Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Journal News asked for 'how many and what types' of guns owned, has now hired Manhattan PR firm

1/15/13, "Recall Point: Journal News FOIA Requests Asked For 'How Many and What Types' of Guns Owned," NewsBusters, Tom Blumer

"The Lower Hudson Valley's Journal News based in White Plains, New York has been very tight-lipped since it published an interactive map showing the names and addresses of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reports that the paper has hired "a Manhattan public relations, marketing and government affairs firm" whose job appears to involve denying interview requests and issuing "no comment" statements.

Predictably, the one media outlet which has been granted access by the Journal News is the New York Times, whose Christine Haughney filed a report on January 6. In that dispatch, she quoted Dwight R. Worley, the "tax reporter" who cooked up the idea of publishing the map, putting forth the following defense of his handiwork: "The people have as much of a right to know who owns guns in their communities as gun owners have to own weapons." How disingenuous, as will be seen after the jump.

Mr. Worley's original Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Westchester, Rockland and one other county (more on that shortly) did not merely ask for names and addresses of permit holders. That's bad enough, but they wanted a lot more, and Mr. Worley knows it.

As I noted on December 26, in what appears to be a claim that it was denied information it believes it should have received (and, one supposes, to tell readers that "hey, it's not so bad, and it could have been worse"), reporter Randi Weiner relayed the following quote from the paper's CynDee Royle, Editor and Vice President/News:
People are concerned about who owns guns and how many of them there are in their neighborhoods. Our Freedom of Information request also sought specifics on how many and what types of weapons people owned. That portion of the request was denied.
So if the Journal News had gotten its way, the world would know not only who has permits, but also how well-armed those permit holders are, as well as who own guns with high street and/or collectible value.

Wow, what a public service. (/sarc)

Putnam County, the third target of the Journal News's FOIA requests, has said it will not provide any information. The Times article cited above reports that Janet Hasson, the paper's editor, "said (they) would continue to press for it." I suppose that means they're still hoping to get lucky and learn about "how many and what types of weapons" Putnam County residents own.

Haughney reported that in the past five years, Journal News "circulation from Monday through Friday fell
from 111,536 in September 2007 to 68,850 in September 2012." I would suggest that area residents and businesses should consider doing all they can to accelerate that decline as long as the paper's current management and editorial teams are in place." via Free Republic

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