UPDATE, 9:10 PM
From Will Pflaum: I really want to be clear that I respect law enforcement. They are the good guys, I hope.
If you live in our area and you bother to read the Register-Star or the Daily Mail, you know that they do not meet the highest standards of journalistic excellence. It’s arguable whether they even meet the bar set by the lowest common denominator. The recent Tom Casey firing imbroglio, and Publisher Roger Coleman’s ludicrously self-serving front page rationale for it, simply underscored how badly readers and our region are served.
There are several local blogs that do a far better job of reporting honest news than our so-called newspapers. Among them are Jim Romenesko.com, SamPratt.com and Hudson Sunshine. Unfortunately, the last of these has just been shut down.
You’ll remember that in Part 2 of this “Going Backward” series I commended Hudson Sunshine blogger Will Pflaum for going after municipal attorney Tal Rappleyea and his highly questionable billing practices. His reporting was picked up by the Times Union (a newspaper several rungs up the journalistic ladder from the Register Star & the Daily Mail), the result of Pflaum’s extensive and expensive, FOIL-based investigation. Now Pflaum has gone after other officials who’ve displayed questionable ethical behavior. One of them apparently had the clout to have law enforcement step in and “express concern” about Pflaum’s latest charges. The fact that law enforcement would do this is of course ironic, not to mention worrisome.
I contacted Will Pflaum, and here is what he had to say:
Local law enforcement has informed me they have concerns about some of the matters and sources in my recent posts. Pending a resolution of this matter, I have temporarily removed access to the Hudson Sunshine blog. My expectation is that law enforcement will pursue the issues I have raised to a successful conclusion. Whether or not that occurs, Hudson Sunshine will eventually return and I will report the outcome then.
UPDATE, 5:40 PM
NB: Here’s a corrective update from Will Pflaum, sent after this post went live:
I would just say I’m down pending a law enforcement investigation. I’m hoping the cops are the good guys and they didn’t ask me to do it … exactly.
This entire scenario just seems flat-out wrong in 21st century America. If someone felt Pflaum had published something false or defamatory about him or her, the typical recourse should be an attorney’s office, not a police station.
Countries like China and Iran pressure websites they don’t like—the police in upstate New York should not be doing the same thing. Nevertheless, it seems Mr. Pflaum made the decision to take his site down.