An ousted critic who charged that he was removed from his beat because of critical coverage has lost a lawsuit against his newspaper and the Cleveland Orchestra.
A jury ruled Friday in favor of the defense on all three counts in the lawsuit filed by 56-year-old Donald Rosenberg. The orchestra reviewer was removed from his beat at the Plain Dealer in 2008.
The jury ruled in favor of The Musical Arts Association, which runs the orchestra, on charges of defamation and interference with employment and in favor of the newspaper on an age discrimination charge.
More here and here. FWIW, it doesn't sound like the reporter's case had much merit, though there's no question that the Mistake on the Lake is very tetchy about the unparalleled spectacularness of its scrappy band of orchestra players.
I'm also gonna go out on a limb here and say this sort of battle is not going to help Cleveland move into the 20th century, much less the 21st. Indeed, Cleveland's whole problem may be that people there won't STFU about orchestras that are incapable of supporting themselves. From Reason's account of How to Save Cleveland:
You want a quick indicator of urban decline in any city you visit? Ask a local what's great about the place. If the top three answers include "a world-class symphony orchestra," you're smack dab in the middle of a current or future ghost town.
This orchestra axiom is something I divined while working on Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey, an hour-long documentary you can see at reason.tv/cleveland. Time and again, I'd ask Clevelanders—a proud breed beaten down by decades of lake-effect snow, economic degradation, population decline, and gridiron disasters worthy of T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland ("I had not thought death had undone so many")—to tell me what was still top-notch about their hometown. It didn't matter if I was talking to a CEO or a homeless man, a bar owner or a barfly. The inevitable reply: "We've got a world-class symphony orchestra," typically embellished with some transparently phony claim about how it compares to those in other cities ("It's in the top 15 or 20 in the world!"), as if orchestras are regularly ranked like NCAA basketball teams.
Such are the thin straws at which residents in drowning cities grasp.
Watch Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey, our pathbreaking documentary series.