Thursday, May 04, 2006

AP's Reason For Firing Vermont Bureau Chief Christopher Graff Revealed

But Termination Letter and Subsequent Fallout Beg Question of Real Reason for Ouster
So, now we have a tiny peek into what led the Associated Press to give Christopher Graff, their Vermont chief who was one of the Green Mountain State's top journalists, an unceremonial boot from his job in March.
The tipping point was -- as was widely suspected -- Graff putting on the wire an op-ed by Sen. Patrick Leahy that promoted open access to information in conjunction with Sunshine Week.
Graff has to abide by his severance agreement, and isn't commenting beyond this letter, which the AP allowed him to release. And the wire service is using its "personnel matter" excuse to clam up.
What's left unexplained is how could running the Leahy column be a firable offense when a similar column from Leahy in conjunction with Sunshine Week ran on the wire last year with nary a complaint from Graff's overseers.
Journalists love to hold others accountable, but often shriek like a vampire confronted with the dawn's early light when asked to explain their own actions.
The AP's self-righteous stance in canning Graff while not giving a real reason for why a 27-year veteran of the wire is no longer worthy of their employ calls into account the very credibility it professes to cherish not only with its media members but those whose activities they cover.

Leahy, for one, is not taking this lightly. As he stated in Editor & Publisher:

Those of us in public life never agree with all the news coverage we receive. But within the two rough-and-tumble professions of public service and journalism, I have never heard anything but praise about Chris Graff for his professionalism and his evenhandedness, and he has earned that praise.

If Pat Leahy doesn't have a problem, then the AP should have no trouble following suit.

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