Fed up with a prestigious non-profit’s long campaign to discredit the reporter it was mandated to defend, a well-known legal scholar and member of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press’ steering committee decided late last week to sue himself.
“It wasn’t an accident at all. I’ve insisted for decades that the law is just a bunch of ideas constructed to buttress the status quo, so why NOT the idea of suing myself?” said Unger Delgado Kennedy-Horwitz by phone on Sunday. ” Hell, by now I am the status quo, and so is the RCFP! That’s why I’ll take this case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. If I lose, I pledge to appeal. If I win, I’m as equally bound to appeal, and I won’t rest until I’ve suceeded in imposing the kinds of sanctions on myself that I won’t ever forget.”
Kennedy-Horowitz paused. I got the distinct impression that he was scratching his head; in fact it emerged that he’d pulled out a few small tufts of hair.
“I’m pulling out my hair out over here” he told me. “Hey can you call me back in a hour? There’s another unemployed reporter at my door, asking for a handout – I think they leave a secret mark to let other reporters and embittered law school graduates know they can get a sandwhich here.”
Kennedy-Horowitz took the East Coast non-profit world by surprise when he broke all ties with the venerable First Amendment group last week. Yesterday, he confirmed that his resignation protested the RCFP’s ongoing refusal to retract defamatory statements its director had fabricated about a Kansas reporter several years ago. The Dodge City Globe’s Claire O’Brien had attracted general wrath when she sought to shine a national spotlight on a murder trial corrupted by racist violence and refused to reveal the identity of a confidential source.
Since I am, of course, that reporter, I received news of Kennedy-Horowitz’s actions with great interest. Two or three emails of support make me get up and dance for joy; thus I saw his lawsuit as I might a small line of tanks appearing on the horizon.
When I reached him again, Kennedy-Horowitz was in a thoughtful mood, and had little to say. “I’m eating a rice cake and I don’t even like them,” he confided, “Also, I’ve resigned my membership in the ACLU.”
He sighed heavily, apparently contemplating the complexity of his legal fate, then evidently decided to keep things simple:
“Hell, all I can be sure of at this point is one thing,” Kennedy-Horowitz said in a sanctimonous tone that, given the past several years, did not strike me as hyperbolic. “I’m suing the shit out of myself.”
Before departing to file both a motion against himself, as well as his answer to it, Kennedy-Horowitz emailed me a photo of a very small tin circle backed by a pin. Four letters were boldly displayed on its faded surface:
R. C. F. P.
Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press.
“It’s over forty years old,” he said. “I’m mailing it to you as a reminder for you to keep. Hopefully, we will all soon remember that a free press has never been just a bandwagon packed with lawyers and academics, defined solely by a series of power differentials”
I wished Kennedy-Horowitz well, hoping fervently that he was right. Not only was my curiosity aroused by the existential and logistical problems presented by his very emphatic legal plan, but I really, really don’t understand the way progressive lawyers think. They will lie in a heartbeat in the defense of Truth, and bulldoze your basic rights in the name of Justice .When it comes to egalitarianism, they are secret Federalists who care with breathtaking passion about their own careers. As for the ACLU, it is a bunch of thugs that will throw you under the nearest passing bus without skipping a beat. If you must meet with it, don’t do so in a dark alley.
But I’ve never been represented by counsel, as William Hurst of Albany, NY., Mark Johnson of Topeka, Kansas, Polly Sack of GateHouse Media, Lucy Dalglish,of the RCFP, Susan Hermann of Brooklyn College, and the Kansas-Missouri ACLU all well know. Thus, Kennedy-Horowitz’s actions require me to take yet another leap (well, step) of faith.
If the scope, crude methods, disorienting ruthlessness, and broader significance of the attack on me were made genuinely available to the public, would the next reporter prevented from defending herself have an easier time of it? Yes, I think she would. At the very least, her sojourn in Siberia would stretch on for perhaps one interminable year, rather than three and a half to four – believe me, that difference is a kind of lifetime. I also think that public awareness and opinion will make reporters increasingly unwilling to collude in censorship and attack on a lone reporter, year after year – just because Lucy Dalglish wants them to. I share Kennedy-Horowitz’s hope, if not his faith that we will remember what we all know, and have always known – and that eventually, sooner rather than later, we’ll all say no.
” No. No! Shame on you.”
L U C Y D A L G L I S H: SHE’S WATCHING YOU.
Lucy Dalglish is the Director of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press and the Dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Journalism. She lied to me while acting in her capacity as an attorney and she lied about me, calling me a liar, in a statement to the Associated Press in February of 2010. She made it her business to destroy my career in her attempts to cover her unethical and illegal actions, thus conspiring to criminally defame me.
I was truthful. Dalglish was not.
Dalglish censors news, people, and organizations, particularly the Society of Professional Journalists. She lies to the public, bullies the press, corrupts students, and decides who’s allowed to be a reporter and who isn’t.