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Accusations, again

Posted Friday, October 16, 2009, at 1:16 PM

Both I and Brian Mosely have tried to address this in recent blog posts, but some people still appear not to understand it.

Until and unless someone is charged with something, or someone is willing to go on the record for a news story, an accusation against someone is a rumor. We will not publish rumors, nor will we allow our commenters to do so. Flinging around undocumented allegations puts us -- and, I might add, our commenters -- at legal risk.

We are willing to research and report on any legitimate story, and we invite those with information on any topic to contact the T-G newsroom. Good journalism takes time, and a responsible journalist would rather have a factual story a week from now than a rushed-up story today.

But if there's nothing in writing, and no one will go on the record, it's not a story. It's a rumor, and we will delete it from the comment forums.

When we delete comments, we delete them for a reason. Re-posting material that you know we consider in violation of our Terms of Service will be considered a willful, intentional violation and will result in the termination of your user account.

Some of our users who don't seem to grasp this point continue to post about stories they think we ought to be covering. Any such posts mentioning specific people -- even in the context of asking, "What happened to my post about Joe Smith?" will be deleted, and willful offenders will be banned.


Comments
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Posted by Brian Mosely on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 2:13 PM "outonthefarm, could you elaborate further?" I will consider it and let you know. Being in the press you can understand how sensitive sources are. I will talk with mine and see if he will talk with you. We keep our word to friends out on the farm.

-- Posted by outonthefarm on Wed, Oct 21, 2009, at 7:27 PM

Brian I can only assume you know who I am being the paper has all our email from the registration. Therefore you know how to reach me out on the farm.

-- Posted by outonthefarm on Thu, Oct 22, 2009, at 3:20 PM

Posted by Brian Mosely on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 2:13 PM "outonthefarm, could you elaborate further?" I will consider it and let you know. Being in the press you can understand how sensitive sources are. I will talk with mine and see if he will talk with you. We keep our word to friends out on the farm.

-- Posted by outonthefarm on Wed, Oct 21, 2009, at 7:27 PM

Mr. Flanagan,

The comments that were deleted from the article: http://www.t-g.com/story/1579041.html were re-posted by me simply because they were deleted without cause. They have been up since then. It's almost as if someone deleted the posts, then once I re-posted them they noticed that people are taking note of this action occurring regularly and stopped. Is there no way to see who logged in as an admin and deleted these posts?

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 2:26 PM

outonthefarm, could you elaborate further?

E-mail me at bmosely@t-g.com

-- Posted by Brian Mosely on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 2:13 PM

Evil Monkey:

If the offending post is still up, please point it out to me and I will check it out.

Kent Flanagan

-- Posted by kentflanagan on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 1:52 PM

Mr. Williamson:

The response to your comment (Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 10:27 AM) is mine, not John Carney's. My administrative login somehow was crossed up with John's.

Kent Flanagan

-- Posted by kentflanagan on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 1:51 PM

The last comment attributed to me -- the response Thom's Oct. 20, 10:27 a.m. comment -- is not from me. It's from Kent Flanagan. We're still trying to figure out why the web site put my name on it.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 1:48 PM

If I may, could the resigning of theses folks have anything to do with a certain sub division, a chicken house and a water line extension? Again pardon my questions but news travels slow out on the farm.

-- Posted by outonthefarm on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 1:26 PM

Kent,

Then why was a rumor mentioned about me, and left there even when I mentioned that it was false and slanderous?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 12:23 PM

This still doesn't answer the question: Which part of MY comments that were deleted constituted a violation of the Terms of Service? My comments were deleted by someone at the Times-Gazette. If not for a violation of the Terms of Service, then why? Just answer the question and stop dancing around "rumors" that I didn't even refer to in my comments.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 10:27 AM
John I. Carney's response:
I did not see the posts that were deleted, so I cannot speak to specific comments. If any were removed that did not violate terms of service, I can only apologize.

BTW, I do not dance. I do not obfuscate. I do not beat around the bush and I will answer all questions directly to the best of my ability.

Mr. Williamson:

I read your e-mail as soon as I could after returning from a newspaper technology conference in Knoxville. I've also read the exchange of blog post comments between you, John Carney, Brian Mosely and several others on T-G.com.

You should know, first and foremost, that the Shelbyville Times-Gazette will not report rumors online or in the physical publication. Nor will T-G.com condone blog posts or comments online that only serve to add to the rumor mill, especially when such rumors affect the lives and livelihood of people in the community.

