Another great piece by the redoubtable Harvey Silverglate on the Boston College story in Forbes Magazine, assisted by Zachary Bloom and Julian DeVries. In this piece Harvey takes the US media to task for not recognizing the dangers posed to journalism by the Obama/Holder action to confiscate the Belfast archive from Boston College on foot of subpoenas fashioned by the PSNI. Any diminution in First Amendment rights on the part of academics as a result of this case will, he argues, inevitably extend to the media, but instead newspapers like the Boston Globe have supported the First Circuit appeal court’s support for the subpoenas. That editorial by the Globe will, in my view, go down in media history as a particularly dark moment. Shame on the Globe!
He also notes that myself and Anthony McIntyre were denied the opportunity, thanks to Boston College’s disgraceful decision to hand the contested interviews over to court officers for scrutiny, to make the argument that the PSNI investigation which began this saga, was not conducted in good faith. Had we been able to to we would have been able to show two things: first, that if the interviews were handed over lives would have been put in danger, specifically that of the interviewer, Anthony McIntyre and second, that the PSNI had no reason to come to Boston to advance their investigation as relevant material was available on their own doorstep and the police had an opportunity, in August 2011, to take Dolours Price into custody for questioning about their investigation but failed to take advantage of either opportunity – whether due to incompetence or because of an unwillingness to offend friends in the Belfast media remains to be decided.
Anyway, here is Harvey’s piece. Enjoy: