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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bulger Redux

Save for a few columnists like David Mittell and Howie Carr still calling for his resignation, UMass President Bulger seems safe in his position, as a recent Political Intelligence article by the Boston Globe reports. Bulger appears to have momentarily escaped the fates that befell Cardinal Bernard Law, Henry Kissenger, and Senator Trent Lott.

But the drama isn’t over yet: Various news organizations reported on Monday that Bulger has been subpoenaed to testify as a defense witness in the trial of a retired state police officer, who allegedly tipped him off that his phones were tapped by the FBI. The trial is scheduled for next month.

The retired policeman’s attorney, Thomas K. Duggan, plans to ask Bulger whether he has committed any crimes and helped his brother, Whitey, to help in his client’s defense.

Bulger will no doubt take the Fifth Amendment, as he did before when a committee investigating the FBI and Whitey Bulger convened in Boston last December.

In a time where the Justice Department appears to be forgetting all of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, save for the second one, preservation of these inalienable rights is important and should be highlighted.

There are, however, consequences whenever these rights are used. There are consequences when the First Amendment is used, as the press knows, and there are consequences when the Fifth is invoked, as President Bulger learned when he walked out of the court of law and into the court of public opinion on December 6.

More so than the state policeman on trial, President Bulger is morally guilty of obstructing justice. As he told a grand jury in April 2001, he does not feel obligated to do anything to help police catch his brother, and in doing so, he is aiding him.

This is neither a witchhunt, as Bulger’s defenders have called it, nor the beating of a dead horse. This is a pursuit for justice, and above all else, a search for the truth. And that stands, even if unmentioned and unsaid, next to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

With this in mind, we renew the call for his resignation, and ask newly elected Governor Mitt Romney to take this chance, as David Mittell has put it, to “cleanse the body politic.”