I thought this was even more interesting.

Below I posted a piece about the Great Falls Tribune's allegedly signing a Confidentiality Agreement with a local government entity whereby the Tribune would not be able to divulge certain "confidential" information. A paid employee of a public, governmental organization told me (or so I thought) that the Tribune had entered the Agreement.

After posting that, I received a comment from someone a little closer to the issue than I am. This individual raised a question about the accuracy of the post. So, to clarify, I will post a greater excerpt of the email I received from the paid employee of this public organization. I am trying to maintain some privacy about the entities involved, at least for the time being, until I found out more. Thus, the parenthetical language: "The tribune [sic] will be included if they would like, just as they were with [another quasi-governmental agency] and have been on all of our [litigation discussions] (unlike the [another political subdivision]). They entered into the confidentiality agreement and witnessed the reporting on sensitive issues."

Thus, this individual clearly stated to me that the Tribune had entered the Confidentiality Agreement. I suppose there could be a question whether the writer meant to say the Tribune entered the Agreement with the government entity represented by the writer, whether the Tribune entered the Agreement with the other "quasi-governmental agency", or whether the Tribune entered the Agreement with both entities. I interpreted the foregoing language to mean that the Tribune entered the Agreement with the government entity represented by the writer; whether that interpretation is correct or not, I think it is absolutely clear that the writer represented that the Tribune did, in fact, enter into a Confidentiality Agreement whereby the Tribune agreed to withhold stories.

So imagine my surprise when I received this comment to my earlier post. The meat of Mr. Moseman's response is here: "Similarly, no member of the Great Falls Tribune newsroom would be allowed to sign the confidentiality agreement you describe. If a newsroom employee has not honored that, I would be interested to know."

Between Mr. Moseman and the other individual who originally made the allegations, I believe Mr. Moseman.

And if the Tribune did not, in fact, sign the Confidentiality Agreement, is it appropriate for a government employee to represent to a member of the public that they did? The Tribune's alleged signing of the Confidentiality Agreement was used in an attempt to convince me that signing such Agreements is routine and should not be questioned. Was the same 'argument' used to convince board members to sign this Agreement? I think I'll keep digging.


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I interpret it to mean that the Tribune entered into the agreement with the quasi governmental entity. And if I was offered an opportunity to guess what entity that was, I would guess GFDA. That would just be my little hypothesis...

GeeGuy said...

Maybe Mr. Moseman will come back and tell us.