Saturday, October 18, 2008
Blumenthal continues to battle Army legal opinion
Friday, CT Attorney General Richard Blumenthal issued a press release indicating that his office will continue to fight the JAG (Judge Advocate General) decision that the Army's legal opinion concerning interpretation of the BRAC law is protected as "attorney-client" privilege.
The BRAC law was passed to consolidate Army bases across the country. In Connecticut, the law states that an Army Reserve Training Center will be built in Middletown "if a suitable site can be obtained."
Of course, that has been the subject of months of disputes between the Army Corps of Engineers, residents of Middletown and state and city officials.
Currently, the city has offered Cucia Park, just this week publishing an RFP for development of the site, following procedures to offer the park to the Army, if the Army chooses it as its preferred location.
The Army Corps of Engineers yestereday completed their study of preferred sites and submitted them to Army brass for approval.
It must be some accident, some misunderstanding, some fluke, but this development was mentioned in the first featured news piece about Middletown in the "new" Hartford Courant in nearly two weeks.
Unfortunately, in these days of reduced resources, and fewer resources, Middletown has seen a diminished presence in the "new" Courant. And with this piece we get an undoubtably overworked reporter simply filing the Attorney General's press release as a story. Note the similar language of the official press release, and the story "written" by the reporter.
From the press release:
Blumenthal has appealed this rejection to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, rejecting the JAG's claim that the letter is protected as intra-agency legal advice or attorney-client privilege. Blumenthal urged immediate release of the opinion...
From the Courant article:
Blumenthal appealed this rejection to Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, rejecting the JAG's claim that the letter is protected as intra-agency legal advice or attorney-client privilege. Blumenthal urged immediate release of the opinion.
Sad. But there's nothing wrong with printing official correspondence as long as it's labeled as such. The problem with printing government press releases as news is that the original releases have a point-of-view, a public relations objective and a goal of influence which is not the "objective" stance a newspaper is supposed to take.