March 06, 2008

Update on Post-Dispatch attack on citizen activism

My two posts on Paul Hampel's story "After Kirkwood shootings, gadflies under the microscope," continue to garner a lot of interest. ( Post-Dispatch platform is a fraud and Has Post-Dispatch resorted to bullying widows to make news? ) A few notes on the posts;
  • I never spoke with Sandy Waters before yesterday and I learned about her experience with Mr. Hampel from someone who reads my blog. That individual explained how Sandy had told her how Hampel mislead Sandy about the reason for his call. Later that evening I called Sandy and spoke with her for over an hour about the article. Sandy believes the Post-Dispatch and Hampel should publicly apologize for their actions. I agree Sandy.
  • I emailed my first story to Hampel along with a note that stated I thought he should apologize for the article (this was before I spoke with any of Hampel's targets) but that I didn't think he would because it was apparent from reading the article he just didn't get it. Hampel responded via email "You strike me as quite rude, Rick. But maybe you're just email-rude. I'll bet you're not a jerk in person." I thought this was rather ironic considering the hatchet job Hampel performed on his three random targets and I responded "I tend to be rude to people who abuse their power, sometimes even in person."
  • After I was told that Waters claimed Hampel mislead her, I emailed Hampel and the Post asking if they cared to comment. Hampel replied "First, you make rude comments to me. Then you reiterate that, even in person, you're a jerk. And now you want me to call you to respond to a nutty, anonymous email? What a clown you are! I'll never waste my time opening another email from you."
  • Adam Goodman of the Post sent me an email stating, "Your note to Arnie Robbins regarding Paul Hampel's story and the anonymous posting on your blog was forwarded to me. I am the assistant managing editor/Metro at the Post-Dispatch. I will look into this. Meanwhile, if you do end up communicating with the anonymous commenter, please ask the person to contact me directly if she has a complaint. Thank you."
  • The person who initially contacted me about Sandy Waters has indicated she prefers to remain anonymous because she doesn't want to be the paper's next victim. Sandy told me Hampel called and left her a message yesterday but she didn't want to speak with him because she did not trust him. And who can blame either one of them.
  • I have received a lot of emails and comments from people who read the article and said that my original post about the story stated exactly how they felt. Some people have forwarded me letters they wrote the paper, some have posted comments but many choose to remain anonymous because they fear reprisal. What a sad statement about the Post-Dispatch.
  • Finally, thanks to an alert reader who tipped me off to an editorial in the Post yesterday, "The temptation to overreact." The editorial discussed a citizen, Dan Sullivan, who filed a lawsuit against the Kirkwood School District over a property tax issue and lost. Sullivan has now decided to run for a seat on the school board and the editorial stated "We encourage his citizen activism." I wonder if the writer of that editorial had a good laugh with Mr. Hampel when crafting that sentence?


Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, we have not yet seen any apologies or retractions in the Post for that contrived and pathetic "story"...or even letters about Hampel's article misrepresenting those individuals as potentially murderous psychopaths.

This is what is so hard to understand about the Post...their editorial rail on like they really care, and their reporters report like they were working for local politicians.

Anonymous said...

I challenge them to re-write this article with Paul Hampol's name where these poor victims they write about along with Cookie Thornton is they had any guts. I am disturbed by this trash.