Friday, September 01, 2006

Bad People

Ordinary Time

On Wednesday, the Lexington Herald-Leader published three law firm ads targeted at the families of the victims of Flight 5191. It is illegal for lawyers to approach victims and their families for 45 days after a crash. All legal ads must be submitted to the Kentucky Bar Association for approval at the same time they are sent to press, and newspapers generally do not wait for approval. After the KBA ruled against the ads, they were pulled. However, think that editorial constrait should have been practiced, but it wasn't. Yesterday the paper's publisher, Tim Kelly, offered a piece defending the decision. You can read it here.

It is not an apology, but a defense. While I can't argue that newspaper publishing standards should have constrained him, and I do realize that the Kentucky Bar Association had not yet ruled on the legality of those ads, it was an ugly thing to do. Mr. Kelly invokes the First Amendment, as if it some way compelled him to publish the ads which had been submitted. The Bill of Rights exists to protect the rights of citizens (and indeed newspapers!) from government censorship. It is not "censorship" to exercise editorial prerogative and refuse to run particular advertisements.

I have written Mr. Kelly voicing my opinion, and have just gotten off the phone with subscription services. I have immediately cancelled my subscription, and I would urge you to do the same. Do give them a call at 1-800-999-8881. Other reader responses have been published here and here. [edit] As I caveat, I told Mr. Kelly that if he issued an apology rather than a defense, I'd pick it back up again.

I hope the Courier-Journal is a good paper...

4 comments:

D. P. said...

Yikes! Good for you for cancelling your subscription. I fear, however, that you'll be disappointed with the C-J, for which the border of Kentucky ends a the Jefferson county line.

Scott M. Collins said...

I used to live in the DC area and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Washington Post even though most of the content was online. However, I figure here in Lexington you might be more satisfied with simply keeping up with the news via the internet.

Kyle said...

Honestly, I clip coupons. :0)

Bryan said...

I would cancel my subscription but alas, I've already made that phone call back a few months ago. Dang it!