Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Blankley on the Spot

Tony Blankley has a very fine op-ed on the role of Thornburgh's law firm:

So the lawyers hired to independently investigate CBS have a lawyer/client relationship with CBS. Presumably, as a senior member of that firm, Independent Review Panel Member Richard Thornburgh also has CBS as a fiduciary client. Thus, unlike similarly named government independent investigations--this one is paid for by, and carried out on behalf of, the target of the investigation.

It's more complicated than that, but Blankley has all the nuances.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What's fascinating to me is all the explanations being offered about the "findings" of Thornburgh and Boccardi without knowing the rules under which they agreed to operate; namely, the "Engagement Agreement" (however titled) between that Panel and Viacom/CBS.

Inferring from the final report makes for interesting speculation, but it's no substitute for knowing the terms of what must be one of the most carefully negotiated hiring agreements in the annals of broadcast journalism.

The dicotemy between facts and opinions (which in other contexts lawyers and judges would call "findings of fact" and "conclusions of law")is what I take to be the core of Mr. Blankley's piece. It is his focus on the qualitative difference between the reported facts (all but known or knowable) and the subjective findings of the Panel (the real bombshells, if any there were to be)that is the key contribution Mr. Blankley makes.

While he goes into great detail to point out some of the roles played by lawyers from Mr. Thornburgh's firm, he neglects to report on the roles which lawyers most certainly must have played in establishing the rules of the game before the inquiry was ever allowed to commence.

Thus, he misses another set of lawyers who earned their keep: the ones working for Viacom who negotiated the contract with the Panel And who understood well in advance the distinction Mr. Blankley would make after the fact. (If they too, turn out to be from Mr. Thornburgh's firm, well that's a whole new story in its own right).