Sep 24, 2012

Bill White, Something Borrowed

Readers of this blog know that I was upset about the editing of my last column in The Morning Call. My premise was that there would be a political price to pay for voting for the water contract. I wrote that "One Councilman, Michael Schlossberg, who is going to Harrisburg unopposed as a State Representative, is resigning early from Council to evade this damaging baggage." The Morning Call changed the sentence to "One councilman, Michael Schlossberg, who is going to Harrisburg unopposed in the election for state representative, is resigning early from council." That deletion significantly changed the meaning, and compromised the cohesion of my piece. When I called in protest, the Your View editor told me that he accommodated another editor who requested the change. I didn't ask who he was accommodating. It is generally known that Bill White is now assisting with the Letters page. Tuesday's Bill White column questions if Michael Schlossberg resigned early to avoid the water vote. I must now ask Bill White if he edited my editorial so that he could use my question as his own?

UPDATE: My first reaction to the editing of my Morning Call article last week was that it was a gift by the paper to Schlossberg. My second reaction, upon reading White's article, is clearly stated above. I have just been told that Bill White was NOT the second editor. Although I'm compelled to post this update, the sentence in my editorial never should have been changed. If I over-reacted, it's based on the paper's history in failing to give proper attribution.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,

At least for a change Bill White is writing about A-town. It took your writing to get him interested.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

How could you trust the Call?

Anonymous said...

Although I don't always agree with Mr. White, I have to give him credit for his due diligence in asking Mike Schlossberg for his side of the early quit "controversy." Bloggers like Molovinsky (who surely won't publish this comment) by contrast engage in hateful name-calling (he has called Schlossberg a "Lucky Coward"), innuendo and baseless opinion. Had Molovinsky done a fair and balanced job in his "analysis" of Schlossberg's early exit maybe the excruciatingly lazy and unoriginal Bill White wouldn't have stolen his idea and did him one better. That's my opinion.

michael molovinsky said...

@ 7:34, i "condensed" my conversation with the other editor, and what you describe is probably Bill's excuse. However, my piece was a Your View opinion piece, i didn't have to ask schlossberg to have an opinion on his motivation. White did ask him, but then dismissed his answer. Bill White simply took my premise as an idea for his column, and changed my sentence so his column would look more original.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:19, I agree with you totally that Bill White edited out your premise and then stole it for his own column. But I believe you're hiding behind the "Your View" format. Your blog and your inexplicable appearances in the Morning Call tend to be interchangeable. You could and should have inquired directly to Schlossberg in either your opinion piece or your blog's varied follow-ups. But even casual readers of your blog know that you can never be wrong. About anything. So we won't hold our breath.

Anonymous said...

The morning gag has omitted truths and facts for years because they are the very core of the political propaganda of allentowns corruption machine that allows people like the current mayor to rape, rob and pilliage allentown taxbase.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Mike,

I don't think any of us will ever know what the person who edited out your comment was thinking, but I think it's possible there was no bad intent. It's certainly not a slam dunk that there WAS bad intent.

From what I've read, in your piece you stated it as fact that Schlossberg resigned to avoid a controversial vote. However you provided no evidence of same. Perhaps that had something to do with the editing. Had you stated that "it appears Schlossberg may have resigned to avoid a controversial vote" or even "in my opinion, Schlossberg resigned to avoid a controversial vote," perhaps it would not have been cut. Even though it was a "Your View" and not a news article, it's reasonable for the Call to insist that when you declare something as fact, it actually IS a fact, rather than your own speculation.

It would have been better for the editor to speak with you first, but I could understand if he or she didn't due to deadline pressure and lack of bandwith due to the regrettable staffing cuts there over the years.

Either way, this discussion and White's subsequent column have brought more attention to the motives behind Schlossberg's resignation, so in a sense you got your wish.

Anonymous said...

If this makes you mad, then you need to make sure that you and all of your neighbors, friends and relatives are at the special council meeting this Thursday 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the topic.

There are so many parts to this water lease proposal that stinks that the Allentown people should be demonstrating in the streets. And, if they are not, then they deserve what they get.

michael molovinsky said...

canary, the Call had my piece for a week before it was published. further more, i had a few discussions with the editor about one word in the first sentence, which he thought should be replaced, and to which I agreed. it was never mentioned that ALSO an important sentence would be changed. When i called, he seemed somewhat embarrassed by the deletion. i value my occasional editorial in the paper, because i reach a different audience. Because of that, I hesitated afterwards to write about the deletion on this blog, and only did so because (1) it was such a crucial sentence, and (2) i bumped into a former editor, explained the situation, and he agreed it was odd to delete. he even asked if they were going to write a correction, after i protested.
canary, you may split hairs between me stating an opinion about schlossberg, and then bill white asking him, but dismissing his answer and making the same accusation, but either way it's expressing the same opinion.

