New York Times reports that Joe Maguire, one of two editors in charge of markets coverage at Reuters, has apparently been fired because his new book on right wing commentator Anne Coulter: Brainless: The Lies and Lunacy of Ann Coulter. A clear case where a commitment to objectivity principles quash argued critique.
On Wednesday, Mr. Maguire discovered he would have plenty of free time to promote his book, which comes out this week. Neither side in this dispute would say that he was fired.
“There was a difference of opinion about the approval I received to write this book,” Mr. Maguire said. “I thought I had met the conditions, and proceeded accordingly. As a result, I no longer work there.”
Mr. Maguire, who joined Reuters in April, said the book “looks at Ann Coulter’s arguments, and deconstructs them to show how misguided they can be.”
He added: “When the political discourse has dropped to the unfathomable levels it has, someone has to say this is wrong.”
He said he was unable to interview Ms. Coulter for the book, or even get her to return e-mail or phone messages left through her publicist.
Reuters confirmed that Mr. Maguire was granted conditional approval to write his book on Ms. Coulter — a conservative lightning rod, author and TV talking head. When asked what changed once the book was ready, a company statement pointed to Reuters’ principles of “integrity, independence and freedom from bias.” The statement reads: “Our editorial policy and The Reuters Trust Principles are prominently displayed for all to see on www.about.reuters.com. Mr. Maguire’s book will soon be available. Both speak for themselves.”
The bizarre aspect to this story is that Reuters is literally hiding behind their statement of principles and wont even say that Maguire was fired – they know that this would never play in a general discussion of freedom of expression. In announcing to colleagues that Maquire would not be working at the company any longer management gave out a copy of the “Trust Principles” and said that employees were not to ask why Maguire had been fired.
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