FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

I was Disappeared by Salon

by DEBBIE NATHAN

On August 24, the online magazine Salon published my opinion piece “Why I Need to See Child Porn.” It argued that we need a government system to vet researchers’ and journalists’ qualifications, allowing them to test government claims about the prevalence, content and profitability of internet child pornography images without fear of legal sanctions.

The next morning, August 25, Salon received communication from New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald, threatening to sue Salon and me for libel if my article were not immediately removed from Salon’s site. Among other things, my piece had discussed Eichenwald’s August 20 Times article, “With Child Sex Sites on the Run, Nearly Nude Photos Hit the Web.”

Within hours after receiving Eichenwald’s threat of a lawsuit, Salon pulled “Why I Need to See Child Porn,” along with dozens of letters responding to it. My piece was not archived on Salon’s site and neither were the letters. All the material was irretrievably removed. A correction was run stating it was “inaccurate” that journalists and other researchers have “no protection from prosecution if they viewed visual depictions of child pornography.” On August 26, Salon’s editor, Joan Walsh, wrote on Salon’s forum for subscribers, Table Talk, that my article was taken down because its “central premise” was “impossible to just correct.” She did not mention that Salon had been contacted by Eichenwald and threatened with a lawsuit.

I was not consulted about the decision to irretrievably remove my opinion piece and the letters. I had no input into the language of the correction.

After Salon pulled the article and ran its first correction, Eichenwald continued to threaten a suit unless another correction was run. On August 31 Salon ran a second correction, based primarily on language supplied by Eichenwald and his lawyer. I had no input into the decision to publish this correction, nor any input into its wording. Salon gave me no opportunity to respond to the correction.

The first correction had been published in a format allowing the public to respond by clicking a link on the same page the correction appeared on. People could read the responses sent in by clicking on the same page, just under the correction. During the next few days beginning August 25, Salon posted over 150 responses.

When Eichenwald demanded a second correction, he specified it must be “locked” so no public response could be submitted on the correction page or be readable from there. Subsequently, Salon formatted the second correction so it is impossible to send or read responses on the same page as the correction. Postings now can be made only by paid subscribers, to Salon’s “Table Talk” section. No discussion topic links in “Table Talk” are marked as having anything specifically to do with “Why I Need to See Child Porn.”

I am extremely disappointed with Salon’s handling of this incident. Nevertheless, I trust public discussion will continue about the issues my article raised.

For more information, see:

Alia Malek, “Child Pornography: To See or Not to See?” (Columbia Journalism Review CJRDaily, September 21, 2006)

Judith Levine letter to the New York Times Public Editor

DEBBIE NATHAN is a New York City-based journalist who writes about sexual politics and immigration. She can be reached at naess2@gmail.com

 

 

More articles by:
November 23, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Discussing Trump Abroad
Jay Moore
The Failure of Reconstruction and Its Consequences
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Trout and Ethnic Cleansing
John W. Whitehead
Don’t Just Give Thanks, Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time
Chris Zinda
Zinke’s Reorganization of the BLM Will Continue Killing Babies
David Krieger
Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Rick Baum
While Public Education is Being Attacked: An American Federation of Teachers Petition Focuses on Maintaining a Minor Tax Break
Paul C. Bermanzohn
The As-If Society
Cole A. Turner
Go Away, Kevin Spacey
Ramzy Baroud
70 Years of Broken Promises: The Untold Story of the Partition Plan
Binoy Kampmark
A New Movement of Rights and the Right in Australia
George Ochenski
Democratic Party: Discouraged, Disgusted, Dysfunctional
Nino Pagliccia
The Governorship Elections in Venezuela: an Interview With Arnold August
Christopher Ketcham
Spanksgiving Day Poem
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail