Are Journalists Above the Law?

Did you read about this in your daily newspaper? It happened just a year ago. Imagine if Bill O’Reilly had illegally taped an African-American politician and they later killed themselves in the FOX News lobby?

A year ago, according to a witnesses, Mr. Art Teele, an African-American Miami Councilman walked into the Miami Herald lobby, spoke calmly with a security guard and shook his hand. Then Teele took a pistol out of a book bag and held it to his head.

The Herald’s Web site says that Teele told the security guard to give a message to Herald columnist Jim DeFede. Teele said that he wanted DeFede to tell his wife that he loved her. The statement was unclear as to exactly whose wife Teele was referring to, but it seems likely he was referring to his own wife, Stefanie Teele.

Then when police arrived, he pulled the trigger.

There was a lot of blood.

About two hours later, at 7:50 p.m., Teele was declared dead. His wife was at his side when he died.

Many of Teele’s colleagues and friends expressed sadness over his death. Others were angry.

“We can’t ever have anybody to go into office and retire with dignity. They got to drag them down like they’re pit bulls, like some kind of road kill,” said Teele’s friend, Paulette Simms Wimberly.

Columnist Fired

DeFede was fired just hours after Teele’s death because he “allegedly” recorded a phone conversation with Teele without the politician’s permission.

In the longest call, about 90 minutes before the shooting, Teele spoke very emotionally about his legal problems and various allegations that had been made against him, according to the newspaper.

Many of the journalist’s co-workers were upset that DeFee was fired over the incident.

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21 thoughts on “Are Journalists Above the Law?

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