Bernie O'Hare said...

White added nothing to MM's observation. God, did he expect Schlosserg to say, "Yes, Bill, I resigned to avoid looking bad. I'm a coward."

Not only did White pitch a softball, but is willing to eat Schlossberg's bullshit burger, along with cakes and pies and everything else.

But White is unwilling to believe Dent on the redistricting issue. He refuses to believe Dent had nothing to do with the redistricting. And I don't believe he bothered to ask Dent about his views.

So MM, who is not a trained journalist, gets tagged for not getting Schlossberg to deny he's a coward. Bill White steals the idea from MM, asks a question and gets the denial, and deserves a Pulitzer? And at the same time, he does the same frickin' thing with Charlie Dent that MM did with Schlossberg.

But he's a journalist, and MM is a bottom-feeding blogger who is dour and misguided.

Well, as Scott says, at least he write about something besides American Idol or grammar. The bigger question is why Allentown's columnists are so willing to write about local or even state issues. Why do we see them so rarely at any meetings?

In seven years, I've seen Carpenter just once. In that time, I've seen Bill about 14 times. You don't learn what people are thinking and what they are concerned about unless you go where they are. But to do that, you can't watch Dancing with the Stars.

Anonymous said...

We would all do well to understand the difference between the content in a blog and an article written in a newspaper. A blog is full of opinions, many of which are the result of limited "research".


VOR

michael molovinsky said...

VOR, those lines may be much more blurred than you realize. for instance, many allentown stories are covered by new reporters to the area, who have no local institutional memory what- so- ever. the only apparent difference to me is that the morning call fails to give attribution for concepts, and even facts.

ironpigpen said...

Opinions and limited research?

Sounds like an excellent description of The Morning Call to me, Mr. Molovinsky, with all due respect.

I recall TMC telling me that Pawlowski's transformative Palace of Sport would be the first minor league hockey rink ever built costing more than $ 100.0 million dollars.

My blog research indicates otherwise :

"CHAIRMAN PAWLOWSKI's MAGICAL PALACE OF SPORT - REALLY MOST EXPENSIVE MINOR LEAUGE RINK EVER CONSTRUCTED?"

http://www.goironpigs.com

I am still waiting for TMC to admit that Moody's has assigned the ninth-lowest rating (out of ten) to the Palace of Sport bonds being pushed currently.

I also recall TMC issuing a fine report stating Senator Browne says there is no risk.

Opinions and limited research?

ROLF OELER VERIFIED
:-)

Anonymous said...

We find ourselves in a sticky position. A free press is the cornerstone of who, what we are, yet the press as we remember it is fading from view. Pennsylvania's sixth largest city (Bethlehem) has no daily newspaper for twenty years. The ET is a bad combination of two papers, and the Allentown Morning Call bills itself as a regional news source, but in the face of corporatization then downsizing, is a shadow of what is once was but pretends to still be. So, and with due respect to you and others, the populace turns to blogs, which are of questionable quality, even though most are well-meaning. Now, we the people rely on a game of "whisper down the alley" for important information, that should come from trusted professionals.

That's bad news for us...


VOR

ironpigpen said...

The quality of The Morning Call speaks for itself and it IS really THAT simple.

While I can appreciate your attempt to marginalize and vilify independent bloggers like Mr. Molovisnky, VOR ...

... I sincerely invite anyone doubting the authenticity of the information I presented in the referarticle with respect to the cost of minor league rink construction, take it up with the Marquette University Law School.

:-)

ROV

ironpigpen said...

My older brother always told me that I would never be any good until somebody was ripping me off.

And I am telling you, Mr. Molovinsky, that YOU will NEVER be a true professional until you can get away with the kind of stuff that Bill White routinely does.

:-)

ROV

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Mike,

Thanks for those additional details. With all due respect, though, it's not 'splitting hairs' to believe that facts and opinions should be clearly labeled as such. It was unfair that your piece got edited without any consultation, but it also would have been unfair to run your statement about Schlossberg's resignation without explicitly stating that it was your own opinion.

I'm all in favor of a robust discussion about why Schlossberg resigned, and agree that it does seem a bit fishy, but we owe it to ourselves to be clear on what's fact and what isn't.

Also, I am not an expert on the law but possibly you could have exposed yourself to charges of libel had the piece run without editing. I believe there is more leeway in what you can say about a public official, but why resort to hiding behind that? It's easier to just be clear about what's your opinion and what's a fact.

michael molovinsky said...

canary, many of my pieces in The Morning Call have been edited. the paper could have added a few words. instead, the statement was edited out of my piece, but appears as Bill White's headline two weeks later.