The second of the liberal bloggers on the Cleveland Plain Dealer's political group blog Wide Open has decided to resign over the paper's decision to fire the first liberal blogger, Jeff Coryell. Coryell's termination was due to pressure from Repbulican Congressman Steve LaTourette.
The second blogger's name is Jill Miller Zimon, of Writes Like She Talks, and she's given money to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (D); if that means not writing about Brown or his opponents in the future, she's jumping ship. Her thoughts are after the jump.
The PD's decision to say to Jeff, essentially, either follow what we require of our traditional journalists when it comes to political donations and stop writing about a particular political official and his opponent, or leave, is an intolerable restraint for a blogger. It turns the blogger into nothing more than a traditional journalist, already subject to such restraints, who also has to blog.
There is nothing wrong with newsroom journalists being made to blog - we have excellent evidence of that in Ohio. However, Wide Open loses its width and its openness as soon as there is such a restraint. The restraint silences the unique voice that readers seek out from blogs - which is what was sought out by Jean Dubail, and rightly so. And the restraint replaces the blogger's voice with someone who has editorial restraints placed on him or her, just like a traditional journalist.
Do some political bloggers on some blogs agree to such restraints? Very possibly. But this experiment can neither be Wide or Open if I'm going to be told that I can't write about Sherrod Brown or his opponent or Marc Dann or his opponent because I gave them money.