February 03, 2010

You be the judge

I caught an interesting post over at Media Blog last week where apparently our local Philly Inquirer engaged in a bit of anti-Obama censorship. Since I check out the Inquirer quite often, I fired off an e-mail to the alleged censor, Dick Polman. I simply asked him if the account in Media Blog was accurate. His reply was simply "no."

Wanting more information, I did a Google search for the e-mail of he who was allegedly censored, Professor Chris Harper of Temple University. Prof. Harper promptly responded to my e-mail, and directed me to his own blog account of the incident. After making a comment unfavorable to the president on the Inquirer's State of the Union blog, he was unable to post additional comments:

After that, I could not post on the site. I was cut off from making any other comments on the blog. I really couldnít believe it. The father of a Temple undergraduate saw the exchange and wrote to Polman and me. Here was Polmanís response:

If he [Chris Harper] wants to say on Facebook that this was some kind of conspiracy, and if you want to believe that, well, itís a free country. I was just trying to field as many folks as possible, nothing more.

OK, perhaps. But Harper isn't exactly just an "average joe" throwing out an opinion. As he noted in an e-mail to me:

I spent more than 20 years in the news business at the Associated Press, Newsweek and ABC News in Chicago, New York, Rome, Cairo and Beirut. Also, my research in academe over the past 15 years has been most about the Internet and the Web. Five edited and written books, including a recent paper on how the Web has taken over the role of media criticism. I gave the paper at MIT in April. Seems appropriate about this scuffle. ;0). I am co-director at www.philadelphianeighborhoods.com, which is the capstone course for all journalism majors at Temple.

And gee, Temple is located in Philadelphia -- home of the Inquirer.

As I said in the post's title, you be the judge.

Posted by Hube at February 3, 2010 01:21 PM | TrackBack

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