Newspaper retracts, sort of

The Virginia City Register has published a grudging retraction and apology after accusing the Comstock Chronicle of “nasty and ruthless” business tactics.

The Register was for sale earlier this year but then was taken off the market when owners Doug and Sharon Truhill decided to try to keep on going. Their announcement of continued publication was accompanied by published attacks on the Chronicle (described only as “a competitor”) for allegedly claiming through ad salespeople that the Register was “belly-up and that we were insolvent.” The articles provided no substantiation for the charge (”The Register rebounds,” RN&R, May 26).

In its retraction, the Register reported that it had tried to substantiate the charges after it published them but had been unable to do so. But its retraction seemed to suggest it could do so if it chose to spend the time, and that it had come up with some evidence—”We were not able to do so to our satisfaction at this time, and we are not interested in pursuing this matter or seeking additional proof. Without proper substantiation, ethics dictate we retract our statement. We apologize and retract any and all references to a competitor’s sales person and the alleged actions against us.” (Emphasis added.)

The Register still did not use the Chronicle’s name, even in apologizing, but elsewhere in the article it hinted that it might be the target of legal action if it failed to either substantiate the charges it made against the Chronicle or retract them.

Meanwhile, a similar situation is developing elsewhere on the Comstock. The Nevada Appeal reported last week that Virginia City’s Mark Twain Bookstore and the Territorial Enterprise Museum aka the Mark Twain Museum are in conflict over the name “Mark Twain Bookstore.” The owner of the bookstore, Joe Curtis, says he owns a trademark of the name and the Museum has recently opened a bookstore of the same name.

While Mark Twain worked for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper in Virginia City, the Enterprise Museum building was constructed in 1875 after that year’s devastating fire and well after Twain had departed Nevada. He never worked in the building.

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Dennis Myers

Dennis Myers was the news editor of the Reno News & Review. He was a journalist for more than four decades. In 1987-88 he was chief deputy secretary of state of Nevada. He was coauthor of Uniquely...