Washington City Paper editor Michael Schaffer today criticized Redskins owner Dan Snyder for failing to discuss his complaints directly with him before filing his defamation suit against the paper’s owner.
Snyder is suing City Paper’s corporate parent for libel, claiming that a November column by veteran sportswriter Dave McKenna falsely accused him of being a “criminal” and “made fun of” his wife.
Schaffer contends that the piece – “The Cranky Redskins Fans Guide to Dan Snyder” – did none of the things the oft-criticized owner is alleging, and he said the lawsuit has exposed the piece to whole new audience. Most of the public reaction – from newspaper columnists, bloggers, fans posting on Web sites, and talk radio – has been anti-Snyder. Some critics of the suit have contributed to a fund set up to defray the alternative weekly’s legal expenses.
Today on NewsTalk, Schaffer said he’s had numerous meetings with people upset with something that has appeared in City Paper. He said in the case of Snyder, he would happily have given him space in the paper to respond, with a teaser on the cover to draw readers’ attention. But, Schaffer contends, Snyder never contacted him, instead going three levels up the corporate food chain with his litigation.
Part 1 of our interview with Michael Schaffer re-airs today at 6pm & 8:30pm on TBD. Part 2 is here:
We also talked today with Ingrid Turner, chairwoman of the Prince George’s County Council. She declared that Prince George’s “is safe,” despite the surge in homicides in early January. She expressed faith in interim Police Chief Mark Magaw, though she would not comment on whether Executive Rushern Baker should make him the permanent chief. Turner talked up the need for more community involvement.
The Council has been accused of “blocking” ethics reform legislation proposed by Baker in the wake of the arrest of former Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie, now a member of the Council. Turner did her best to avoid commenting on the two bills either way, saying they have yet to be filed officially. That would appear to be a false claim, since one of the bills is here and the other is here.
In any event, the general gist of Baker’s bills has been public for weeks. He announced them at a press conference. His office distributed a press release. And he’s done numerous media interviews. Clearly, there’s been plenty of time for Turner and her colleagues to form some kind of opinion about the proposals and to possible alternatives.
The chairwoman said the Council supports the goal of reform but wants to make sure that the public’s representatives are able to weigh in when development projects are proposed.
Turner said she is meeting with the heads of the county’s House and Senate delegations tonight and would be happy to discuss the issue of ethics again in the future. (She also volunteered that Leslie Johnson is doing a fabulous job, despite having her clout diminished by her colleagues following her arrest.)
We also talked about last week’s news that budget concerns may force the Prince George’s County Schools to lay off more than 1,100 workers. Some parents and teachers have come forward to urge Superintendent Hite to find other ways of closing the gap. Here’s Turner’s take on that:
Part 1 of my interview with Ingrid Turner will re-air today at 6pm & 8:30pm on TBD on NewsChannel 8.