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My Take on Covering Potentially Taboo Topics Like Bristol Palin's Baby on OEN

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Rob Kall     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 9/2/08

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I was out looking at the hibiscus we have on our back porch. There are no flowers on it right now, though the leaves are in great shape. I noticed that all the spots were there had been beautiful flowers now had empty stem ends. Flowers come and go. Matter of fact, with many flowers, one flower has to die for another on the same stem to reach full bloom. It's a floral hormone thing. The live flower releases hormones blocking the others from blooming. And so we lose a writer today-- maybe forever, maybe for a short time. We have one writer who threatens to stop posting to OEN every time an article doesn't get headlined.

This time, OEN covered a story that a writer disagreed with-- that a sizable percentage of readers disagreed with the decision to cover it.

I was talking to one of our senior editors and said, "If we haven't offended or driven at least one or two readers away from the site because we've posted something they didn't feel we should have posted, then we're not pushing our edges far enough."

That's the way we're going to do things. Part of our vision is to be a tough progressive media site. That means not flinching at covering stories or issues that the other media avoids. That means taking risks-- with subjects, with writers, with news and stories. That means making mistakes.

If you disagree with one story or one subject OEN covers, including the Palin baby and Bristol Palin, you always have the choice of kissing OEN goodbye. But I invite you to consider that being progressive, being an alternative media site that aims to cover what the mainstream don't cover almost requires us to go out to the edges in covering the news and the stories that are out there. We would not be doing our job if we failed to cover Sarah Palin's potential attempt to hide her daughter's unwanted child, by claiming it was hers.

Do you disagree? Fine. We've headlined Mikel Paul's article expressing disagreement. We headline articles we disagree with all the time. Do you leave because you disagree? That might make you a one issue decider. I invite you to consider that the issue we cover today, that incenses you is on the site because of what you value in the site-- our willingness to cover what the mainstream media fails to cover.

We're not going to back down. We made a mistake, which our editorial board regrets now, deciding not to cover the John Edwards affair. We should have covered it and we didn't. If we had covered it, we would have been roundly criticized. Well, now we face the fact that getting that kind of criticism is part of the territory... and it's okay for you to criticize. We won't tolerate name calling, just as we don't tolerate as a general site policy.

So, if you disagree. Speak up. We do listen. We don't always agree and at least, we provide a place where disagreement is allowed.

BTW, yesterday was the highest traffic day OEN has seen since January-- 98,000+ page views. Today is on track to break at least 80,000, and the newsletter, to 15,000, has not yet gone out, just in case any of the OEN haters out there are hoping the controvery here has hurt us.  For you techies, the strange thing is, for the past two months, every time we hit peak traffic highs-- at least the past five times, alexa has show the high traffic days as low traffic days. Fortunately, the site metrics that count, google, quantcast, do a better job. 

Some notes from our senior editors:

We offer the opportunity for full debate with our comments feature.  OpEdNews offers this feature so that readers and participants can expand their knowledge and understanding.  But lately, many posters have abused this feature by debasing civil discourse with hostility, disrespect and name-calling.  Any and all comments that contain ad hominem attacks will be removed.  Stick to the facts, debate the conclusions, but don't guess at people's motives and don't call them names.  Repeated violations of this policy will result in loss of privileges.  Let's keep the debate civil, folks.

and

Name-calling, nasty attacks, mean-spiritedness, etc., against fellow writers, readers or editors have no place on OEN --  If you think OEN is a "joke" and compare it to Karl Rove, move on, know one forces you to read it, let alone post on it.  

 

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com

Rob is, with Opednews.com the first media winner of the (more...)
 

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