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Erik Wemple
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Posted at 10:50 AM ET, 09/14/2011

Snyder suit: Chilling effect on local media?

Yesterday the Erik Wemple Blogger published a non-blog post on Daniel Snyder’s former lawsuit against Washington City Paper over sports writer Dave McKenna’s “Cranky Redskins Fan’s Guide to Dan Snyder.” In the comments section, “sorenoid” makes an interesting point:

Snyder got what he wanted out of the threat of litigation. I don’t think of this as a fight, I think CP was used as a means to an end, which is to put fear in the hearts of local editors. You think they are going to run another story like Dave’s? He may think about it. but it would be a career limiting move to actually do it. I mean, yeah, CP wins the battle, but Snyder picked them for the battle and he will continue to do so in the future when it suits him.
Now I know you have more info than I do, and I could be completely wrong. But if the original story offended him because of how he was portrayed, I think he effectively changed the game in terms of how he will be portrayed in the future by the local independentesque media, and clearly raised the bar for taking him to task in print. I’d love to hear why I am wrong.

Here’s one link that messes a bit with sorenoid’s thesis: In Sunday’s Washington Post, sports columnist Mike Wise published a reconstruction of Snyder’s pursuit of Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan. In that investigative piece, Wise brings to light a lot of facts and circumstances that are unflattering to the Redskins owner. If the “independentesque media” were really as affected as sorenoid suggests, the Wise piece might have never run.

A verdict on the matter, though, will have to wait: The 2011 season has just begun. The Redskins press corps will have plenty of opportunities to practice oversight on team management. Remember what Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said in April about the lawsuit serving as a “warning shot” against the media.

(Disclosure: I am a former City Paper editor but left long before the story in question was published.)

By  |  10:50 AM ET, 09/14/2011

 
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