What’s Up in the Neighborhood, January 23 2021

Good morning, everybody. Sadly, as much as I would love to start today’s blog postwith the recaps, I need to address something that happened to one of my fellow former Times Union independent bloggers.

For this, I’ll immediately ask you to read Rob Madeo’s “Keyboard Krumbs” blog, “This One’s for the Bloggers.

Lale Davidson wrote a blog from time to time on TU’s community blogs page. Recently, she wrote a satirical piece on NY-21 representative Elise Stefanik, which pretty much showed Stefanik as the Trump-worshipping demagogue that she is. Stefanik went ballistic when she heard about the post, especially the part that referred to the representative as “childless.”

And sure enough, the Times Union did what they’ve done in the past. They yanked the blog post and suspended Davidson’s TU account.

This is a pattern with the TU. They talk about communication between the bloggers and the staff, but in the end, if someone gets their knickers in a twist, the TU kabongs the blogger. Bad blogger, shame on you.

Pfft.

This isn’t the first time that the TU’s done this. I’d argue it’s at least the fifth time to my memory, one of those times was to me. And for me, once was enough. Because the minute the TU suspended my account (oh, dare I post about Kellyanne Conway being a commencement speaker at UAlbany on April Fool’s Day), I knew right then and there that they wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire.

And what hurt worse than that was when TU Editor Rex Smith went on WAMC the next day and trashed me for writing it. Oh, bad Chuck. Bad Chuck who wrote a piece that could tear down the world of journalism. Bad, Bad Chuck.

Yep. So “Bad Chuck” left. And so did many others, some in solidarity with me, others who just had enough with the TU’s sanctimonious horseshit.

And then the TU trashed Heather Fazio, who had one of the most popular independent blogs on the TU platform. She wrote about her #metoo experience, how she survived a sexual assault, and the TU responded by suggesting that what she wrote was offensive and pornographic, and yanked her off the platform. They shut down Fran Rossi Szpylczyn’s blog for a time as well over her same revelations of surviving abuse in the #metoo movement.

And they jerked around J. Eric Smith’s blog by running political ads on his blog, when he expressly asked them not to (it would affect his employment at the time to show any sort of political representation or bias). But no, the TU is the TU, kabong for you.

The crazy thing is, the TU had a vibrant opportunity to promote its community voices. Trust me, the blathering troika of Steve Barnes, Kristi Barlette and Chris Churchill get stale real fast. And after blogfarmer Mike Huber left the paper in 2017, his replacement on the blogfarm, Shannon Fromma (also known as the “Shopportunist”), was too busy clipping coupons to actually mentor or communicate with the bloggers until it was time to suspend them for whatever reason.

It’s probably why, despite the TU’s begging and pleading for new bloggers to join the blogging platform, they haven’t received any new voices or talent on their pages. Right now, the only three independent voices that are left on the TU blog platform are Lawrence White, Rob Hoffman and David Kalish, and of those three, only Rob Hoffman has recently published posts.

So, yeah. Did Lale Davidson go over the line by suggesting, in a satirical blog, that Elise Stefanik chose politics over children? That’s not my call. It’s satire. But did the TU have to make a grand blather about it and freeze the blogger’s account and then trash her in the New York Post for writing it? No, they didn’t. That’s where I have a big problem with the TU. Ugh.

Have a great weekend, everybody. And for the remaining Times Union community bloggers … it’s time to leave that portal, set up your own WordPress site, and send me a link so I can add you to my blogroll. đŸ˜€