…the idea of an army can be appealing at times, but it looks like
        you know better than I that in the end, it is always comrades who live for one
        another and work to serve the people, who create sustaining change.

        As for your other comment – yes, I am agog! And will reply soon.

        May the Force be with you


  1. I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through to maintain the integrity of your source as well as your own integrity.

    As Immortal Technique wrote:
    “I would like to raise my children to grow to be soldiers
    But then the general, would decide when their life would be over”

    Peace to you Claire, mi hermana.


  2. Lucy Dalglish: For well over a year, I hoped that your willingness – even eagerness – to damage me so profoundly and permanently was an erratic reflection of a rarely accessed moral bankruptcy, rather than an expression of your authentic personhood. However, the care you have taken to conceal your attack on me, and your determination to ensure that it remains a permanent one have made a very deep impression on me.


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