Unsatisfied with merely maligning the memory of its freshly deceased editorial page editor by gratuitously reporting the embarrassing details of his death, the editors of the Portland Oregonian have now seen fit to fire a woman for the crime of trying to protect the family of her departed friend.
The folks at the Oregonian must have really hated their colleague Bob Caldwell. First, the paper reported the sordid—and totally irrelevant—details of his fatal heart attack, which involved dropping dead after a "sex act" with a community college student forty years his junior whom he had been furnishing with books, school supplies, and cash in exchange for sex. And now it has fired editor Kathleen Glanville for lying to the paper's reporters about what happened to Caldwell after learning the shocking details from his grieving wife.
As Granville put it an a Facebook post yesterday, "I was fired this afternoon because in the midst of great sorrow for the loss of my dearest friend, I did not share with the paper the embarrassing details of his death, which I knew only because of my close relationship with his wife." According to Oregonian editor Peter Bhatia, it's a little more complicated than that. Granville actually lied to an Oregonian staffer—on a phone call while she was standing in Caldwell's home and comforting his grieving widow—telling him that Caldwell had died in his car while running errands. When the paper learned the truth, Bhatia wrote, he was faced with a "no-win choice." Eager to avoid accusations of a "cover-up," he chose to not win by publishing the non-criminal non-pertinent details, as opposed to by letting another paper do the (important!) work of kicking his co-worker's corpse. (This despite the fact that he decided not to report Caldwell's totally criminal, totally pertinent DUI arrest two years ago.)
And now he's fired Granville. To be clear, lying to your newspaper colleagues as a source in a news story is a serious offense. But if there was ever a time when it was understandable and forgivable, this was it. Transparency is an extremely good and extremely important value to adhere to. So is a commitment to candor and accuracy. So is not being a heartless fuck.