-- So what would you do if some anonymous blog commenter called you an eye-rapist?
A fellow, who I won't name for obvious reasons, was recently deemed just that on this very blog. The fellow then wrote me an email with the subject line "Besmirched" asking that I exercise my delete key. "I'm all for the free-for-all of blog commenting, except when it involves personal, untrue and harmful attacks," he wrote. "I believe this commenter crosses that line. There's no way to defend myself against such unwarranted nastiness other than to ask that you remove his or her comment."
So what should I do? Should I erase the harmful content or let freedom ring and keep my blog gloriously uncensored?
Think about it for a second ... and ... then ... I'll ... tell ... you ... that ... I ...
deleted the fucking comment. It was anonymous and harmful and, darn it, there's not a man among us that hasn't been an eye-rapist at one time or another (women too, I've seen you, oh yeah). Let's try this: If you've got to bitterly attack someone on a personal level, save it for another place. But if you must do it here, at least have the balls to your real name on it.
-- So this is what it's come to: A laid-off star reporter writing on a little-read specialty health website about how layoffs of reporters are hurting the coverage of the industry? Tim Collie, formerly of the Sun-Sentinel, does the reporting on something called Florida Health News -- and talks to a few still-employed health care reporters (Phil Galewitz and John Dorschner among them) in South Florida about the biz.
-- A reminder that the Society of Professional Journalists is holding a panel discussion on life after newspapers tonight titled "Paper Cuts: Surviving and Preparing for the Layoff/Buyout." For more info on the date and the time, click here.
-- These Sun-Sentinel reporters are so often like the "No Evil" monkeys. They cover their eyes, ears, and mouth -- and the truth disappears in the process.
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Remember when I reported here last week that the North Broward Hospital District fired Chief Auditor David Richstone? Well, the Sentinel's Anthony Man is now reporting that Richstone is now filing suit against the North Broward Hospital District. Richstone is claiming that he was fired in retaliation for auditing former CEO Alan Levine and coming up with 30 problematic reimbursements to his account. Hey, Man broke news with the lawsuit, good on him. But the context -- my God, these folks don't give two shits about context. Or truth. Just spew out the contents of the lawsuit and the knee-jerk response from the District and close your eyes back shut. I don't know what that is, but it's not journalism. By way of context, here's the story that precipitated this mess. It not only details some of the irregularities that the auditing department uncovered about Levine's expenses (including a secret $35,000 payment for "relocating" his family) but NBHD board member Robert Bernstein says in it outright that he was planning on ousting Richstone for going after his buddy Levine.
In the past two days I've taken digs at Man and Scott Wyman -- and they are two of the best damn reporters at the newspaper. I know they work with crippling time constraints and have to make do with what they have, but we all need to remember that superficial reporting can be worse than no reporting at all.
That's one thing Collie was really good at -- context. And it's vanishing as fast as health care reporters these days.
(Ah, who am I kidding? The Sentinel has never been a bastion of in-depth meaningful reporting, has it?)