But I am fascinated by one particular comment on Sad Shermy's blog from none other than unceremoniously dumped former editor Thomas Mitchell, whose lengthy tenure at the helm was honored by the company with about a full sentence deep in a news release. Here's what he wrote about my prior post regarding the debacle in which Righthaven, the law firm partnering with the R-J to sue folks who lifted their material, got spanked in court:
"It's quite unlikely that Thevenot would've been able to cover this quite so properly if Sherm were still in charge. So there's that."
I assure you Friess was never in any position whatsoever to evaluate the integrity, ethics or journalistic values of anyone in management at the newspaper. If Sherm were still in charge, if anything, the story might've gotten more prominent play.
I defend that stance against all comers.
That is a stunning moment of dishonesty and imperiousness if ever there was one. EVERY reader is in a position to evaluate the integrity, ethics and journalistic values of a publication and its editorial choices. This perspective tracks back to that time that Mitchell wrote a column about how much he despised bloggers because they borrow and reference other work. That post borrowed and referenced Orwell, but he didn't catch the irony. Mitchell's had a rough go of the changes in the business, as reflected in that column as well as this comment, because, essentially, he found it maddening that he and his no longer could decide who gets to voice their views. Mitch couldn't dictate or moderate the public discourse anymore thanks to the Internet, and it drove him bananas.
But beyond that, I find it pretty hilarious that Mitchell suggests Sad Shermy would have dictated bigger, broader coverage of this week's action in which a judge smacked around Sad Shermy and his lawyers for possibly deceiving the courts. He can try to "defend that stance to all comers," except there's this little problem:
That's a search of the Review-Journal archive for the term "Righthaven." It may look like a lot, but five of the eight entries are actually blog posts by Sad Shermy. That means that in the course of the past year, as more than 200 Righthaven lawsuits were being filed and this unusual way to combat copyright fraud was being covered intensively by the national/journalism/tech media, the R-J printed a grand total of THREE proper news stories and no letters.
It gets better! The first, as I mentioned, was when they sued Senate candidate Sharron Angle. The second was when they sued the Drudge Report. And the third was yesterday, when a judge castigated them for alleged dishonesty.
Tom Mitchell and Sad Shermy were fired in November. Two of the three of those pieces ran after that. So they presided over precisely one single story on their nationally newsworthy and unique campaign against copyright fraud.
Yet Mitchell would like us to believe he and Sad Shermy would have INSISTED on full, ever more prominent coverage of this decision! Because, uh, they committed all of 482 words to the matter under their oversight of the newspaper?
As the kids say: For realz?