Today it is our pleasure to print the letter the Rep refuses to publish--a letter from long-time Rep commenter Don Cirelli taking the paper to task for allowing its online edition to become dog box for anonymous posters practicing character assassination for the fun of it. A few hours after the letter was sent, Cirelli received an email from Rep editor Jeff Gauger informing him the Rep did not intend to publish it.
Cirelli's experience, as documented in his letter, illustrates the disregard the current Rep management holds toward its readership. Spirited discussions and even flame wars are tolerable and can even by fun. Accusing individuals of criminals acts and worse, from behind a veil of anonymity is not. The number of people who have stopped reading "comments" or even the Repository is unknown, but it's no mystery why the smears don't make it into the print edition.
Here is he letter the Rep doesn't want you to read:
As a daily reader of your paper and participant in your cantonrep online comments section, I am greatly perturbed by an abusive situation that has been allowed to go on ever since you permitted people to us pen names in your online forum. At least five times this past week, some person, or persons have committed outright libel in the comments section.
First, someone insinuated that a local politico stole money from a neighborhood association. I found out who made the comment and forwarded her identity to the individual she slandered. Then, someone implied that another local officeholder had stolen money from his employer. As if that wasn't enough slander for this individual to commit, he (or she) then implied (falsely) that I had been fired from my job because of criminal behavior.
That particular attack caused me to call Allen Schulman to discuss a possible lawsuit against this individual. Now, the latest tidbit from this rotten slanderer is the claim that a local judge indulged in illegal drugs in the 1970s, including LSD. I am sick to death of these phony names being used as a shield for malicious individuals to hide behind as they commit outright libel against people in this community. Mr. Gauger -please don't ever write another editorial discussing the "professional ethics" of your business. Not while you are allowing your news medium to used as a vehicle to destroy the reputations of local citizens.
I have spoken to you and your publisher about this by phone. You hung up on me, and your publisher was as casual and non-chalant about this situation as he could possibly be. Your attitude about this is shameful.