National Press Club

NPC Panel - Double Exposure

October 10, 2013

About This Video

Run time: 117 minutes

An October 10, 2013 National Press Club panel discusses how a mid-size city newspaper was able to unearth the extraordinary story of how an iconic photographer of the civil rights movement led a double life as an FBI informant.

The panel brought to light how the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis used a precedent-setting Freedom of Information Act lawsuit--and years of reporting--to piece together the facts about Ernest Withers. Withers was a photographer to whom Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders had given close access. But, it turned out, he was at the same time secretly shooting pictures of King and other civil rights leaders for the FBI and providing agents with personal information on these figures and on their plans.

The discussion shed light not only on the government's past surveillance practices but also on FOIA and the public's right to know what its government is up to.

Panelists include:

  • Marc Perrusquia, reporter, the Commercial Appeal
  • David Garrow, Pulitzer prize-winning historian and author on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Mizell Stewart III, VP/Content-Newspapers, The E.W. Scripps Company
  • David M. Giles, Vice President/Deputy General Counsel, The E.W. Scripps Company
  • Charles D. Tobin, Attorney, Holland & Knight LLP (moderator)