KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The New McCarthyism

To the Editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Has the Bush era's new McCarthyism affected the judgment of the management of the Pioneer Press? Are your staff members no longer allowed to have private lives?

As a copyeditor and as a human being, I protest the Press's infringement on the rights of its part-time copy editor Tim Mahoney. According to an October 26 article in City Pages (see "No Peace at the Pioneer Press: Casualty of War"), Mahoney attended and participated in a peace rally in Washington, D.C. in September on his own time, yet he was suspended without pay for three days by the Press, is no longer allowed to edit any stories about the invasion and occupation of Iraq (the subject of the peace rally), and was led to believe, by senior editor Mike Bulger, that he would be fired if he were to participate in any similar political activities.

It appears that Mahoney did not participate in the rally as an official representative of the Press; he was following his own conscience. Why, then, does the Press believe it has the right to control Mahoney's personal life?

According to the City Pages article, the Mahoney case isn't the first instance of Press Big Brotherism: "Last October, reporters Charles Laszewski and Rick Linsk were each suspended for three days for attending the 'Vote for Change' concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M., which raised money for John Kerry's presidential campaign."

Shame on you for showing your pro-Bush bias. You are supposed to be reporting the news, not trying to control it.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf
KOK Edit
Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association

I would understand if the paper had a policy against its editorial-side staff taking public stands on issues such as the Iraq war when they are on the job and thus representing the paper, but Mahoney was acting on his own time and not as a Press employee. E-mail the Press's editor. Don't keep silent about this—or any—infringement of First Amendment rights.

Updated 2:45 a.m., November 3, 2005: You can read letters to the editor of City Pages, the periodical that pubished the "No Peace ..." story, here.

The New McCarthyism Take 2 Take 3 Take 4 Take 5 Take 6 Take 7

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