News from Patrick Flynn

Bad Press?

By now many readers already know that Brendan Joel Kelley, erstwhile editor of the Anchorage Press, was fired this morning.  Change happens, and hopefully this will ultimately turn out well for Brendan, whom I consider a friend, but what I know about the situation is troubling to me.

My understanding of the circumstances is that a restaurant review appearing in the Thursday, October 13, edition of the Press had a less-than-favorable review of an establishment that also advertises in that paper.  On Friday a representative of said business contacted the Press and the article was subsequently removed from the paper’s web site without Brendan’s input.  When he found out, Brendan ordered the article to be re-posted and was subsequently overruled, which led to some sort of argument culminating in a conference call this morning where Brendan got the axe.

As I mentioned, Brendan is a friend – after all, I did host his wedding at my home – so naturally I’m concerned for his well-being and I’m confident he’ll find another opportunity soon.  And while I didn’t always agree with what the Press wrote about me (I recall a reporter writing some not-so-nice things about my being the lone vote against an ordinance that was later found unconstitutional and then failing to acknowledge that little factoid), I found Brendan to be fair and effective at engaging folks on all sides of issues.  But given what I know of this matter I have to question the editorial integrity of the Press.

That’s not a theoretical issue; consider this:

Representatives of businesses that advertise in the Press are periodically engaged in issues before the Assembly and, from time to time, they’ve disagreed with my approach to issues in which they have had interests.  If advertisers can, apparently, influence editorial content what’s to stop them from pushing coverage that reflects me in a negative light?  I’m not afraid of bad press – goodness knows I get plenty of it in commentary from right-leaning outlets – but it’s tougher to deal with attacks masquerading as neutral reporting.

Given that, my inclination is to decline comment to Press reporters and editors pending satisfactory evidence of editorial neutrality.  After all, it’s only fair…



This contribution was made on Monday, 17. October 2011 at 17:12 and was published under the category Other. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Thank you Patrick for a thoughtful eye towards Brendan Joel Kelly Hellenthal’s firing. If the judgement of a paper’s editor is based on the content and thoughtfulness of its articles, Brendan did an excellent job. I’m sorry to see him go.

    Comment: Peggy Wilcox – 17. October 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  2. Thank you. How kind of you to put this out there.

    Comment: Margy Johnson – 18. October 2011 @ 9:07 am

  3. A newspaper’s currency is a truthful reputation. The Anchorage Press is now officially bankrupt.
    Thank you Patrick and thank you Brendan Joel Kelley. You can’t eat principles but you shouldn’t be able to be so comfortable without them as the Anchorage Press has turned out to be on this occasion. How can we trust anything they say…….

    Comment: c.j. boehle – 19. October 2011 @ 9:14 am

  4. Patrick,

    I think you owe your readers a link to the Press story you are cpomplaining about. I think it’s the one below. I know I did not report the story exactly the way you’d like me to, but I don’t do that for politicians.
    I don’t do that for anyone.
    Do you mean the restraining order was a finding of unconstitutionality? Or did you mean I should predict a future finding of unconstitutionality and put that in my story? I’m confused. Why would you reference a “not-so-nice” depiciton of yourself, or of anyone, in a post about Brendan?
    Is the link below the right story?

    Comment: Scott Christiansen – 22. October 2011 @ 11:59 am

  5. Scott,

    That’s the story all right, and if I’d been able to find it on your web site I would’ve happily linked to it but the Press’ search function didn’t do the job.

    As to why I’d reference it, I did so to demonstrate that even if the Press said irrational things about me (Insinuating I’m a political extremist? You know better than that…) I presumed it was professional, not personal, and didn’t let it interfere with my relationships with the authors/editors of those words.


    Comment: Patrick Flynn – 22. October 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  6. The stupidity of the big bosses at the Press is astounding. Brendan was about the last remaining reason to read the Press.

    Comment: Donna – 23. October 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  7. Patrick,

    The story does not imply you are an extremist. In fact, the question in the lede graph asks if you had found yourself in a position “normally reserved for extremists” by making yourself a minority of one. Maybe it’s not the best sentence, because one reader, the subject, has an interpretation that is 180-degrees off.

    More importantly, friends of BJK should scroll down his Facebook walll for his new phone number. Then call him. You might wait until the Raiders game is over.

    Comment: Scott Christiansen – 23. October 2011 @ 1:52 pm

  8. I read the Press because I thought it couldn’t be bought….I am disappointed. Sylvia Condy

    Comment: sylvia condy – 24. October 2011 @ 12:24 am

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