The criticism of the newspaper stemmed from an editorial columnist's online discussion board posting, known as a blog, that criticized City-County Council President Monroe Gray.
The blog referred to Gray and other city Democrats using language that both the Star's editor and elected officials called offensive and unacceptable.
Dennis Ryerson, editor of the Star, said he ordered the posting removed as soon as he became aware of it and apologized on behalf of the paper.
He said the employee who posted the comments is no longer employed by the paper and that the comments did not follow the paper's standards.
"I want the Star to be, like the mayor said of the city, a model of civility," Ryerson said. "The Internet should be a center of electronic dialogue, not diatribe."
of course, the post was "removed" from expresso but remains on the server even today.
gary welsh's reaction to the press conference is predictable. to gary, everything is evidence of an all-encompassing antidemocratic conspiracy by "the carson machine", and this is no exception. in garyzarro world, biddle was fired for daring to criticize the Powers-That-Be, not for throwing around racially offensive language like "coonery". never mind that just yesterday gary admitted that the post in question remained offensive even after the "zip coon" part was removed.
ruth holladay asks whether biddle deserved to be fired, suggesting that ryerson and the star share a large part of the blame for creating an environment where biddle could post such nonsense without an editor's approval. to be sure, this incident is embarrassing for ryerson: not only does the star have trouble keeping racist, offensive comments off its talkback pages, but it can't even prevent its own employees from posting offensive material.
doug thinks rishawn's firing "[s]eems like a bit of a loss" because rishawn "seemed like a nice enough guy". while i'm sure that in his actual day-to-day personal life rishawn is nice enough, i always thought that he came off as a bit of an arrogant, condescending twit in his online posting and debating.
abdul thinks there's a bit of a double standard going, because democrats weren't equally up in arms when city-county council attorney aaron haith referred to abdul as "the grandson of willie lynch". there may be some validity to this, but then again, the two acts are hardly in the same league. as i said in the comments at tdw, haith made a spontaneous, one-sentence, offensive remark. rishawn, in contrast, wrote a nine-paragraph screed that was loaded with offensive language, which he went back and edited four times and yet is still offensive. haith's mistake was arguably a crime of passion done in the heat of the moment; biddle's was clearly premeditated, and directed toward the public. hell, rishawn was so proud of his race-baiting garbage that he sent out an email bragging about it. i have to wonder whether any of this would've even happened if he hadn't sent out that email.
and besides, by complaining about his own incident and not condemning biddle, abdul is being just as partisan and hypocritical as he complains the other side is being. it cuts both ways, chief.
melyssa aka miss ann, as usual, uses this as an opportunity to talk about herself. she is still ranting about how an IFD chief allegedly called her a "bull dyke" months ago. i say "allegedly" because, unlike abdul's complaint, there is no actual evidence that this ever happened. melyssa herself didn't even overhear the comment; some dude said it happened, so that is enough for her to post about it on 20 different blogs for months on end. personally, i have no reason to believe what some dude said, and i am immediately skeptical of any claims that arise from the "bart lies" crowd. but if it actually did happen, then she's right, that's disgusting and worthy of condemnation.
indy undercover unsurprisingly jumps at the chance to complain about "democraps". indyu's argument is the same as abdul's (only not as well-written), but the post is interesting in that the commenters are actually more offensive than rishawn's original post: one of them even makes zip coon jokes. that's classy!
various anonymous commenters at various right-leaning blogs defend rishawn on free-speech grounds, which of course doesn't really apply. rishawn is more than welcome to restart his old blogspot blog and do nothing but reprint lyrics from hair for all anyone cares. but the indy star has no obligation to give him blog space on their servers for his ramblings, nor to cut him a paycheck for doing so. plenty of us are out here blogging for free on our own time—in fact, i really need to finish up this entry and get back to work myself.
that's all the coverage of the issue i've seen online, aside from tdw and other things i've linked to in previous posts. but with this morning's press conference, i wouldn't be surprised if this story sticks around for another news cycle or two.
update: gary welsh is now demanding ryerson's resignation because ryerson attended this morning's press conference. it seems reasonable to me that the editor of the paper might want to appear at a press conference attacking his newspaper, in order to defend himself. but to gary it's an outrage!
2nd update:luke ford (who conducted the infamous "little black book" interview) picks up on rishawn's firing and writes:
I knew RiShawn when he lived in Los Angeles and interviewed him Feb. 25, 2003.
I once wrote that he was the only darkie in a room of pale faces (at a panel at AFI). He reproved me for the word "darkie." He said it was racist. I removed the word.
Biddle worked at Forbes. He was fired when his notes couldn't substantiate one of his stories (quotes). He went to the Los Angeles Business Journal and then to the Indianapolis Star as an editorial writer.
ford also quotes from this column by richard prince about rishawn's firing.¶