The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s readers representative Ted Diadiun explained in a Feb. 12 column why the newspaper published a story about “something that didn’t happen.”
The story (see here) said: “The Plain Dealer is denying a claim by Cleveland Right to Life Inc. that the newspaper refused to publish a letter written last week by Bishop Richard Lennon of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.” According to that story, the Plain Dealer wrote Feb. 1 “about the letter and quoted excerpts from it, but did not print the entire letter.”
However, even though “no one from the diocese asked The Plain Dealer to publish the letter,” according to Plain Dealer managing editor Thomas Fladung, the group Cleveland Right to Life Inc. claimed the newspaper “refused to publish” the letter. Since then, the Plain Dealer “has received lots of requests from readers to publish the letter” and the newspaper has published it here. The letter, by the bishop, responded to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services order concerning contraception and was read at Cleveland Masses.
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The Plain Dealer’s Diadiun explained that “it’s likely editors would have agreed” to publish the letter in full to begin with “if the bishop had made a specific request.” He added that “refusal” might be the wrong word because “a refusal infers a request and a consequent rejection.” That said, he still argued that the newspaper should have reported on the letter earlier because of its newsworthiness.
UPDATE: 2/13/2012 1:51 PM EST: Updated to provide more information about the topic of the letter.