Amway recently opened a business center at Citi Field in New York, home to the New York Mets baseball team. There was nothing secret it about, I published a story about it more than two months ago. The opening of the business center apparently came as a shock to some New York journalists, and in particular one by the name of Howard Megdal, who wrote two disparaging and ridiculously inaccurate articles about the Amway/Mets deal for the website Capital New York. According to Bridgett blogged appropriately about the response – America’s National Pastimes: Amway-Bashing & Baseball.
I wrote a reply to Howard in the comments on one of the Capital New York articles, pointing out some of the errors. The site said I needed to register, so I did, upon which I received an email saying my account needed approval before the comment would be posted. I waited. No post. No approval. Other comments appeared. I tried registering a new account, separate from the article, using my full name and email address. I received an email saying my account needed approval. No approval was ever forth coming. Attempts to log in said the accounts were blocked.
I posted a comment on twitter, tagging both Howard Megdal and Capital New York to protest. Megdal replied they weren’t deleting anything. I still couldn’t post.
I tried again, I still couldn’t post a comment. In the meantime, Amway showed nothing but class and reached out to Megdal and invited him to tour the facility.
His response was a third article on the website Sports On Earth, a join venture between Major League Baseball and USA Today. The article was again full of tired cliches and outright falsehoods about Amway and multilevel marketing. I posted a reply there. Sports On Earth uses the Disqus commenting system, so I could see my comment in my My Disqus control panel. It said it was awaiting moderator approval.
Then it disappeared.
I wrote a very short comment on the same article asking Howard why he was deleting my comments. It appeared immediately. Megdal replied that he wasn’t deleting comments, and couldn’t. I pointed out that if it wasn’t him, then his moderators certainly were. Another commentator said they’d like to see my responses for some balance. So I wrote several responses addressing the many inaccuracies in his article. A moderator, another “journalist” on the site,Emma Span, said she had deleted the original comment, accusing me of spamming “Amway PR”, and said if I posted again she would delete all my comments. She was true to her word, for when I protested she deleted my responses and the comment from other readers saying they wanted to read my responses.
Not surprisingly, I can no longer comment there.
This kind of censorship from ostensibly professional media outlets is nothing less than disgusting. I was not offensive in my comments, I did not in any way violate the terms and conditions for commenting on these websites. I simply pointed out the many inaccuracies in the article, with appropriate citations to back up what I was saying.
Those responsible simply didn’t want people to read what I had to say.
Interestingly, I researched Howard Megdal a little further as I wrote this article, and it seems I may have misread his motives a little bit. I thought he was unfairly attacking Amway. It seems though his target isn’t Amway at all, it’s the Mets and their owner, Fred Wilpon. In 2010 he wrote a whole book lobbying to become the Mets General Manager. Apparently it didn’t work, and in 2011 he wrote another book attacking them – Wilpon’s Folly: The Story of a Man, His Fortune, and the New York Mets.
The Mets challenged many of the assertions Megdal made in the book, removed his media credentials, and wrote in response –
The author’s desperate self-promotional campaign for relevance has led to perpetuating baseless speculation and complete inaccuracies.
Now, I haven’t read any of Megdal’s books and neither am I an expert on the Mets. I do however consider myself to have some expertise on the subjects of Amway and Multilevel Marketing. If Megdal’s reporting on other topics is as wildly inaccurate and misleading as his reporting on Amway and MLM, and if he condones the active censorship of those who challenge that reporting – well, I’d suggest trusting very little of what he writes.