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According to this post at Volokh Conspiracy, the op-ed columnist I mentioned in this post below either got wrong or made up many of the details of his story; at the very least, it's not nearly as bad as it initially sounded.

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  1. Damn, you mean I wrote non-teen poetry for Jeff Clothier for nothing?

  2. Sounds like something that needs to be hashed out in court.

  3. There was indeed a ceremony held to receive a flag that had been flown in the war theatre and donated to the school. A student read a poem written by a soldier serving in Iraq. The “shut your face” reference is part of this poem.

    “Shut your face”-isn’t that from the fifth canto of “Childe Harold’s Pilgramage?”

  4. There are bits of non-denial denial in there, too, so I wouldn’t be too quick to say this is how it really went down.

    The writer of the Daytona News-Journal piece is a veteran retired journalist and not just some yahoo doing a right-side, and as he mentions in his first paragraph, a friend of the teacher at the center of this.

    The News-Journal piece has continued to run on the paper’s website without corrections; the letter from the school board and their attached official statement from the student poet and daughter of a schools employee don’t dispute much of the substance of the chain of events Hill reported. Rather, they focus on peripheral details an out-of-state reporter got wrong, tout some of the school’s partial legal victories in the case as a refutation of the whole thing, and make the specious claim that the paper didn’t do any fact-checking when in fact the parties the paper would have likely called can’t very well talk to the press in the middle of a legal battle.

    I expect we’ll be hearing from Hill again on this. I don’t reckon old reporters like to be told they did as bad a job as the Rio Rancho school board insinuates he has.

  5. Especially telling is that the young lady (Courtney…?) claims that her intellectual property rights were violated when her altered verse was posted online, without her permission.

    I know many have a problem with copyright, but a high school student is not the RIAA.

    Kevin

  6. Regardless of how the details of the story unfold, it was brave and wise of you to post the rebuttal as promininently as you did the original story.

    This is a practice which should be, but is not, followed by every journalistic organization.

  7. I expect we’ll be hearing from Hill again on this. I don’t reckon old reporters like to be told they did as bad a job as the Rio Rancho school board insinuates he has

    You seem to think that it’s a big deal that he’s a retired journalist. Why? The profession of journalism has no standards for honesty, accuracy, or ethical behavior. A retired journalist is no more likely to be fair, accurate, or truthful than a retired garbage collector. This goes double when they’re “reporting” on something that happened to a friend (something which would, in most professions, constitute an automatic ethics violation).

    Both the abusive principal and his supposed “victim” have refuted most of Hill’s claims. Furthermore, several aspects of the story have been objectively refuted. That’s good enough for me.

  8. There are bits of non-denial denial in there, too, so I wouldn’t be too quick to say this is how it really went down.

    There are far many more specific articulations of factual error that sound credible — and should be easy enough for the newspaper to either validate or dismiss.

    The writer of the Daytona News-Journal piece is a veteran retired journalist and not just some yahoo doing a right-side

    Being a “a veteran retired journalist” does not automatically preclude him from also being “some yahoo doing a right-side.”

    and as he mentions in his first paragraph, a friend of the teacher at the center of this.

    Red flag. Even a “veteran retired journalist” should understand the ethical concerns that arise from writing about friends, family etc. The relationship potentially biases his coverage. Disclosing it doesn’t eliminate the bias.

    The News-Journal piece has continued to run on the paper’s website without corrections

    Absence of correction does not signify absence of error — or even that the newspaper has concluded no errors occurred.

    the letter from the school board and their attached official statement from the student poet and daughter of a schools employee don’t dispute much of the substance of the chain of events Hill reported.

    To the contrary, the letter provides a bulleted list of five specific factual errors that, taken in context with perceived or actual bias of the “veteran retired journalist” given his relationship with the aggrieved source, cast doubt on the whole piece.

    Rather, they focus on peripheral details an out-of-state reporter got wrong, tout some of the school’s partial legal victories in the case as a refutation of the whole thing, and make the specious claim that the paper didn’t do any fact-checking when in fact the parties the paper would have likely called can’t very well talk to the press in the middle of a legal battle.

    There’s nothing specious about it. If neither the “veteran retired journalist” nor anyone else at the paper called the school district, they published a one-sided story that is biased on its face. When that’s layered on top of the previous concerns — multiple factual errors, reporter’s personal relationship with the accusing source — it’s a journalistic cluster-fuck.

    I expect we’ll be hearing from Hill again on this. I don’t reckon old reporters like to be told they did as bad a job as the Rio Rancho school board insinuates he has.

    The ball is certainly in his court. More than “insinuating” he did a bad job, the school district has spelled out specific errors and biases that not only rebut his story, but refute it. The onus now is on Hill to either provide his own refutation or publish a correction.

    Now, my own disclosure: I have no connection to any of the parties nor any other information about this case outside the links here. I am, however, a former journalist with a selfish concern for the reputation of the general population of “veteran retired reporters” (to say nothing of retired veteran reporters and retired reporters who are veterans).

  9. Amen to Will’s comment!

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