Boss pans Plain Dealer critic

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010


If you want to know what's going on in Cleveland, then I guess you have to read the New York Times.

It hasn't gotten much ink in the Plain Dealer, but there's been a firestorm nationally over the paper's decision to remove its classical music critic, Donald Rosenberg, who often criticized the Cleveland Orchestra's conductor, Franz Welser-Most. Rosenberg, a well-respected and knowledgeable critic, has been reassigned to serve as an entertainment reporter.

The Times ran an interesting and balanced story on Sept. 24 on the Plain Dealer's decision.

You can read about the controversy over Rosenberg's reassignment at the Los Angeles Times, too, and the Cleveland Scene. See especially also this blog post from Baltimore Sun critic Tim Smith, with many reader comments from people in the Cleveland music scene. The Plain Dealer's take comes from its "reader representative," Ted Diadiun. I think his defense of the paper's actions is unconvincing, but you can read it for yourself here.



I thought Newspapers were all about Free Speech and all those 1st Ammendment Rights and letting people know and people getting the Truth. What happened here... the PD couldn't stand the heat so they knocked down the Kitchen????


A classical music critic? Does the Register have one of these? Is there really a need for such a thing? Is there a rap music critic? (softball question).


Even the stories that you site as being fair all agree that the conductor has been doing a great job and even members of the orchestra have a problem with the critic. You call him "well respected" but if he has a personal grudge against this conductor, which seems obvious, then he deserves to be demoted. He has not been fair in his reviews. He may have been well respected before but it seems he's crossed a line and has lost his credibility.


I appreciate the comments (and the generally thoughtful comments this blog seems to draw) so I thought I would respond.
'Mr. Jackson,' I take your point, but in fairness to the PD, this is not a First Amendment issue, which after all deals with government censorship. Newspapers still have the right to make personnel changes. If the Sandusky Register decided to dump my blog tomorrow, it would be sad for me, and perhaps for some reasons, but the U.S. Constitution would be intact.
'Capt. Gutz,' No, we don't have a full-time classical music critic, but it does make sense for the PD to have one; the Cleveland Orchestra is a full time orchestra that plays throughout the year, it draws thousands of people, and those folks expect to see reviews in their local newspaper. We do cover the Firelands Symphony Orchestra. As it happens, I write most of those stories for the Register.
'Fair,' It's true that Rosenberg is not a big fan of the current conductor, but I don't think it's personal. I like one of the suggestions that's been floated in the debate, to allow both Rosenberg and the new guy, Zachary Lewis, to take turns reviewing the Cleveland Orchestra's concerts. Why not have more than one viewpoint? It would be interesting.


Oops, meant to say 'readers' in that first response, not 'reasons'.