This question expands on a question I asked the other day (Can a reporter or journalist record your phone conversation without your notification?).
Imagine the following scenario: A reporter working for a newspaper in Washington State calls a candidate for public office while he’s sleeping, waking him up.
Half-conscious, the candidate answers the phone but doesn’t at first understand who he’s talking to or what the conversation is about. When he becomes fully conscious, he hangs up.
Later, the reporter publishes an article allegedly divulging information extracted from the conversation, which he describes as an “interview.” However, the candidate has no memory of saying what the reporter claims he said. Nor would he say such a thing under ordinary circumstances, because it isn’t true. In fact, he normally wouldn’t even talk to a media “rat” to begin with.
The candidate would like answers to the following questions:
- Was the conversation recorded?
- If so, how was the candidate notified?
- Did the candidate give the reporter permission to divulge the conversation in a published article?
In addition, the candidate would also like a copy of the recording, so he can hear for himself what was said - and whether he exhibited obviously slurred speech that should have suggested that he wasn’t fully conscious.
Is there a way to force the reporter (or the newspaper he works for) to disclose this information, short of shelling out money for an attorney?