The Fargo Forum published, then deleted from its website today a letter to the editor copied verbatim from this blog.
It is the second time in as many days that the Forum has had to delete an opinion letter from its website.
This morning at 1:39 a.m., we published an item titled, “Rob Port is a Troll on a Payroll.” We called out Port, a Forum columnist, for blasting a recent speech by Senator Elizabeth Warren without providing any evidence to back up his criticism.
At 3:31 p.m. today, the Forum published a letter on its website titled, “Columnist Rob Port is a troll on a payroll,” attributed to Vicki Rosenau of Valley City.
The letter was copied verbatim from our post, except for the last paragraph where the word “crap” replaced the original “shit.”
The Forum deleted the letter later in the afternoon, though it’s still visible for some reason on the homepage of the state’s largest news organization.
We don’t know who Vicki Rosenau is, and we really don’t care. What’s more important is that there is a problem with the way the Forum is vetting letters.
Yesterday, a letter by “Evelyn Pulver” was deleted from the website after Opinion Editor Jack Zaleski realized it was a fake name.
In December, the Forum published a letter that consisted of a hoax ripped almost verbatim from a right-wing website. The letter claimed that Hillary Clinton won only 57 counties on Nov. 2, which is false.
We asked Editor Matt Von Pinnon if anyone vetted Vicki’s letter before it was published. He answered only, “This letter has been deleted from our system.”
In related news, Zaleski announced his retirement today after 30 years running the opinion section. The Forum isn’t replacing him. A business reporter has been appointed to the new role of Community Editor.