WASHINGTON—Accuracy in Media (AIM) said today that Tim Russert should be on trial in the court of public opinion for his prejudicial pretrial coverage of the Lewis Libby case.
“While Libby is expected to plead innocent Thursday before District Judge Reggie Walton, AIM finds Russert guilty of undermining Libby’s constitutional right to a fair trial,” said AIM editor Cliff Kincaid.
Kincaid charged that Russert has used his NBC and CNBC programs to deliberately influence coverage of the Lewis Libby indictment, even though Russert was a witness before the grand jury that produced the indictment and figures to be a prosecution witness in the case.
Kincaid commented, “Journalism 101 and common sense tell you that a reporter who is part of a story should not cover or comment on that story. But there’s Russert ? throwing his weight around to the detriment of Libby’s constitutional rights. Libby’s lawyers should demand that the indictment be thrown out of court because of prejudicial pretrial publicity.”
Accuracy In Media (AIM) is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.
Clarification: Russert’s sworn testimony before Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was provided to the grand jury and was used to produce the Libby indictment. So he was, in effect, a witness before the grand jury. However, reports indicate that Russert did not personally appear before the grand jury.