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

Statements from Purcell, Wedge

Boston Herald publisher Pat Purcell on the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision to uphold a $2.1 million libel award against his paper:

We are disappointed with the Supreme Judicial Court’s relentlessly one-sided view of Dave Wedge’s reporting on a public controversy within the judicial system, and are unwavering in our complete confidence in Wedge’s journalistic skills.

In one of his threatening letters to me, Judge [Ernest] Murphy correctly predicted the Herald had “zero chance” that his colleagues on the bench would side with the Herald rather than one of their own. Wedge accurately reported what his longstanding sources told him and no shred of evidence exists, as Justice [John] Greaney alleged in his opinion, that Wedge altered the quotation provided by his trusted sources.

While we are deeply troubled by the SJC’s decision, it will in no way affect our newsgathering operation and we will continue to bring readers thorough and relevant enterprise stories and public criticism of judges.

Dave Wedge’s statement:

I vehemently disagree with the SJC’s decision. As I have since the beginning of this case, I continue to firmly stand behind my reporting on these stories. Any insinuation by anyone, including the SJC, that anything in any of the stories on Judge Murphy was fabricated is completely reckless, irresponsible and untrue and is not borne out by the facts of the case.

Quick comment: Purcell goes too far. Wedge had one source, not “sources,” and that source, former prosecutor David Crowley, testified at the trial that he believed Murphy had said “She’s got to get over it,” not “Tell her to get over it.” Greaney made much of that difference in his opinion.

However, as I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t think Wedge fabricated anything, Greaney’s opinion notwithstanding.

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1 Comment

  1. Amusedbutinformedobserver

    The issue should be whether the Herald’s rush to sensationalize goes too far in setting aside journalistic integrity to sell papers.That’s what this verdict is all about. The paper wanted to jump all over the judge. Context, it seems, something to relegate to a “boring broadsheet.”This verdict was inevitable, the lesson,alas, remains unlearned.

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