Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We Are All Dave McKenna XCIII

Illustration for article titled We Are All Dave McKenna XCIII

Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Dan Snyder's dumbass libel suit locks itself in a garage with the engine running.

Mike Schaffer, the editor of the Washington City Paper was on WTOP radio in DC the other day to talk about the dumbass lawsuit. (Dan Snyder and Tony Wyllie turned down the same invitation.) The following is a transcript of what Schaffer said life is like on the business end of a rich brat's jackboot. This is long but important. Please give it a read:

I thought it was a frivolous lawsuit when it was filed in New York against the fund that owns the company that owns the paper and I think it's a frivolous lawsuit now. And the fact that I as an editor have to spend a significant chunk of my time and we are spending a certain amount of our budget having to fight a frivolous lawsuit instead of getting to do the things that I got into this business to do — cover the District of Columbia, write journalism, tell stories that people care about and that people are going to respond to — I think it's a tragedy. I wish it would stop. We intend to fight. We intend to win. We stand by our story. ...

[Dave McKenna]'s a columnist. He's a very good columnist. And he writes with the kind of brio you'd expect from a columnist. At one point he was discussing the incident with the trees behind [Dan] Snyder's mansion in Potomac. And Dave writes that Dan Snyder 'went all agent orange' on the trees. They're accusing us of literally suggesting that the owner of the Redskins used an illegal Vietnam-era military chemical weapon. Now that to me seems like, well, this is an expression, a euphemism, just the same way as if i were to say [WTOP host] Mark Plotkin really went nuclear about DC statehood that does not mean — for the record, Mark Plotkin did not use a nuclear weapon on behalf of DC statehood or anything else. This is the kind of level of ridiculous, hysterical twisting allegations that this case is. ...

In my mind, nobody reasonably can be expected to think that the CEO of a multi-national, multi-billion dollar company is down there on the front lines doing the work of front-line telemarketers. ... We all know what's happened in this country in the last couple years. The idea that we should say oh, CEOs of companies have no responsibility for the actions of their employees or their agents or their underlings is a really dangerous precedent. ... Snyder's or the team's...PR apparatus' explanations for what we have done wrong have shifted constantly.

This idea that there is something wrong with being persistent in one's coverage of powerful people and that that ought to be punished by the courts just seems completely wrong to me and, as an American, it seems dangerous. ... We've asked [Dan Snyder] any number of times for meetings. I've offered myself to come meet, the publisher to come meet. ... I'm happy to sit down with him anywhere, anyplace. I really do believe that a lot of his complaint is based on a misreading, a misunderstanding of the story. ... My offer, our offer, has not been reciprocated, and that's too bad. This is a guy who has a bunch of radio stations at his disposal. This is a guy who's one of the most attention-getting news figures in the city. He can get his point across. ... He has a football team, my favorite football team, to rebuild. I've got a city to cover. There's no need for this [legal battle]. We've made that as clear as can be, and our offer has been completely rejected. ...

In this country, the mayor doesn't get to pick who the city hall reporter is. The president doesn't get to pick who covers the White House. And the owner of the football team does not get to pick who is the sports reporter. So, yeah, Dave is going to continue to do what he does. ... There would be no point in being a journalist if you sat around cowering before powerful and important people.


Hear, hear. Up Schaffer. Boo [Dan] Snyder. Please help the City Paper fend off petulant CEOs with a donation to the weekly's legal defense fund.

City Paper editor: Snyder suit has 'dangerous' consequences [WTOP]

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