- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 11, 2000

The Boston Globe's suspension of columnist Jeff Jacoby last week has sparked outrage from critics who claim the liberal newspaper has unjustly silenced its lone conservative voice.
Mr. Jacoby received a four-month suspension Friday because, editors said, he failed to indicate his July 3 column was based on previously published materials.
The offending column, describing the fates of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, drew from multiple sources, including essays by radio commentators Paul Harvey and Rush Limbaugh. Mr. Jacoby also consulted various encyclopedias, Web sites and books on the Revolutionary War.
Mr. Jacoby says all the material was in the public domain. However, he did not include a one-line disclaimer citing his sources.
"It never occurred to me to include a line pointing out that I was far from the first to write about the fates of the Declaration's signers," Mr. Jacoby says in an open letter to readers posted on a Web site, www.jewishworldreview.com.
"No one deserves to lose his income for a third of a year because a column lacked a sentence that might have underscored how common the column's theme was."
Editors at the Globe perceived the matter differently. The day the column ran, Mr. Jacoby says he offered to add a clarification to his next column. His editors turned him down, instead running a note on the July 6 editorial page saying Mr. Jacoby's column was not "entirely original."
On Friday, the newspaper suspended him for four months without pay. A statement from publisher Richard Gilman and editorial-page editor Renee Loth accused him of "serious journalistic misconduct."
Mr. Gilman told the Associated Press: "We cannot look the other way if any of our columnists, reporters or writers borrow without attribution from the works of others, even in an attempt to improve upon it."
The Globe ousted columnists Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle in 1998 on charges that they fabricated material for their columns. Mr. Jacoby says he committed no such infraction and that the Globe seems committed to "poisoning the good name I have spent years building up."
Most writers posting opinions yesterday on the www.Poynter.org/MediaNews Web site, a quick-response forum for journalists, said the Globe's reaction was overkill.
"The punishment being meted out to him by the Globe is the worst kind of stupid, knee-jerk reaction," wrote Constantine Von Hoffman, a former co-worker of Mr. Jacoby's at the Boston Herald.
In solidarity with Mr. Jacoby, Internet scribbler Matt Drudge removed all links to the Globe from www.drudgereport.com, his Web site.
Conservative editorialists blasted the 470,825-circulation Globe.
"The reckless cruelty toward Jacoby, a talented young man who has no blemish on his career is inexcusable," wrote David Horowitz, president of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. "It is self-evident that no one but a conservative would been treated this way."
"I was mistaken in thinking that what often takes place in banana republics could never happen to a U.S. journalist working for the mainstream American press," wrote Carlos Ball on his Agencia Interamericana de Prensa Economica Web site, on which Mr. Jacoby appears as a columnist. "I'm afraid that his real sin is not being a socialist at the Kremlin-on-the-Charles."
The latter is a reference to Boston's Charles River.
A secretary answering the phone in Miss Loth's office said the paper had gotten "tons" of calls about the matter.
Binyamin Jolkovsky, founder of jewishworldreview.com, estimated the Globe has received 2,000-3,000 e-mails about the matter, judging from the number of protests copied to his site. Like Mr. Jakolsky, Mr. Jacoby is an Orthodox Jew.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide