LCT Magazine was faced with a rare and challenging first-time situation over the New Year’s holiday weekend with breaking news on the arrest of Limousine Digest owner and president Iric Cohen. His arrest on suspicion of rape and kidnapping charges already had been reported by at least three Philadelphia area newspaper websites, based on an official press release from the Mt. Laurel (N.J.) Police Department, when we learned of it on Dec. 30.
The explosion of industry reaction, calls and e-mails over this news development and LCT’s posting of an article on our website — with comments and feedback ranging all over the map — has been unprecedented for LCT Magazine.
As editor of LCT Magazine and LCTMag.com, I’d like to explain several points about our coverage and its relevance to the limousine industry, as we hope everyone can step back and take deep breaths.
No. 1: Let us keep the most important point in mind: Iric Cohen is presumed innocent until/unless proven guilty. He is a charged suspect, not a convicted felon. Any rush to judgment should be tempered by an overriding question that informs the criminal justice process in the U.S.: What if the charges are false or exaggerated?
No. 2: Iric Cohen is a major industry figure by any measure, and these charges qualify as major breaking news of interest to the national limousine and chauffeured transportation industry. As the industry’s leading and predominant content provider, LCT covers significant industry news developments as part of its information services. To neglect or ignore a story of such magnitude would be unprofessional and diminish the credibility of LCT.
No. 3: Iric Cohen, Limousine Digest, and/or his representatives have an open invitation to respond to the charges and the news stories. LCT will cover any response if one becomes available with the same prominence as the original story. We strive to be fair.
No. 4: We have disabled reader comments on online articles related to this development and will continue to do so for two reasons: 1) To prevent orchestrated, emotional e-mails that inaccurately vilify LCT Magazine for its legitimate role as a content provider and media organization; 2) To deter any libelous or slanderous remarks against Cohen and the other suspect.
No. 5: LCT stands by its decision to post the article. The information is exclusively based on other media sources and the police department, and we are fully within solid First Amendment rights to do so. The reporting of the arrest and charges is similar in approach to that of hundreds of criminal justice and police-related stories routinely reported each week by media organizations nationwide.
No. 6: Any legal, stated or communicated threats to LCT Magazine and/or its staff members about its coverage is nothing more than tactless, thin-skinned thuggery masquerading as righteous indignation. We reject and ignore any attempts to intimidate our decisions and functions as a professional media organization — no matter who the source.
No. 7: The allegations against Iric Cohen and the other suspect in no way reflect on the employees, managers, and professional efforts of the Limousine Digest and MTG group of businesses and franchise. LCT continues to respect Limousine Digest as a worthy industry competitor.
Finally, all industry members and supporters should hope that the criminal justice system in this matter operates in a way that follows its best stated virtues: Truthful, fair, and speedy — for the sake of the accuser and the accused.
-- Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine editor, 1/3/2012
| posted on Tuesday, January 03, 2012 11:45 AM