Monday, March 3, 2008

Alan Bernstein's Odd Behavior

First of all, let me start this by saying that Anon C, one of my favorite regular posters on this Blog is not me. We are two separate entities, even though we seem to see eye-to-eye on most issues.

In fact, we've never even met in person, and my understanding is that her profession is outside of the legal field. However, she does appear to be very interested in the criminal justice system and the way the media treats it.

Anon C's first interaction with Alan Bernstein came awhile back when I was first bothering Bernstein about why he wasn't running the yarmulke story. Anon C posted a request to Bernstein on his own blog over the Chronicle website, asking him personally why he wasn't running the story.

For those of you who aren't aware, when a person sets up their Chronicle poster ID, they have to set up an account with their personal information on it. When Anon C posted a message on Bernstein's blog, she received an e-mail on her home computer from him.

Not only was Bernstein refusing to post her message to him on his blog, he referred to her by her true first name, and let her know that he "knew who she was". He went on to further elaborate that he knew where she worked, and listed that in his e-mail to her, as well. He wondered in his e-mail if Anon C's employers knew that she was writing him.

(NOTE: Through Mark Bennett acting as a go-between for me and Anon C, I saw her original message to Bernstein, and there was nothing off-color about it. It simply asked him to run the article.)

Although there wasn't anything legally wrong with what Bernstein wrote to Anon C, it absolutely freaked her out. Clearly his intentions were to have a chilling effect on her criticizing him.

Bad news, Alan. That didn't work.

Anon C kept on writing.

Fast forward to Saturday, when I wrote my Chronicle bashing article (which, by the way, that felt good to get off my chest). I was pretty tough on old Alan.

Does he respond here?

Nope. He e-mails Anon C on her home e-mail address. He writes several ramblings and obscure things that are now listed in the "Comments" section of the above listed article.

For the life of me, I can't explain it, unless he thinks Anon C is me. Or maybe there's something I'm missing.

Either way, it doesn't make sense to me.

9 comments:

The Phantom Bureaucrat said...

"Not only was Bernstein refusing to post her message to him on his blog, he referred to her by her true first name, and let her know that he "knew who she was". He went on to further elaborate that he knew where she worked, and listed that in his e-mail to her, as well. He wondered in his e-mail if Anon C's employers knew that she was writing him."

I look at it this way; the media has long been in a position to earn the public trust, our Founding Fathers ensuring protections because of it. When "government goes wrong", the media are the ones that are supposed to inform us and this sacred trust included protecting anonymous sources.

Hollywood has made heroes of the press repeatedly in the last 75 years, the examples too numerous to mention, and some people get into journalism based in part on this perception (I have family in the industry, including Washington D.C., that have had plenty of occasions to clue me in as well as ask why Houstonians put up with such a poor newspaper). Because of these perceptions and favorable treatment by the Constitution, we collectively expect some degree of fairness from members of the press yet all too often, especially in the last 30 years or so, we are let down as things are dumbed down for the lowest common denominator and played up to give the biggest ratings.

The failure of newspapers like the Chronicle to play fair in this election is only a microcosm of their treatment of other topics; predicted by the same Founding Fathers that warned us of many other potential problems. Sadly, people like AB appear to deeply believe in their cause as just; allowing them to mentally apply the "ends justifies the means" attitude they impose on the public.

Ron in Houston said...

I do wonder why Anon c registers so highly on AB's radar.

There's got to be more to the story.

anonymous c said...

Well said, TPB!

That really is all there was to it, Ron. No exciting back-story at all, I’m afraid.

AHCL described the events very accurately.

In his latest e-mail, Bernstein does imply that he originally thought that I was AHCL or that AHCL was using my e-mail address and that we were married or a couple. That is most definitely not the case and I set him straight.

That, I think, is why he targeted me initially.

Still, none of it explains away the fact that he was trying to intimidate someone, regardless of who he thought that person was.

It’s pretty gutless and (to steal AHCL’s recent term) chickenshit, if you ask me.

The whole thing is really very seedy.

Ron in Houston said...

Oh Anon C

You strike me as someone who cannot easily be intimidated.

The partner idea does make sense since he already knew who you were.

The whole "does your employer know about this" is, agreed, highly chickenshit.

Shame on AB.

jigmeister said...

Guys,

I think your beating a dead horse. Alan isn't going to change his spots, whatever color they are.

In fact it may antagonize him enough to really backfire on you. He has a much larger audience than you do.

The Phantom Bureaucrat said...

Jigmeister, it's not about getting him to change so much as pointing out that he's full of it. If anything, his "much larger audience" should make him cognizant that he has a responsibility that he has largely ignored. As far as our words backfiring, it's not like he's going to change given his past behavior so why should we care unless you're referring to his propensity to make veiled threats under the color of his station?

If that isn't reason enough to fire him or limit his access to such records at the Chronicle, it strikes me that the first person impacted by such behavior would have the grounds for legal action the Chronicle might not appreciate...

jigmeister said...

When a person has been trying to hang a jury for days and days, declare the jury hung before he turns the rest of the jury to his side. When that happens you lose regardless of how ridiculous his positions are.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

You know, I didn't set out this blog with the intent of hurting anybody's feeling. Quite frankly, when I started the blog I'd never actually heard of Alan Bernstein.

If his feelings are hurt, I'm sorry, but he's in a job position that (by definition) is there to throw stones. He should be able to deal with having stones thrown at him in one of two ways: 1) catch them and throw them right back; or 2) get used to feeling the way that those he's hit with rocks feel.

anonymous c said...

Extremely well said again, AHCL.

And just to clarify, y'all...AB did NOT think that I was AHCL. So, sorry about that. He just thought that I was somewhere in the "circle of trust".

Go, Kelly, go! :-)