Second and equally important, the Times-Gazette will continue to pursue the reasons behind the forced resignation of former City Manager Ed Craig and the sudden resignation of Planning and Codes Director Kip Green. and when we do uncover those essential elements of these stories, stories will be published.

Let me add that new media is proving to be a veritable Pandora box. The Internet and all the new social media that have developed in recent years has given anyone with a computer and Internet access the power of many newspapers since your words can be read by anyone else who has the same access anywhere in the world.

That is Power with a capital "P."

The Internet has also increased the reach of newspapers, which must harness that power of words and use it responsibly and with restraint in all cases. So, it should be understandable that we when we read unsubstantiated rumors that we remove those rumors from the T-G Web site as well as the posts that refer to those rumors.

You may post anything you wish on your own blog at your own risk. Your First Amendment rights are intact. Please understand that the Times-Gazette takes its responsibility seriously and will err on the side of caution.

Sincerely,

Kent Flanagan

Editor

Shelbyville Times-Gazette

-- Posted by kentflanagan on Tue, Oct 20, 2009, at 10:00 AM

I've tried to be as open as possible about what we're doing, and why we're doing it, and even though you might not agree with every decision, I think you ought to at least be able to follow my logic and understand that it's the Times-Gazette's call to make.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 3:56 PM

John, I do understand that. But you must understand that if the subscribers have no faith in the integrity of this publication then they really have no reason to continue subscribing.

I would like to know what, in my comments, was a violation of the ToS. If you can't answer that simple question, then we must assume that the posts were deleted for some other reason. I would like to know what that is.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Oct 19, 2009, at 6:26 PM

Actually, at this point I'm really more interested in why the T-G strategically deleted the comments. I suppose Kent had a lot of e-mails to return when he got back from his conference and hasn't yet had a chance to return mine.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Oct 19, 2009, at 6:22 PM

I also agree with Thom and darrick_04 on this so the apocalypse must be near. But really, there are many times when the newspaper staff have been inconsistent in deleting some comments and not others if we are going by the logic that John has stated in this post. I also believe the issue that is being question is a valid one that needs to be answered since individuals like Craig and Green are paid with taxpayers' money. Any other employer would demand answers in such a situation and so why shouldn't the citizens of Bedford County be any different. Having these issues address can be handled without creating any form of situation in which the newspaper would be accountable for and they should know this unless they are clueless about the basic fundamentals of journalism.

Also, if this was the true intention of the newspaper then they should be more careful with their "Breaking News" stories. So many times they jump the gun and report a situation without knowing the facts and thus distort the situation to the readers which can be harmful in the long run. I remember when they posted the situation with Burt English and him supposedly waving a gun at some clients which created all types of speculation before the facts actually came out.

Maybe this newspaper should practice what they preach and remain consistent in their terms of service!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Sun, Oct 18, 2009, at 12:07 PM

"I want to know why the City Manager and the Codes and Planning Director resigned suddenly and nobody asked any questions."

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 7:58 AM

However, councilman Stephenson said when "things die down, he will answer the question that was on most citizens' minds -- why was Craig let go.

"Everybody doesn't know everything that's been going on up here, someday when this all dies down, I'm going to sit down and talk with you," Stephenson told the T-G.

"Right now, I want to let things cool down and get back in progress and get things going," he said. "But there are a lot of citizens in this community who don't know why we did what we did and I want to say it, but it will have to be at a later date."

UPDATED: Craig dismissed without explanation

Friday, October 9, 2009

By Brian Mosely

I think that as the general public who these people serve, we have the right to know what is behind all of this. And if the paper won't keep applying pressure to get the answers, there is nothing wrong with us asking for the answers in the blogs. Especially, if we are not making unfounded accusations.

And, referring to Mr. Stephenson's quote, just what progress should we be working toward, that apparently he feels we were not making when Ed Craig was city manager? There is no record that says we were not making progress. Why did you let that quote go unchallenged,or better said, why did you all not ask the obvious follow up question.

Now, I will say, that Tennessee is a "right to work" state, and far as I know, Kip Green really owes us no explanation if he resigned without any pressure from his superiors or councilmen.

