Bill Mason now appears to be reaching into already published articles in the Plain Dealer, and somehow getting unfavorable allegations removed from the online version of the stories after they’ve been published. ?Here’s a timeline.

The Independent printed a story December 18 about patronage in Bill Mason’s office, noting that it had been in the Plain Dealer’s possession for some time, and spiked because…

A version of this article was slated to be published by the Plain Dealer, but was pulled, in no small part, by the behind-the-scenes machinations of metro editor Chris Quinn, close friend to Mason?s top prosecutor, Michael O?Malley.

On December 28, the Independent followed up on its blog, reporting that PD metro editor Chris Quinn was removed from editorial on Bill Mason stories. ?On December 30, at 9.10 pm, the Plain Dealer published a story on a disagreement between judges, specifically Judge Eileen Gallagher, and Bill Mason’s prosecutor’s office over a database contract with a company owned by a Mason crony. ?The story appeared in the print edition of the December 31 Plain Dealer.

On December 31, at 11:12 am, Independent editor James Renner emailed the Plain Dealer editorial board, reporters at the Plain Dealer, and the Ohio blogger list that I’m on, to object to the pro-Mason spin in the story, specifically the glossing over of the close relationship between Mason and the contractor. ?At 1:52 pm, December 31, Plain Dealer editor Susan Goldberg responded to that email list, defending the story, quoting this line.

Here is a direct quote from the story:
“The company is owned by the cousin of Mason’s former first assistant prosecutor, Robert Coury.”

That line is now gone from the online version of the story, and it is unclear whether or not that line was ever in the online version. In fact, there are two lines missing from the online version of the story, both of which appear in the December 31 print edition. ?The missing lines –

Gallagher countered that Mason’s endorsement of Pointe Blank Solutions appears suspicious, too. ?The company is owned by the cousin of Mason’s former first assistant prosecutor, Robert Coury.

I am emailing this post to that same email list, and asking the Plain Dealer why those two lines are not in the online version of the story, whether they were ever in the online version, and if so, when they were scrubbed from the online version. ? I’m also asking if any print editions were published without those two lines. ?As I noted on December 31, this episode is a cancer on the PD right now. ?It’s now reached the point that PD editor Susan Goldberg is defending her Mason coverage by quoting lines in stories that have since been scrubbed.

Time for the PD to choose between their integrity and Bill Mason. ?Long past time.