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Op-ed column: Ortloff document too graphic to be posted on our Web site

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When former state Assemblyman Chris Ortloff was arrested this past week on charges that he used the Internet to try to have sex with minors, reporters covering the case were given an 18-page document detailing why prosecutors wanted him to remain in jail. The detention memo from the court offered reporters new and important information about the government’s case against the 61-year-old Ortloff, a Plattsburgh Republican who served in the state Assembly for 20 years ...

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October 19, 2008
12:21 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

I've suggested several times in the "Votes & Notes" blog that the Gazette should let political candidates blog for themselves. As a result, I have been the object of what I believe to be unfair, provocative & generally outrageous name-calling by its editor. Nevertheless, I still believe that a staff reporter's name on a blog infers that the entry has been factually checked to the same standards as the same reporter's print columns. See this week's Doonesbury strips to confirm that others respected by the profession share this opinion. Some of the entries in this blog have been written to "my" standards, but others have been little more than a verbatim printing of a press release. Anyone who has ever written or read a political press release knows that reader impact is usually considered much more important than truth, even if it's only an omission of a pertinent fact rather that an outright misrepresentation.

Regarding a requirement to identify oneself, you might want to check out what's been happening at the Leader-Herald's blog site. Publisher Ms. Beck first tried to systematically block posts from known blog-abusers. This led to the use of aliases. She has now instituted a names only policy in most cases, but admits that (unless she requires staff confirmation as she does written letters) this will likely still be abused. I would have no objection to identifying myself but many would & posting would therefore, in my opinion, be stifled. Whether the evil of this stifling outweighs the good of removing abuse is fairly debatable.

I respectfully suggest that the Gazette's editors share their draft of any new "e-policy" for comment by their readers prior to its adoption.

November 24, 2008
1:09 p.m.

[ Flag Post ]

A few things stand out.

I can understand the hesitancy to post the entire document. Thank you for remembering there are innocent children involved.

I would like to see you continue to allow comments to the blog remain anonymous. I feel this will lead to more open discussion of how people really feel and not just their "this is acceptable or fits the main street direction" many folks take on an issue.