Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
Photo Gallery

Part:         Session:         Page of 512

-- of people who were up on criminal charges. I thought there was a fair argument that in many cases newspapers, not necessarily the Times, damaged the rights of the accused to a fair trial by reporting stuff that would interfere, in one way or another, with the defendant's right to a fair trial. In any case, the issue of to what degree you could report suspicion of guilt, or whatever, came up, and I basically took, in this case, the position that the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees everybody the right to a fair trial, was every bit as important as the First Amendment in cases where it applied, that newspapers weren't always justified in printing suspicion or evidence of criminal activity that wasn't absolutely sure -- that was still in the realm of suspicion.

In any case, that created a real clash between Rosenthal and me. I only mention this because the First Amendment, while obviously, I think it's very vital, I don't think anything is absolute. I don't think the First Amendment is necessarily something that should be allowed to overrule the right to a fair trial of suspected people. But, anyway. We'd better stop for lunch.


© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help