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Charles Manson
A little Sony comedy, a fleeting Manson story -- both huge now, because of principle
A little Sony comedy, a fleeting Manson story -- both huge now, because of principle

It wasn’t the Pentagon papers, by a long shot. It was a smallish story about a big case -- the Manson murders. Bill Farr was a reporter at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner covering the Charles Manson murder case in 1970 when officers of the court, in violation of a gag order, slipped him information from a prospective witness about Manson’s supposed plan to flay Frank Sinatra alive, gouge out Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes and cut off Richard Burton’s penis. As news, the story was a short, gory sensation, but there’s another reason it resonates even now. Farr, following journalistic principle, steadfastly refused to give up his confidential sources to a judge, spent...

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