Censorship and Joe The Blogger

Chicago Now editors are under fire for allegedly succumbing to pressure from Time Out Chicago Editor-In-Chief/General Manager Frank Sennett to remove a series of blog posts on Arresting Tales, a Chicago Now blog written by a veteran cop. The two posts in question outlined a "template" for the aftermath of urban police murders, generalizing witness statements and standardizing legal fallout as it specifically related to the recent police murder of George Lash.

Critics of the Arresting Tales posts accused Joe The Cop, the blog's author, of being insensitive to the plight of young black America, in addition to more serious accusations like racism and ignorance. The posts received numerous reader comments, most in support of the post. Links to the Arresting Tales posts in question were initially published by Chicago Now's twitter feed and Facebook, yet were removed nearly three days later, citing non-compliance with the Chicago Now Blogger Guidelines. Chicago Now issued a statement regarding the deleted posts here.

Some are calling this move "censorship" and have become angry. Others feel the original post was too insensitive to the families of the victims of police brutality. Bigger questions this event raises are the duties of a newspaper to its publics (readers rights to truth, bloggers rights to speech, editor's rights to edit) and the question of free speech in general. Is offending someone worth censorship? Are bloggers journalists?  (Read Sennett's thoughts on the matter here.)

Filed under: Chicago Injustice

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  • They should be under fire. Bloggers are not journalists, and if anyone thinks they are, then we're all in trouble.

    The Chicago Now blogs seem to be an effort on behalf of the Tribune to appear more hip, offer different viewpoints, and allow non-reporters to report on things as they wish, be they current events, restaurants, fashion, or anything else. Censoring someone for posting their viewpoint on a blog is just that censorship and an infringement on that individual's freedom of speech, and very anti-hip.

    People may not like what he wrote, and that's their choice. It's not the job of the paper to decide how to offend or not offend people, and the readers have the right to start a discussion on why they agree or disagree. The Trib should be a news source, not a babysitter.

  • In reply to Chohenzy:

    Any old cop who has a blog is not a journalist, agreed. What's dangerous is the Trib yanking the post as if he were. If a journalist did not have the facts straight it would be pulled, so treating Joe The Blogger like a journalist is at least an interesting move.

    On another note, plenty of journalists have blogs. It's a gray area for sure.

  • Joe was just telling it like it is from his experience! Too bad CN gave in and removed the post - bad precedent

  • In reply to theneek:

    It really is sad the conversation just evaporated like that.

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