By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Judging the Herald

The Globe reports that Superior Court Judge Ernest Murphy has asked that the financially ailing Herald’s assets be frozen in order to protect the $2.1 million libel judgment he won against the paper earlier this year.

The Herald does not cover the story — at least not in its online edition — and avoids taking any cheap shots against Murphy in this article about the judge’s decision yesterday to boost former UMass president William Bulger’s pension. Interestingly, the story is co-bylined by Dave Wedge, the principal target of Murphy’s libel suit. (The Globe covers the Bulger story here.)

The Herald’s reporting on Murphy was not exactly a model of good journalism. In fact, it was the opposite, pockmarked as it was with inaccuracies and dubiously sourced accusations. But free-press advocates ought to be concerned that a sitting judge can have some influence over the Herald’s future — and possibly its very survival — because of reporting that amounted to criticism of how he performed his public duties. That, more than anything, is what the First Amendment was designed to protect.

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Getting there

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Pretty ironic. Murphy has expended a greater effort to enforce payment of a judgement for himself than he has done for other, “unconnected” litigants at any time in his career. And they wonder why we are cynical. I hope the Herald takes this bum to the Supreme Court.

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