La guerre en Irak est toujours dans les esprits, bien que l’affaire Harriet Miers occupe la majeure place des colonnes dans les journaux. Mardi dernier, le compte (officiel) des soldats tombés au combat a passé la barre des
Mais la guerre est aussi dans les esprits pour une autre raison. Plus insidieuse. Et moins diffusée dans les médias que les images de Cindy Sheehan. Après tout, le nom de Tim Mahoney ne vous dit rien. Et pourtant cet homme était dans les rangs de la même manifestation que Peace Mum, le samedi 24 septembre dernier. Le problème, c’est qu’il est journaliste. Pourquoi est-ce un problème ? Je vous renvoie la question. Apparemment, cela en pose un sérieux à son journal, le St Paul Pioneer Press qui l’a suspendu 3 jours sans paie pour avoir assisté à cette manifestation.
L’article que je copie ci-dessous a été publié sur Citypages.com. Il explique que le journaliste est venu à DC par l’un des trois bus affrétés par une organisation catholique de Minneapolis. « Ce n’était qu’une marche silencieuse autour de
Conclusion du papier : tout le monde dans les newsrooms a une opinion. Certes, et c’est très bien. Je n’ai pas eu vent que ce journaliste ait écrit des tribunes contre la guerre. Et même s’il l’avait fait, il n’aurait pas été le seul. Surtout tout dépend si son papier (imaginaire !) était paru en tant qu’opinion ou en tant que faits purs et durs. Bref, revenons aux faits : assister à cette manifestation faisait partie de la sphère privée de son existence. S’il n’a pas commis de faute professionnelle, je ne comprends pas la raison d’une telle remise en place. Enfin si, il en a commis une : il n’était pas disponible ce week-end là...
No peace at the Pioneer Press
Casualty of War
Pioneer Press copy editor Tim Mahoney was suspended for three days without pay for attending a peace march
by Paul Demko
October 26, 2005
On the last Saturday of September, Tim Mahoney, a part-time copy editor with the St. Paul Pioneer Press, attended a peace rally in
"On our part it was a silent march," recalls Mahoney, who has worked at the Pioneer Press for five years, following similar stints at the San Francisco Chronicle and the Capitol Times in
While Mahoney was on the bus trip, a Pioneer Press editor called his home to find out if he was available to work that weekend. Hurricane Rita had just touched down on the Texas-Louisiana border and extra bodies were needed on the copy desk.
Upon learning that Mahoney had participated in the
Last week, however, Mahoney learned the outcome of the investigation: He was suspended from work for three days without pay. In addition, Mahoney was informed that he would no longer be allowed to edit any stories about the invasion and occupation of . It was also made clear, in a letter written by senior editor Mike Bulger, that participation in any similar political activities would result in his termination.
The decision has left Mahoney and many of his Pioneer Press colleagues flummoxed. "There is an issue of conscience, of religion," he says. "I'm not trying to put myself forth as any kind of pious person at all. I'm not. But it's a matter of personal belief. It seemed to me--and still does--completely harmless to the interests of the Pioneer Press."
Mahoney's personal knowledge of warfare makes the decision even more galling. He served as a rifleman in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. "It's sort of where I learned that wars are not pretty and that you better be fighting for something worthwhile because a lot of very bad things happen," he says. "I learned that firsthand."
It is not the first time in recent memory that a Pioneer Press staffer has been disciplined for political activities that supposedly violated the newspaper's ethics policy. Last October, reporters Charles Laszewski and Rick Linsk were each suspended for three days for attending the "Vote for Change" concert featuring Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M., which raised money for John Kerry's presidential campaign.
The two reporters filed a grievance through their union, the Newspaper Guild, protesting the disciplinary action. According to Guild executive officer Mike Sweeney, that grievance has now been settled, but the terms are unknown because it is subject to a confidentiality agreement. "We have a tentative agreement," says Sweeney. "It hasn't been signed yet. The matter has been settled to the parties' mutual satisfaction."
Because the terms of that agreement are secret, it's not clear what kind of precedent it sets for Mahoney's situation. But the Newspaper Guild intends to file a grievance on his behalf this week. "He was exercising his beliefs--religious, as well as social and moral--and the paper is saying he can't do that," notes Sweeney. "And he's a part-time copy editor, for Christ's sake. I was speechless when I heard this."
Thom Fladung, who took over as editor of the