I have to say. I'm not sure what to think about the Berlinger case. He loses his appeal, complies with the court's order to hand over some of the out takes, and says he's happy to comply. I know it's easy for me to say he should have gone to the mat (or in this case, jail) on principal (doesn't matter which one, just fight dammit), but I haven't read a good accounting of what happened. If anyone has read anything longer than what was on the PBS "Need to Know" page I'd like to read it.

However, I am getting weary of sending money to these filmmakers for their legal battles and then the battle never happens, like the case of the filmmakers who made "Bananas" and were attacked by the Dole Corp. With Robert Redford and a huge chunk of the filmmaking community behind him, I think Berlinger could have taken it to the Supreme Court if he had wanted to. But then again, I'm not sure.

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Very much connected to the issues you raised in the "Scary News fr NC" blog, no? It reminds me of the Judith Miller case, where good guys & bad guys all seemed so clear -- and then it turned out she had been crossing journalism lines herself. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/16/national/16leak.html
I think the biggest threat to journalism isn't the government, it's the chilling effect that imagined lawsuits by corporations have on filmmakers. Berlinger's "Crude" is some courageous filmmaking, but I was a little troubled by his public statements that seemed to endorse Chevron's right to his tapes. He could have just said, "I hate to do this, but the court is making me."

Don't get me started about Judith Miller. Isn't she doing something with Fox News now?
Here's an interview that goes into a bit more detail. I think he was really just being realistic about the challenges of any appeal. The bar is set very high.

I blogged on it and have some more links here: http://mlpbsproductions.org/blog/joe-berlingers-case-yields-prelimi...:


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