Friday, February 18, 2005

The Post's Poison Pen

I don't get the appeal of gossip columns. I don't understand why they're necessary. What purpose do they serve? None that I can see.

This past weekend, my wife and I saw the recent movie "Hitch." One of the main characters is a gossip columnist, and we're supposed to care when she misses a gossipy scoop about who appears with whom at glitzy New York parties. Sorry, I don't care. I can't. I found it difficult to have any sympathy for a character whose career choice involved revealing personal things about people whose only crime is that they accidently crossed her path. (That is, when they weren't being stalked by her.)

As if to confirm my impressions that gossip columnists are among the lowest form of life found in the world of journalism, The New York Post's "Page Six" gossip column recently unleashed its poison pen on former Post copy editor, Dawn Eden. (See here and here.)

Eden was fired from the Post, officially for blogging on company time, but unofficially for inserting her "extremist pro-life views" into an article by Susan Edelman.

Last week the New York Observer did a flattering profile on Eden (no longer available on their website . . . I'm searching for a cached version) which presented her side of the firing. In apparent retaliation, the Post decided to run this gossip piece on Eden and the writer of the Observer profile. For what purpose? None, except to further smear a former employee.

Oddly, the smear appears only in the online version of the Post. However, it does confirm the true reason Eden got fired -- not for the "official" reason, but for the unofficial one. To quote the Post piece: ". . . she was fired from The Post for improperly rewriting a news story to reflect her rabid anti-abortion views."

Time to call the lawyers, Ms. Eden.


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