However, it was obvious that Mr. Stephenson, Mr. Cunningham, Mr.Landers, and Mrs. Pruitt initiated the action that led to Mr. Craig's resignation/firing (it is still not clear if he resigned or was fired). They owe their constituents an explanation for their actions.

Mr. Stephenson's bogus explanation, claiming things need to die down first, smacks of "good ole boy" or "backroom politics". Waiting to explain will just stir this whole mess up again.

Treat it like a band-aide, just rip the thing off and be done with it all at once.

ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS!

-- Posted by Midnight Rider on Sun, Oct 18, 2009, at 7:54 AM

Thom,

I agree with you 100%!!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 9:38 PM

I see this coming....This area will no longer be part of the T-g.

-- Posted by Cindy Munsey on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 8:52 AM

Lazarus - What I'm getting at is that a newspaper, whose right to spread the news is protected by the 1st Amendment, is censoring people asking questions about public officials. I was really just pointing out the irony in this. All they have to do is say that they have looked into some unspecified accusations against CERTAIN PEOPLE and were unable to find anything of substance. I fail to see how mentioning that people are questioning the reason for the sudden and quiet resignations of Kip Green and Ed Craig violates any Term of Service. People raised all kinds of stink when Sara Palin resigned and she's not even from this area, but it was fine then. I want to know why the City Manager and the Codes and Planning Director resigned suddenly and nobody asked any questions.

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, Oct 17, 2009, at 7:58 AM

John,

You and I both exchanged lengthy emails regarding an incident that was very similar situation regarding my employment with another company and someone posted absolute lies. I posted pictures of my proof and an explanation that the person stating something false. Yet even after what was said, You reiterated, "We are not responsible for what is posted in the comment section."

So instead, you post ANOTHER blog trying to vilify anyone asking, "Why now?"

And all we are asking is to be fair, just and proper about this. If you are going to be a newspaper that posts factual information, (even in the comment section), then so be it. But even in the Terms of Service, it STATES, because you were the one that pointed it out to me.

-----

RUST COMMUNICATIONS may provide chat rooms, message boards and other public posting areas or community forums ("Community Forums") on the RUST COMMUNICATIONS site. If RUST COMMUNICATIONS provides any such Community Forum or if you use a Community Forum, you are solely responsible for your own communications and the consequences of posting those communications.

RUST COMMUNICATIONS does not assume any responsibility for the consequences of any Community Forum communications on or arising from use of the RUST COMMUNICATIONS site.

-----

So, What this all about? If someone else is stating something on these forums, it explicitly states that RUST Communication is not responsible, even if it is a comment on this site.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 9:29 PM

I understand slander and libel and all that jazz, but do we have to back up every thing we post on here with documented proof. I also see people get a bit excited with there posts or just act like kids throwing a temper tantrum. Heck I've got a little carried a way a few times, although I do try to apologize if I feel like I was out of line. But are we gonna get a talking too every time someone posts something unpopular or controversial? I hope not! I love this service, and while some people get on my nerves really really bad I don't want them censored. We all have different views and can learn a ton from each other, I know I sure have.

-- Posted by greasemonkey on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 7:46 PM

Thom, the 1st amendment guarantees YOU the right to set up YOUR OWN website, and say whatever you like... it wont protect you if you commit libel or slander while saying it.

-- Posted by lazarus on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 6:22 PM

Your First Amendment right of free expression does not guarantee that you can use someone else's bandwidth for purposes of that expression.

Our First Amendment right of free expression means that we can't be forced to host content which we believe would cause us legal trouble. That's one reason we have Terms of Service.

I've tried to be as open as possible about what we're doing, and why we're doing it, and even though you might not agree with every decision, I think you ought to at least be able to follow my logic and understand that it's the Times-Gazette's call to make.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 3:56 PM

John Carney, Please explain to us, the users of this "service", why the posts were deleted at 10:23pm last night.

If it's not someone at the T-G deleting them to help a friend, then what was it?

I have e-mailed Kent asking this and have not yet received a response. All you keep saying is that you're deleting posts that violate the TOS.

I want you to answer this one simple question. Several posts were deleted last night at EXACTLY 10:23pm. Why were these posts deleted? If you cannot answer this question, I will ask Jon Rust which "Terms of Service" any of these posts violated.

It's ridiculous that we can't even trust the NEWSPAPER to uphold the 1st Amendment right of free expression.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Oct 16, 2009, at 3:42 PM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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