That’s the thought I had when I read Kady's blog-entry about the part of the Stephen Harper libel statement of claim in which Harper alleges the digital recording of his interview with reporter Tom Zytaruk had been edited, presumably to make Harper look bad.
Says the filing:
21. The digital copy of Mr. Zytaruk’s interview of Mr. Harper is incomplete with the result that Mr. Harper’s answers as reflected on the digital recording are not provided in their entire context. The digital recording of the interview does not contain the beginning of the interview. Several of Mr. Zytaruk’s questions are inaudible. There is inconsistent background noise in the digital recording of the interview. At one point, an edit occurs in the digital recording and some unknown audio content of unknown length is missing from the digital recording. The digital recording of the interview ends while Mr. Zytaruk is talking but has not completed his sentence.
As Kady writes:
The unstated, but obvious, implication is that this was done deliberately. But who, exactly, is being accused of doctoring the tape? The author and/or publisher? The Liberals? Someone else entirely?
It seems somehow unfair to allow an allegation like this to stand, unchallenged, despite the damage it could do to the reputation of the parties named - not so much the Liberal Party, which will at least have the opportunity to defend itself in court - at least, if the case goes forward - but Zytaruk and his publisher, who haven't (yet) been named in any action, despite repeated appearances in the statement of claim, which includes the text of an email sent by the publisher to a journalist who was working on the story.
Conservative operatives and talking heads have regularly been raising questions about the veracity of the recording. And it could lead to trouble. They should be careful to avoid implying Zytaruk might have maliciously edited or doctored the tape. I don’t see, if such a thing was done, whom else they’d contend would have done it. It was Zytaruk’s recording, it was his publisher that released the excerpts, and he wasn’t come forward to claim any evil doings with the recording were perpetrated by a third party. So whom else would the Conservatives contend is the mystery editor? Gurmant Grewal?
All a journalist has is their reputation and their integrity. If it was being implied that I, as a journalist, was doctoring or editing recordings out of context, that would seriously damage my reputation as a journalist and my ability to do my job, and I would have to look seriously at a libel action to defend myself.
Unless the Conservatives have some evidence here, they may be entering shaky ground. Wouldn’t it be ironic if they got hit with a libel suit relating to their own libel suit? Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers