[UPDATE: Don't miss the updates to this post -- in particular UPDATE x3. Bottom line: the blogger said, in parenthetical remarks to comments, that it would be censorship not to blog about Edwards's denial. Then the L.A. Times removed the post. Then I posted this post, and e-mailed the blogger to ask why his post had disappeared. Within minutes, they put a shorter version of the same post back up. Then they removed the blogger's parenthetical observations that it would be censorship not to blog about this! In other words, they censored the blogger, and then censored the blogger's view that it was censorship! What in the world is going on?? I have retold this story here, with a clearer timeline.]
The other night I noted that, shortly after John Edwards denied rumors of an extramarital affair, the issue had been discussed in a blog on the L.A. Times web site.
Well, guess what? It’s gone now — with no explanation for (or acknowledgement of) the deletion.
The post in question was available at this link. Following that link now brings up an error message reading: “The requested URL /washington/2007/10/breaking-news-j.html was not found on this server.” Perusing through the blog itself, one sees that the October 11 post is entirely missing.
This is bad form. When a blogger takes down an entire post, there should generally be an explanation as to why it happened. Bloggers should not simply take posts down and pretend that they were never published.
But I have a feeling that it wasn’t the blogger’s decision to take down the post.
Here is why I say that. One of the commenters lectured blogger Andrew Malcolm for putting up the post. He responded within the comment, using language that seems mighty ironic now that the post is gone. Here is the comment, with blogger Malcolm’s response circled:
I remember seeing several more comments along the same lines, and virtually every one had a similar response from Mr. Malcolm.
I have sent an e-mail to Mr. Malcolm asking why the post was taken down. In light of his comment to Ellen, I have a feeling it wasn’t Mr. Malcolm’s decision to censor his post.
Let’s see if he’s willing to talk to me about it.
Here is a screenshot of the post for posterity:
UPDATE: Well, that’s plenty odd. Eleven minutes after I published this post, and nine minutes after I e-mailed Mr. Malcolm, commenter Itsme reported that the L.A. Times post had reappeared — albeit in much shorter form — with this explanatory note:
(This item was originally posted Thursday evening, Oct. 11. It was removed by an editor Friday but was reposted Saturday in a shortened form.)
Interesting. I’d love to know the story behind this.
UPDATE x2: Since Mickey Kaus has been following the Edwards story, I notified him about this. Here is his blogged reaction:
Why it will be hard to blog for the L.A. Times: You post something juicy on Thursday and then a middle-management twit will come in and censor it on Friday. … Suggested solution for Mr. Zell: Attrit the twit!
Heh. Thanks to Mickey for the link.
UPDATE x3: Itsme now points out that the parenthetical responses in the comments, justifying the need for the post, are now all gone. Such as, for example, the one preserved for posterity in the first screenshot above, in which Mr. Malcolm says it would be “censoring” content not to be talking about Edwards’s denial.
Fascinating. I’m starting to think I won’t hear from Mr. Malcolm in response to my e-mail . . . There’s just too much here to explain.