Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Sense: 1 - Arizona Attorney General: 0

I wrote over the weekend about the ridiculous attempt of Arizona's Attorney General Terry Goddard to force Gannett Corporation to continue to publish the Tucson Citizen newspaper. Goddard claimed the shutdown of the paper violated anti-trust laws and would deprive "thousands of readers and subscribers" of an alternative editorial voice to the Arizona Daily Star.

A federal judge denied the AG's request for a restraining order and ruled “at this point the state has failed to show the likelihood of success at trial that the defendant committed an antitrust violation that caused irreparable harm by closing the Tucson Citizen.”

The U.S. Justice Department raised no objections to the closure and ending the Joint Operating Agreement agreement that allowed the Citizen and the Daily Star to share business and printing operations. Gannett and Lee Enterprises (which owns the Daily Star) informed the DoJ last October of their intention to end their Joint Operating Agreement if no buyer could be found for the Citizen. Gannet plans to continue operating the paper online.

So it appears there is justice and good sense to be found in the world, if not in the AG's office. A spokeswoman for Goddard, Anne Hilby told Daily Star reporter Dale Quinn that the AG is reviewing "how best to proceed with the anti-trust litigation."

How about letting it go?

I found it fascinating that while the AG is trying to protect 1970s-era journalism, his spokeswoman responded to the reporter's questions about the ruling via email.

If the staff in the Attorney General's office can interact with the public using information age tools, why can't the Tucson Citizen?

Bill Salvin

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