On March 2, 2015, the San Diego Reader barely reported former California State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher filed for divorce.
Instead, the report detailed Fletcher was a former protege of Randy Duke Cunningham, (once voted America’s most crooked politician; since released from prison.)
The reporting covered that Mindy, Fletcher’s soon-to-be-former wife, was a long-term employee of Karl Rove. The report mentioned when the couple became engaged George Bush himself offered his blessings. The article largely ignored the divorce to focus on Fletcher’s party jumps from staunch Right Wing Republican to Middle Republican, to Independent to Democrat and now Qualcomm executive. But there was scant information regarding the actual divorce.
Which is the problem
I rated the story a D+ for not revealing the basics: Such as who was representing the parties or the judge. (See SanDiegoJudges.com) Ironically, both the story and the comments equally revealed the deep gap between the reality of family court and general public awareness.
Considering Family Court is the largest, busiest, most used – most often court in the country, it’s frightening to learn 24 people “liked” a comment representing a complete ignorance of the law.
This stems from a lack of civic education, and quite possibly, general media disdain. Years ago, on the rare occasion family court was featured in the news, it was always featured with the phrase, “disgruntled litigant.” However, the remaining problem is reporters generally only speak with attorneys, who aren’t terribly interested in revealing the dark side of family court and damage relations with their peers, and of course, judges.
Still, media not assigning a “beat” reporter to cover the workings of family court – in which nothing is what it seems; (Check the “Bailiffs” section) remains one of the great mysteries of life. As they say in the South,
“It’s a true fact any reporter worth their salt knows family court always about money.”
Possibly the best Court of Appeal decision coming out of California in twenty years evidenced that one, true fact: It’s all about money.
It turns out “In the best interest of the children” is just a catch phrase. However, on the plus side, smart reporters know Family Court is where many a juicy business story, can be unraveled.
It wasn’t until Jane Welch divorced GE’s Jack Welch that the public learned of his fantastic, golden retirement parachute. (Herself an attorney, Jane was smart enough to insert a termination date into their Pre-Nuptial Agreement.) That story was in the news for months. Changes were made in retirements because of that story. Of course the rich and famous try to docket secret hearings to broker confidential deals. The courts are sometimes accommodating. Still, it’s hard to imagine a news bureau not assigning a beat reporter to work the family court.
Will media ever choose to include the most used court in their daily or weekly coverage? Probably not. However, while attorneys are mostly my clients, sometimes individual litigants hire me due to my successful track record in bringing media attention to unfair and unjust situations in a way that ended their problem.
So far, just one death threat! 🙂