Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, May 15, 2003 9:45 pm

Fairness doctrine?

Montgomery County, Md., Police Chief Charles Moose, who led the investigation into the D.C.-area sniper case, has sued to bar the county’s Ethics Commission from keeping him from profiting from the sale of a book and possible movie rights.

On the one hand, I’m not thrilled when government officials (or journalists, for that matter) cash in on the status of their job (and, by extension, their employing organization). On the other hand, this situation is certainly not anything Moose sought out; to paraphrase Churchill, he had publicity thrust upon him.

Moreover, when Stephen Glass, the New Republic writer who was fired in 1998 after fabricating more than two dozen articles for the magazine, can cash in on book and movie deals, it seems absurd to prevent Moose from doing so, so long as his work in this arena does not compromise his ability to do his full-time job (which, these days, is active duty with the D.C. Air National Guard, but whatever).

Could these deals affect the prosecution of the sniper suspects? Maybe, but I doubt it: Even in high-profile murder cases, the investigators at the scene generally are the ones who are called to testify, not the police chief.


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