Cleveland Plain Dealer Owner Demands Takedown Of Unflattering Video Featuring Candidate It Endorsed In Governor's Race
from the your-intentions-are-bad-and-you-should-feel-bad dept
Via Jim Romenesko, here’s a rather ugly story about stifling speech. Unfortunately, the entity doing the stifling is also one of the greatest beneficiaries of free speech protections.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group last week posted a video of Ohio Gov. John Kasich and challenger Ed FitzGerald meeting with the editorial board, then took it down without explanation and replaced it with an audio recording.
This media group (NOMG) owns the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which recently hosted a pre-endorsement Q&A with the three candidates for governor. It wasn’t a debate. FitzGerald apparently tried to turn it into one, but incumbent John Kasich wasn’t interested. In fact, Kasich has refused to participate in any form of debate during this election run.
Henry Gomez of the Cleveland Plain Dealer covered the non-debate, which was also videotaped. He offered his take on the candidates during the course of the interview.
The governor and FitzGerald shook hands before and after the interview, but that was the extent of their interaction. FitzGerald, dressed in a suit and tie, seemed to be on the edge of his seat the entire time, eager to land a punch whenever possible. Kasich, open collar, sans tie, often slouched while using a second chair’s armrest for extra comfort…
FitzGerald tried repeatedly to draw Kasich into a one-on-one debate. Each time, Kasich refused to take the bait. When FitzGerald turned to his left to try and catch Kasich’s eye, the governor stared straight ahead or off to his other side…
Kasich declined to answer any question that FitzGerald posed directly. He only would answer when an editor or reporter in the room repeated FitzGerald’s question.
The closest thing Ohioans got to a televised debate in this year’s race for Ohio governor was a video posted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The PD recorded their joint editorial board interview with John Kasich, Ed FitzGerald and Green Party Candidate Anita Rios and posted it online.
In the video, we got to see FitzGerald fired-up and on message while Kasich slumped in his chair, refused to acknowledge the other candidates and ignored repeated attempts by PD staff to answer even basic questions about his policies and programs.
PlunderBund posted a clip of the Q&A on the site, taken from the video posted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer itself. Shortly thereafter, a letter demanding the removal of the video arrived from Chris Quinn, NOMG’s VP of Content.
You have posted on your web site our copyrighted video of an endorsement interview in the Ohio governor’s race. You have not asked for, and we have not granted, the rights to use our property, which was illegally copied from our website.
We insist you delete the material immediately. We have registered the copyright, which means your illegal use of it entitles us to statutory damages, which can be quite steep, and recovery of all fees we pay our attorneys as we compel you to adhere to the copyright law.
We protect our copyrighted material with great vigor. You have posted it illegally. We expect immediate action in removing the video from your site.
PlunderBund clearly has a solid fair use defense, but it really doesn’t matter at the moment. The site has taken down the video. If that were the end of the story, it would still be highly questionable and a seriously misguided attempt at “protecting” the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s intellectual property.
But that’s not the end of it. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has taken down the video it created and replaced it with an audio recording. [Here’s an archive.org capture that contains the now-removed references to the CPD’s video recordings.] Why would it remove its own video? If PlunderBund’s account of the video’s content is accurate, John Kasich’s behavior during this session bordered on the insolently childish. Watching a politicial candidate exude boredom and disdain is hundreds of times more effective (and potentially damaging) than hearing it. An audio version of this “interview” is a defanged version.
But that’s probably the way the CPD and its parent media group want it. After all, the Plain Dealer endorsed Kasich in 2010 and again shortly after Kasich’s petulant, barely-there appearance at the NOMG-hosted endorsement interview. If you’re looking for a reason why the video is gone and only the audio remains, that seems like a good place to begin. It also seems likely that’s why the “VP of Content” is cleansing the web with mostly baseless legal threats.
There’s nothing more hypocritical than a media group that thrives on First Amendment protections acting like a censorious thug in order to protect its own access and interests. The editorial board endorsed a candidate who spent most of his allotted time acting like a sullen teenager enduring a family vacation and now it doesn’t want anyone to see its anointed pick in all his disinterested “glory.” That’s pathetic.