by David Safier
If you look for the Three Sonorans blog on the Tucson Citizen website, you'll find a gray page with this on top:
This user has elected to delete their account and the content is no longer available.
The quick summary is, Tucson Citizen editor Mark Evans has gotten lots of complaints about blogger David Morales' posts, mainly from people Morales wrote about, and Evans finally decided to pull the plug.
I have lots of mixed feelings about Evans' move.
I'm glad BfA isn't published at the whim of an entity like the Tucson Citizen so we can write whatever we please without worrying about this kind of hassle from someone upstairs. But really, Mike Bryan, who runs BfA, could, if he saw fit, tell any of the rest of us to stop posting here simply by revoking our passwords. It would be Mike's right, just as it's Mark Evans' right.
And if Bryan told me to take a hike, I could start writing on my own blog fifteen minutes later, which is about how long it takes to set up a basic blog. Morales can do the same. That's one of the wonderful, liberating aspects of the internet.
I hate to see an editor give in to outside pressure, which is part of what Evans has done. Daniel Patterson threatened to sue if some statements weren't removed from Three Sonorans, and he's one of a long string of people who complain regularly about Morales in phone calls and emails. Evans is a big first amendment guy, but I guess he got tired of the hassle and didn't want to spend time and money fighting lawsuits. And that's a shame.
I can imagine Morales and his postings could give Evans regular heartburn, and not necessarily because Morales is Hispanic or because he promotes certain causes which result in complaints. Morales leads with his heart and his passions and goes for the jugular when he writes. Absolute accuracy doesn't seem to be important to him, which, I imagine, gives the journalist in Evans fits. However, Morales has been an invaluable part of the information community in Southern Arizona, and he is among the most prominent public voices in the local Hispanic community. No one has posted more video, much of which he or his friends have shot and which can be an invaluable resource to me and others. No one has been as fearless at exposing what he sees as wrongs, taking on Democrats as well as Republicans. He can be infuriating at times, but he has an impact.
I imagine an independent blog is in David Morales' future. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who will go gentle into this good night. We'll see.