Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Bernie Ward Defense Fund and a Column
Here is the link to a page administered by Ward's former producer on the God Talk show, Lynne Sloan and parts of a column being syndicated later in the week, including a phone conversation with Ward.
First off: KGO operations manager, Jack Swanson, acknowledged that the station isn't talking about Ward, who is suspended.
"I understand if you view that as hypocritical,” he said Monday.
Ward was home this week, in shock, feeling like he was in “lock down” and that he had little support.
He said in a phone interview that he wished he had a chance to give his side of the story on his radio show.
“All I would ask is why?” he said. “I’m not accused of being a predator. I wasn’t producing or manufacturing it. I didn’t pay for it, and obviously with the three-year wait, I’m not a danger to anyone.”
When he told prosecutors that he was writing a book, he says, they acknowledged that and that he was doing research. But it didn’t affect their decision to prosecute, the way it would, say, a murder suspect, who could get first or second degree homicide charges based on his intent.
There have been other cases of journalists running into problems with the law for investigating child porn, including former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald who downloaded images and wrote an expose on a child porn ring, and testified against them, but wasn’t prosecuted himself.
Some have suggested that if Ward were writing a book, he should have worked first with the U.S. Attorney’s office, but as a journalist doing research, it wasn’t something that he considered.
“I’ve tried to live my life by not hurting anyone,” said Ward, who turned down a plea bargain proposal for him to take five years in jail. “I keep hoping for common sense to win out.”
Ward has been replaced by the station on his shows the past week, but he is still employed. He has a huge audience that has rushed to his support, some fearing a plot by conservatives to silence him, others waiting to see what happens in a trial.
I’m a Ward fan, although we have had our run-ins. He’s been one of the only voices on the commercial airwaves for left-wing politics.
He was a consistent critic of the war in Iraq and was one of the earliest to report such things as Blackwater’s involvement in the war.
I have trouble believing that the government would target him, but I had trouble believing that it would file a case against the Duke lacrosse players if they weren’t really guilty.