A reader takes issue with our story headlined “League says it saved post offices, but couldn’t save the postmaster“. Mike Engleman, State President of the Indiana Branch of the League of Postmasters, and candidate for National Vice President of the League, complained about the story on Twitter, which led to this exchange:
League says it saved post offices, but couldn’t save the postmaster http: via @postalnews—the headline is not an accurate portrayal at all
— Mike Engleman (@MikeEngleman1) May 9, 2012
— Mike Engleman (@MikeEngleman1) May 11, 2012
Mike doesn’t explain what we thinks we “misrepresented”. As I say in my tweet, the headline is based on the words League President Mark Strong used, which are quoted verbatim from the transcript provided by the League. As far as the quote being “taken out of context”, I’m not sure what additional “context” Mike thinks we should have supplied, given that we reproduced the entire text of the Strong’s remarks, along with the slides he used, and a link to the video version. Here is the full paragraph we quoted from:
So after the briefing, we had alternatives to discuss. We could take legal action with both the PRC and court. If we decided to do this, it was all-in. Once we started that legal action, we were not going to have a chance to sit down and discuss alternatives to the post office with their post plan. We could take legislative action, as we had with the closing of rural post offices. And we had done a wonderful job with talking to the senate, congress, and even our customers about the need for rural post offices. What we hadn’t done is we hadn’t saved postmasters. We had saved post offices. We had saved universal service, but we had not saved the postmaster.
In our story, we summarized the first half of the paragraph this way: “In the video, Strong defends the actions the postmaster organizations took in response to those plans, but says there was little they could do”- which seems to me a pretty fair representation of what he said. So far Mike is the only reader to find fault with the headline or story.
Beyond that, the headline and the story clearly reflect the reality of what happened Wednesday: the USPS dropped plans to close thousands of post offices, but revealed plans to eliminate thousands of postmaster jobs. Post offices were indeed saved- postmasters weren’t.
I’ve asked Mike to explain his charge of “misrepresentation”, and will publish his response as soon as we receive it.