Finally, a response from the PD regarding their scrubbing of a Bill Mason story, then unscrubbing, whose editors appear happy to hang their reporter, Leila Atassi, out to dry.

Mr. Russo, I am the reporter who wrote the story you’re discussing on your blog. The version of the article that ran originally online was not the finished story. ?Editors and I continued to tinker with it for several days before it was published in the newspaper, as information became available and could be confirmed.

The story ran without the two sentences in question simply because one of our editors published an earlier version of the story in error. I assure you there is no conspiracy, and the story has since been fixed. ?Thank you for your interest.

Please. ?This would mean that the print version somehow managed to get the two operative lines buried into it AFTER the story got put online the night before, and the online story magically escaped the revision. It also begs the question – which editors published the story online without the two lines, and which editors slipped the two lines into the print edition? ?This matters, because metro editor Chris Quinn is reported to be the PD editor so close to Bill Mason that he’s been spiking Mason stories and was since?pulled from Mason stories in December.

I would be prepared to accept Leila’s contention that this was just some mixup, except that the two missing lines are the operative lines of the entire story, so much so that Susan Goldberg points to them in the article’s defense. ?I can see why Bill Mason or Chris Quinn may have wanted to bury the two most operative lines deep in the story, which they did. ?To have them disappear, while editor Susan Goldberg is quoting them as defense of the article’s integrity, just doesn’t pass the smell test.