View Full Version : Doug Thomson Has Stepped Down As Editor Of Capitol Hill Blue

05-26-2006, 05:06 PM

There's a new sheriff in town

Publisher, Capitol Hill Blue
May 26, 2006, 04:16

To our readers:

Please allow me to introduce myself to you, the readers of Capitol Hill Blue.

I'm Bill McTavish, the new publisher of this web site, effective immediately. I'm the head of a new team that takes over Capitol Hill Blue and, we hope, takes the web site in new directions.

When I was asked to take over as publisher of CHB, I insisted that I have the authority to review past articles published on this web site and remove any that I, and others, felt did not meet established standards of impartial journalism, were poorly-sourced or just plain speculation. I brought in journalists I respect and asked them to go through the archives and identify stories where they considered the sources questionable or the facts hazy. As a result of their review, we removed 217 articles from the database archives of more than 25,000 stories.

Gone from the site, for example, are speculative articles on President Clinton's sex life, Mrs. Clinton's sexual preferences, President Bush calling the Constitution a "goddamned piece of paper" or various and sundry conspiracy theories. Gone too are articles where a recheck of sources did not, to my satisfaction, pass the smell test. Some of the articles removed included columns written by our founder and publisher. I'm not saying these stories were wrong, although I had doubts about some of them, but they were not sourced to my satisfaction and were never verified by additional sources or other publications. Even though they have not been proven wrong (or even denied by the subjects of the story) they did not, in my opinion, pass the standard for verification that now exists for this web site. I may have missed some but if and when someone brings such articles to my attention we will review them, apply the same standards to the others that were removed, and remove them if they fail to meet those standards.

I have brought in a staff of veterans and young professionals to beef up our news coverage and provide a balanced product. Callie Houston now runs our blog, Fred Hylton oversees the editorial product and we have a staff of reporters, researchers and fact-checkers to review every story. We subscribe to Reuters, AP and Scripps-Howard news service to bolster our news coverage. Our popular discussion board, ReaderRant, continues as an independent web site run by a talented and dedicated group of administrators and moderators. They know how to do their jobs and will get no interference from me.

I consider the past exactly that -- the past. This web site made some mistakes and decisions were made to run with stories that showed, in my opinion, poor judgment. We will remain non-partisan in our approach to news but our goal is news based on fact, not speculation, and truth, not wishful thinking. We will continue to ask questions that need to be asked and hold all elected officials to an equal, non-partisan standard. I don't expect you take my word that everything is hunky-dory but I do ask that if someone links to something from our site that it be considered for the content and not simply dismissed because someone may have considered the site questionable.

To answer a question I am sure you have: Yes, Doug Thompson still owns Capitol Hill Blue but he has stepped away from any involvement in the editorial product and now invests his time and resources in a new project aimed at campaign reform. If, and when, he chooses to write columns or articles for this web site they will be subject to the same review, editing and fact checking as any other writer or source.

He has tasked me with the goal of improving CHB and restoring its reputation. Some of the articles I removed from the archives were either written by him or approved by him and he did not object. Recently, he published a public apology to his readers and then asked me to fix the problems. My first step was to clean up the product. My second step is asking those of you who had questions in the past to take a fresh look at what we do and make up your own mind.

If you have any questions, comments, gripes or vents, please feel free to contact (publisher@capitolhillblue.com) me.

William D. McTavish
Capitol Hill Blue

05-26-2006, 05:14 PM
HAHAHAHAHA!!! I still won't follow them.