[Update at 1647 — Anastasia Pantsios weighs in on the story:
People involved in the “Save the Plain Dealer” campaign are asking “Where will we get our news?” Maybe we should respond, “Well, where do we get it NOW?” The PD may currently publish seven days a week and have a staff a third larger than what is being proposed but it leaves its readership uninformed or misinformed about so many issue with major impact on their lives. “Saving” a paper that in its present form ignores the voices coming from the bottom, doesn’t hear masses of people speaking out against injustice, and whose response to things like police brutality is often “Why don’t ‘those people’ just behave better?” is a mission it’s hard to feel passionate about.
Well said (and written Anatasia…]
Tim Russo writes [orignally published at 0856]:
Mr. Egger, Ms Simmons,
As a daily newspaper facing extinction, guardians of the First Amendment in Cleveland, your 3 day late coverage of the Thursday decision by the Ohio Court of Appeals declaring the October 21, 2011 arrests of Occupy Cleveland unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds is a disgrace.
Even on a crass profit/loss analysis, your readership has shown an insatiable interest in the Occupy movement, largely from your core readership, older readers who cannot stand that Occupy exists, who descend upon every mention of Occupy to attack it. At this moment, when revenue seems to drive every decision you make, burying this story on Metro page B3, three days after the decision was published, is odd to say the least.
But most of all, can you tell me the last time any law in Cleveland was struck down on First Amendment grounds? You are the vanguard of the First Amendment in this city, an incredible privilege. These arrests occurred on ground called literally Public Square, named after Mayor Tom Johnson and dedicated to free speech itself. The court’s opinion even goes out of its way to note this historic tie to free speech – did you even see that? Here’s the opinion, you really ought to read it.
On the night of these arrests, every single local TV station covered them live, and the only vehicles outnumbering satellite trucks at Tom Johnson quadrant were police. We now know that even the FBI was there. The full power of the state was documented from every angle, on live television, targeting the First Amendment. Has there ever been a more frontal police power assault on the First Amendment in the history of Cleveland? Moreover, the Occupy Cleveland arrests were one of the first evictions of an Occupy encampment in the entire country, nearly a month before the eviction of Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park.
By any measure, this story is not just news, it is historic, placing Cleveland into American history’s DNA. Metro section B3? Really?
It was your newspaper’s right, this entire city’s right, to free speech that was attacked, and a court finding that attack unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds should be celebrated by your newsroom. At a minimum, though, as your newspaper fights for survival, it’s incredibly sad to watch you purposefully ignore a story so utterly Cleveland, so draped in Cleveland history, tying Cleveland to the founders ideals so directly. Your reporter didn’t even call the city for reaction. Pathetic.
If your newspaper can’t find joy in this story, why should any Clevelander support your campaign to survive as our city’s First Amendment flagship? If you don’t care about your First Amendment right to even exist, why should we care?