NEOMG Explains Decision to Remove Gubernatorial Endorsement Video

More than a week after removing from its website a video of the only debate between the three candidates for Ohio governor, the Northeast Ohio Media Group is offering an explanation:

The news outlet didn’t alert candidates ahead of time that a video of their interview with the Plain Dealer editorial board would be published.

That’s according to Ted Diadun, the news outlet’s reader representative.

“When the governor's staff saw the video on cleveland.com later that day, they were chagrined, and contacted NEOMG to ask what happened,” Diadun wrote in a column published online today.

Diadun wrote that Chris Quinn, NEOMG’s vice president of content, had planned to tell the campaigns they would be on camera, but didn’t.

Quinn, Diadun wrote, “concluded that the candidates had been unintentionally misled, and he ultimately decided fairness compelled him to take it down, which he did on Oct. 24, about 30 hours after the video was originally posted.”

Earlier this week, spokespeople for the FitzGerald and Kasich campaigns told ideastream they hadn’t been given a heads-up that the interviews would be video recorded — but said they hadn’t asked for the video to come down.

At the time, Quinn did not respond to a request to confirm the campaigns’ stories.

The column was met with disappointment by two widely read writers who had been calling for NEOMG to explain the video’s erasure.

Connie Schultz, a journalist who once worked for the Plain Dealer, wrote on Facebook that deleting the video was “indefensible.”

She called the reasoning that the candidates didn’t expect to be filmed “an astonishing claim, in my view, with the proliferation of trackers and cell phone cameras in politics today. The mantra in every high-profile campaign: Everything you say is material. Period.”

NYU professor and media critic Jay Rosen wrote that Quinn’s decision favored “fairness to a powerful governor, John Kasich, a possible presidential candidate in 2016,” adding, “Fairness to readers and voters could wait.”

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