By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
I cannot believe a newspaper would suspend its own journalists for attending a concert! You people are idiots. Support reporters Chuck Laszewski and Rick Linsk.
Regarding the suspension by the St. Paul Pioneer Press of two reporters for attending a Vote for Change concert which their editors thought was in violation of their journalistic neutrality: If that were the case, the Pioneer Press would also ask their staff not to attend services at a Catholic church, as the Catholic hierarchy has announced its members could not vote for Sen. John Kerry and still receive Holy Communion. Certainly showing up, let alone putting money in a collection box, at a religious institution that favors one candidate over another is also a compromise of neutrality then.
What about journalists who patronize businesses whose advertisements support Sinclair Broadcasting, which intends to air an anti-Kerry film on scores of TV stations across the country? What if they and their editors own stock in Sinclair?
Most people expect reporters to be neutral in their reporting; we expect editors to check the facts. We hope that the paper's news is truthful.
We understand that everything we do is political in one way or another but we do not believe that people's lives should be censored. At least not while the U. S. remains a democracy, which won't be for long if actions such as these suspensions continue.
I heard on thenews tonight that you are suspending two reporters for attending a fundraising concert for the Democratic Party. If this is not reversed I will be canceling my paper both Sunday and daily.
The fact that you disciplined two employees for attending a Vote for Change concert speaks badly of your respect for not only the rights of your employees, but for the very fabric of our democracy.
I understand that the two reporters were not assigned to political reporting, which, in effect, makes their politics largely irrelevant. One might ask if the same policies apply to your executives and editorial employees. Is everyone barred from attending any political functions? And how about making donations to the candidates of one's choice?
My guess is that executives and editorial writers are allowed to practice their political beliefs without restriction, and that if the reporters had attended a Republican fundraiser they would not have been disciplined.
Why did the PioneerPress inform their staff not to attend a rock concert? Why did the Pioneer Press suspend staff members for attending a rock concert?
Did the Pioneer Press tell their staff not to attend any NASCAR events? Did the Pioneer Press suspend any of its staff if they did attend NASCAR events? All 2004 NASCAR events have been nothing but Bush rallies. The Daytona 500 showed Bush for 30 minutes. The Republican Party has sponsored cars to run in NASCAR events. NASCAR has had the Republican Party register voters at all of their events.
The Pioneer Press should immediately return the staff members back to work. The Pioneer Press should apologize to the employees and then apologize to its readers.
I am appalled at the Pioneer Press's decision to suspend two reporters for attending the Bruce Springsteen benefit concert for MoveOn.org.
If a journalist is taking money from a political organization, that is an unethical conflict of interest. If a journalist wants to give money to a political candidate, because through their research they have independently decided they support that candidate's goals and views, that is civic responsibility. It is still the journalist's job to present both sides of every issue, and to look into statements made even by groups or people they support. But to say a journalist cannot have opinions is not only ridiculous, but dishonest on an Orwellian scale.
What next--will you say people who report the news can't vote?