PLEASE GO DOWN THIS UPDATE AND READ JEFF GAUGER'S EXPLANATION AS TO WHY THE REP TOOK DOWN THE COMMENTS ON THE MORRIS/HORNER STORY.
Here's the SCPR reaction to Gauger:
If the Gauger account is accurate, then there is a serious problem with the managers of The Rep's comments in terms of their ability to monitor and select out abusive comments. Yours truly has much experience in screening out abusers. In fact, the SCPR used to allow anonymous comments but found that under the cloak of anonymity far too many anonymous commenters got way off message and said ugly things that did not meet standards of basic civility. These were "easily" screened out without interfering with the many quality comments received. However, the screening was time consuming.
Now that the SCPR has gone to the simple process of requiring commenters to register with Google first prior to commenting, the quality of comments have picked up considerably and the monitoring function much less of a burden.
The Rep reputedly has much tighter controls over comments than the SCPR in terms of identifying the abusers and dealing with them on a long term basis, but the need to wipe out all of the comments seems to be a huge over reaction to a few claimed abusive comments.
The SCPR is skeptical of Gauger's explanation.
Why is that?
Because Gauger (and, of course, he is the person who sets the standard for his stand-in comments section monitors) has a history of mismanaging the comments and generally is prone to stifling full-blown discussion of important public issues.
A case in point is the Boccieri/Schuring race.
At the outset he announced that The Rep (meaning Gauger himself) was going to be very much in control of who got published in their comments and letters to the editor. And their have been other clear indicators that The Rep editors have an editorial agenda that disfavors "nonabusive" comments/letters to the editors which vary from The Rep's point-of-view.
So in the end the SCPR remains skeptical of Gauger and his "internal mechanism" explanation.
The SCPR is prone to believe that Stark County Democratic Party heavy hitters generated the furor that caused the "over-reaction" at The Rep.
Moreover, the SCPR is probably why the comments reappeared with Gauger's lame explanation>
Note that the SCPR's original blog anticipated the "restoration." And, accordingly, yours truly claims credit for The Rep's reversal.
MARY PARKER'S COMMENTS DIRECT TO SCPR
mary has left a new comment on your post "CENSOR-IN-CHIEF: JEFF GAUGER "EXECUTIVE EDITOR" O...":
When I first heard the breaking news that Frank Morris had been overlooked by the precinct committee persons to take over the seat as the ninth ward council person, I thought two things. One; I can't believe it. Two, I can't wait to see what Martin Olson has to say about this. I have much respect for Mr. Olson, and much respect for his opinions. He's a straight shooter. Had he wrote an editorial saying, that the committee did the right thing in appointing Mr.Brian Horner to fill the vacancy left by Joe Carbenia, I would have had to re-examine my thoughts on Mr. Morris being sidestepped. That's how much value I place on Martin Olson's opinions. When it comes to anything political, I trust his judgment more than my own.
When I finally got to go to his Blog tonight and read his take on the whole affair, I got a bonus. I also got his take on Jeff Gauger. Moments before, I had, while revisiting the Ward 9 story, saw a comment by Jeff, explaining why the thread on this story had been shut down, much to my surprise the previous evening. I accepted Jeff's explanation, knowing how outrageously obnoxious commentors can get.
Then, I come to SCP Blog and read Martin's take on the closing down of the comments in question. So, now I have to wonder, 'What came first, the chicken or the egg?' Did Jeff by chance see Martins write-up about him and the editorial staff at the Rep, and decide to put the thread back on? I'm certainly not going to call Jeff a liar, but I do have my doubts now about why the thread was shut down.
I'm not nearly as wise as Martin or most political astute politicians or other commentors on the Rep comments. I usually keep a low profile on the political threads. That doesn't mean I'm stupid, or easily duped by politicians or editors. I've been following the political stance of the Repository since high school. Only difference between then and now is the change in the editors, and the move from the right to the left. For all intents and purposes, the Rep was a conservative Republican newspaper, and made no bones about it. Now it seems to be either a pro Democratic newspaper, or a cross-dresseer.
