Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pelosi backs Chron reporters, silent on Wolf

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi jumped on the bandwagon Friday of politicians who are urging Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to drop the prosecution of two Chronicle reporters who face a year-and-a-half in prison for refusing to name their sources for stories about steroid use in professional sports. Pelosi's three paragraph letter to Gonzales is silent, however, about another local journalist, Josh Wolf, who has been imprisoned 153 days (as of Saturday) for refusing to provide federal prosecutors with outakes of video he shot of a political protest in San Francisco.

A Google search Saturday night showed 66 articles were available online discussing Pelosi's decision to help the Chronicle reporters. None of the 66 articles mentioned Wolf (above), who, as a freelancer, sold his video to San Francisco TV stations and wrote about issues on his blog.

Some journalism professors have questioned whether Wolf should be called a journalist, arguing that he isn't employed by an established news organization.

Another freelancer who might wind up in jail soon is Sarah Olson (left) of Oakland, who has reported for public radio and liberal blogs such as Truthout.org. She has been subpoenaed to testify at the court-martial of Army Lt. Ehren Watada, who has refused to deploy to Iraq. The military wants her to verify that his quotes in her story are true, but she doesn't want to testify because she believes she would be used as a tool of the prosecution. Failure to cooperate could result in a jail term for her, as well. No word from Pelosi about the Olson case either. (Olson photo by Michael Maloney of the Chronicle, Wolf photo by Paul Sakuma of AP.)

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