The Woodstock Times gets righteous

Surefire way to arouse the righteous ire of a newspaper type, in three easy steps:

1. Commit some mildly salacious act.

2. Make a ham-fisted attempt at covering it up.

3. When caught by a reporter, (a.) beg them not to write a story, and when that doesn't work, (b.) threaten on vague and baseless grounds to sue them if they do.

This works on newsrooms large and small, from the mild-mannered community weekly to the bloodthirsty, tabloidelicious New York Post. Hint for would-be miscreants: If you're already past 2., it's too late to avoid having your name in the paper. All you can do at this point is try to spin the story your way. And by the time you get to 3(b.), your friendly neighborhood inky wretch will have transformed into something like an angry Doberman pinscher with a great Rolodex.

Case in point: Woodstock Times editor Brian Hollander, who recently caught James Dougherty, the chair of the town Ethics Board (!) writing letters to the editor under a pseudonym in support of the controversial RUPCO development project in Bradley Meadows. It seems Dougherty was a little unclear on the concept of not being allowed to "speak out on issues" because of his role on the Ethics Board.

Not only did Hollander write a juicy editorial outing Dougherty as the pseudonymous letter-writer, his column was featured on Romenesko, a prominent national blog read by pretty much everybody in the U.S. media business. The money bit:

Dougherty claimed he wasn't trying to hide, though he at first denied being the writer and hadn't used the usual address or phone numbers that appear regularly on other emails on which he copies us. He argued that we should not print his real name here. He threatened to sue us if we did. He said that now he'd have to resign from the Ethics Board, and that was my fault.

So be it.

Sue away, Jim.

Hat tip to WGXC Radio.