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Honor the Deceased, Vote Democratic

by Rachel Levitt


Tags: Media, mainstream media, media criticism, obituaries, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Poynter Online, Romanesko,

When Chicago stand-up comedian and political activist Ken Swanborn died, his family placed a paid death notice in the Chicago Tribune ending with the request “In lieu of flowers, please vote Democratic.” The Tribune quickly removed the line from the obituary before it ran, citing a policy against “discriminatory or offensive” material. Chicago Reader blogger Michael Miner cried foul and was told by a Tribune employee that the deleted line could potentially offend Republican readers. But, Miner points out, what about offending the family who paid to place the announcement?

Is this a denial of free speech or merely a newspaper trying to stay neutral?

(Thanks, Romenesko.)