"The management at The Rep is so much in bed with the Stark County political and government establishment, that Stark Countians are denied the truth about what is really happening in our local government and, to add insult to injury, Gauger et al deny the public their voice."
Well, if the Rep wants to get in bed with the Stark County political establishment, that's their business. I can't tell them what to do. They can sleep with who they want to, but when you stifle my voice. and the voices of others who supported Frank Morris in the ward 9 fiasco, then you're dragging us into bed with you. I'd rather chose who I want to get in bed with. If you're going to have a true comment section on the Rep website, than no one, conforming to rules should be gagged. I hope this wasn't the case. I said on the Rep, and I'll say here, Frank Morris should be sitting at the council table next Monday night. I wouldn't be anything other than a Democrat, but I'm really disappointed in my party on this one.
GAUGER'S COMMENT ON THE REPOSITORY'S COMMENT PAGE
During the week of March 14 - 20, 2010 the American Society of Newspaper Editors will be pushing its annual "Sunshine Week" which is a Main Street Written Media attempt to be a driving force for more public access to government information.
The editors at The Canton Repository - though the subject matter of their sins differ - are like Senator John Ensign of Nevada.
Ensign has been one of the great moralizers in the United States Senate who has turned hypocrite-in-chief with the revelation that he had an affair with a campaign staffer whom his family has allegedly paid hush money.
Wikipedia has a nice summation of Ensign's hypocrisy/moralizing:
For the editors at The Rep and, in particular, Executive Editor Jeff Gauger to participate in, pontificate about and castigate others about thwarting democracy for one special week a year and then on the other hand muzzle their readers (who happen to be Stark County citizens who enjoy exercising their First Amendment rights) when political hanky-panky appears to have taken place and the parties believed to be part of the hanky-panky call and complain.
Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation.
The local case in point: Yesterday The Rep published a piece entitled: Political newcomer named Ward 9 representative. As readers of The Rep online edition know, each and every article allows for reader comment. And did the readers of The Rep comment on this story. Go check the comments on this story today. Unless this blog causes a reversal; they are no more. The Rep has censored its readers.
By and large the commenters were incensed that Frank Morris, III who ran a very close race against incumbent (recently deceased) Councilman Joe Carbenia. Morris lost by 7 votes and was declared the loser only after a recount.
But Stark Dems (9th Ward council precinct persons) ignored the 341 voters of the 9th Ward and appointed Stark Democratic political insider Brian Horner as Carbenia's successor. What is so rank about this process is that 6 people trumped 341.
Yours truly, knowing politics as I do, do not believe for one moment that Stark County Democratic Party chairman did not have his hands all over this decision. Precinct committee persons are known by political cognoscenti to be selected because of their devotion to party chairmen.
Horner works for Nancy Reinbold (Stark Common Pleas clerk of courts) who got her job at the instigation Phil Giavasis initiallly who Randy Gonzalez now works for.
Need there be a clearer line?
These people think we are all fools!
And The Repository plays the game with them.
Make no mistake about it, the SCPR applauds the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
However, The Report roundly condemns The Canton Repository Editorial Board and its Executive Editor Jeff Gauger.
Whether its Mayor Healy or some other Stark County politically powerful person, The Repository consistently shows that it bends to political pressure and buries public reaction to the what the public perceives to be political and governmental abuses of power which plague the Stark County community.
So we have a "one-newspaper-town" (The Canton Repository) working hand-in-glove with a "one-party-county-organization" to deprive everyday Stark Countians from exercising their First Amendment rights.
We all know about how some organizations and business keep "cooked books." In a sense that is what The Repository has turned into. A journalistic "cooked book."
The management at The Rep is so much in bed with the Stark County political and government establishment, that Stark Countians are denied the truth about what is really happening in our local government and, to add insult to injury, Gauger et al deny the public their voice.
In theory the SCPR would like to see newspapers thrive and prosper, but when it comes to our local countywide newspaper, wouldn't we be better off just relying on the Internet to get our news and to make our comments.
Although The Rep is a private entity, it trades on the public trust.
What is the biblical expression?
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN: "You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting."
The Canton Repository has fast losing if they have not already losing the public trust!