CBS fought very hard on this because it believed and believes that there's a principle at stake here. The principle is that Dan Rather doesn't work for the police, and that people that speak to Dan Rather understand that he's a journalist and not a police agent.
I mean the idea of this is that it's a good thing for the public to hear interviews like this and that there will be an inevitable amount of fewer interviews if people that the press talks to wind up thinking, well, it's not really a CBS correspondent.
I think that it is important for people to understand that whether a good-guy or a bad-guy wins a case is less important than what the law is that the case results in.
If the word gets out, if the perception exists that by speaking to a CBS journalist you are, therefore, inevitably, immediately speaking to the police, I don't think there's any doubt but that people won't talk. And, therefore, the public won't learn.
It just seems to be a human trait to want to protect the speech of people with whom we agree. For the First Amendment, that is not good enough. So it is really important that we protect First Amendment rights of people no matter what side of the line they are on.
No other country in the world gives protection like that, but it is not absolute protection. People sometimes meet that high burden and win libel suits, and in those cases I think they ought to win.
I would say that the Pentagon Papers case of 1971 - in which the government tried to block the The New York Times and The Washington Post that they obtained from a secret study of how we got involved in the war in Vietnam - that is probably the most important case.
The government would be able to go to court with respect to newspaper articles, broadcast pieces and the like that they thought were bad or harmful or even against the government and try to block them.
The question at the end of the day was, the courts having found there was no defense, a producer about to go to jail, should CBS in effect tell the producer go to jail even though there is no law at all that we can use to get you out of jail?
It is not to benefit CBS, not to benefit its reporters. On this one, the entire basis of it is this is a way to get more information, more important information to the public. And that's why so many states recognize this.
It is within the last quarter century or thirty years. And a lot of that law has turned out to be very, very protective of the press and the public's right to know.
I really did try to write it so that an educated public that cares about issues like this doesn't have to be a lawyer and can read it and understand it.
It has something to do with the facts and the law and who the judges are. So I think lawyers sometimes exaggerate their role in winning and losing. Lawyers do have a role, and a major role, but they're not the only players in this game.
Were this not Texas, were there not a state where there were no protections at all and where the law was clear on that, I think CBS and Mary Mapes and Dan Rather and all of us had a very good chance of winning. So this is an ongoing battle about an issue of principle.
I still owe a duty of loyalty to my clients and former clients, so I cannot specify which clients I did not especially find congenial, but the cause was the same.