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Judith Townend wondered on her blog Meeja Law “when does a newspaper’s comment become its opinion?”

She blogged that she saw a Twitter exchange between Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger and Salon’s Glenn Greenwald.  Greenwald had tweeted commenting on this column by James Richardson. The column was published under The Guardian’s “Comment is free” section and asserted via an update-correction that The Guardian “placed in the public domain” a 2009 diplomatic cable about Zimbabwe.

“It would be surprising if Richard’s [sic] argument was the Guardian’s own view,” Townend wrote, noting that Richardson is neither on staff at the Guardian nor anonymous.  However, she noted that Greenwald and Rusbridger tweeted back and forth as Greenwald asked about how the “Comment is free” section works.  He asked if The Guardian decides whose work is put on the “Comment is free” section and if The Guardian edits or approves work.

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In response, Rusbridger tweeted that “Comment is free” is “v different fm ‘any other newspaper Oped'”  [v different fm = very different from] and that it was “a bit like” Open Salon, which Greenwald wrote is “fully open to anyone & unedited.”  Rusbridger wrote “not exactly the same.”

Townend wondered “how should a newspaper make the distinction for its readers” between commentary not sponsored per se by the newspaper and the newspaper’s stated editorial or opinion stance. Read her whole post here.

 

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