Chris Quinn's Thunderous Silence Spurs Theories Over the NEOMG's Gubernatorial Endorsement Video

By now, we and dozens of other local/regional/national news outlets and blogs have jumped all over the NEOMG editorial board for its limp-wristed "endorsement interview" and subsequent deletion of the video of same. That's not to mention the pounding that Gov. John Kasich's camp has taken for the incumbent coming off so arrogantly in the "interview" itself.

If it sounds like a headache, it is — but the questions being raised are important, and the silence from VP of digital content Chris Quinn and Co. is deafening. 

Tomorrow is Election Day and, per the NEOMG endorsement, everyone (as far as the company line accounts) at the region's biggest news company is pulling for a Kasich victory. This video kind of gets in the way of that goal. 

Jay Rosen, a professor at NYU and noted media critic, has put forth a theory that lays the blame on all parties here. An excerpt:
Why does [Quinn] choose the stone wall? Because he knows what it will look like: that he caved under pressure from the Kasich campaign and unpublished his own organization’s work. In his mind, it’s journalistically okay because the audio is there. But he knows that some will (again, in his mind) misinterpret a series of unfortunate events, and he cannot allow that. So he decides to tough it out. 
Scene's theory remains one of editorial embarrassment — that the board realized its endorsement doesn't square very well with how Kasich answered the questions. 

Jim Romenesko, media critic and widely read blogger, didn't posit any ideas about why the video was taken down, but his post about the news has certainly gotten plenty of attention.

Commenters at his site and all over the place have tossed their own theories into the mix.

But that's all the public is left with: theories. Quinn has declined comment, and "Reader Rep" Ted Diadiun hasn't taken up the task of reporting on this. (His only column since the scandal broke was about Ebola.) He told Rosen that only Quinn can answer questions about the video — despite Diadiun's job literally involving him asking questions of newspaper employees and reporting the facts to the public.

The Columbia Journalism Review concludes its story like so:
Give NEOMG the benefit of the doubt, and assume for the sake of argument that the video was removed for good reason, like one of the scenarios mooted here. Or, even, the scenario outlined by Rosen here. It should be a straightforward thing for a news organization—especially one that prides itself on engagement!—to offer an explanation.
Rosen has called this "one of the strangest media stories I've ever blogged about." 

And it's one that, if the NEOMG gets its wish, will disappear tomorrow. Unlikely this time around, though.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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