Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Day Negative Campaign Extended

In an extension of Travis Armstrong's labor day attack on his fellow employees and former employees, today's editorial co-opted the "Banish the Bias" theme used by the organized workers of the News-Press and turned it against them with a blistering attack on former business editor Michael Todd, an unnamed writer on planning issues and columnist Barney Brantingham.

Placing doubt in organized labor's camp is a typical tool of management. Saul Alinksy wrote that "ridicule is man's most potent weapon". How is anyone supposed to answer these allegations and have the same audience of 10s of thousands of people? How are SBNP readers supposed to know any better if there isn't a forum for the accussed?

It's hard to accept or consider these allegations as being any more than a union-nusting activity...


Anonymous penetrating stare said...

... and will the News-Press do a careful investigation of perks received by Arthur von Whatever?

9/07/2006 7:06 AM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

And with photographer Ana Fuentes, who was the alleged target of Todd, having been among the latest to resign, the News-Press' lawsuit to have a restraining order imposed against him is now dead. (Read more.)

9/07/2006 8:09 AM  
Anonymous Abhorrent Newsprint said...

My only joy in seeing today's editorial is that it will undoubtedly be the basis for much discrediting, if not legal action against, Armstrong, McCaw, et al. It is SOO over the top.

Add to that "DR" Laura's continuing rants against feminists---she really shows how {NOT} connected she is to the pulse of Santa Barbara.

Finally, VLAD's inept and shameful reporting of a tragic child molestation case; he violates decades-old tradition of media doing their best to protect the identity of child victims by giving too much detail on the familial relationship, and he includes graphic details which will only serve to make the victim's recovery that much harder, as those details become known to classmates, other family, etc.

The whole paper has become a TRAVISTY

9/07/2006 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Vlad-erino said...

Yeah, that article was a lot of sordid detail. I'm learning on the job, you know. Because the Santa Barbara City Council is not meeting this week, NOTHING, nowhere, nohow obviously is happening in the City, so I am covering the courts instead.

If you do not like my article, what do you expect, something as if it were written by BIASED courts and crime beat reporters, Chuck Schultz or Scott Hadly?

9/07/2006 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Vlad-erino said...

My internet connection from the Suppress seems to be iffy this morning, so here is my comment again:


I know, my article today with all the sordid detail on the court trial about the child molestor was a bit overly revealing about the identity of the victim and the family. But we included a disclaimer, so nothing must have been revealed, right?

I'm learning on the job, you know. Besides, the balmy affairs of my previous beat at UC San Diego did not have much like child abuse court cases. But plenty of date rape there at UCSD, but my mentor Dr. Laura has informed me and all 47 of her loyal readers that men are the victims of date rape just as often, so no news there.

Because the Santa Barbara City Council is not meeting this week, NOTHING, nowhere, nohow obviously is happening in the City, so I am covering the courts instead.

And if you do not like my article, what do you expect, something insightful as if it were written by Chuck Schultz or Scott Hadly, those BIASED courts and crime beat reporters who resigned out of their own shame?

9/07/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger helplessNPslave said...

thank you public, for supporting the writers just as many many of us employees do, though we must be silent.
thank you writers, for making a statement at great risk to yourselves, that other voices can be heard.
that said, query - how can Barney answer a question that goes against his gag order? or, is that the point?

9/07/2006 10:10 AM  
Blogger George said...

Could someone post the editorial from today, so those of us who have canceled our subscriptions can know how ridiculous it is?

9/07/2006 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a long-ago detective, I learned, and the press usually cooperated, with the idea that sexual assault, especially with child victims, is one of the most underreported of crimes.--- so publishing the identity or enough info for the average person to figure out the identity of a victim along with lurid details, has the effect of reducing the number of victims who will report those crimes. Why would any other child want everyone they know to read about themselves and what happened to them.
So when I read the article in todays paper I shook my head knowing that at least one but maybe many children will be kept from reporting their abuse because of this.
Now I will cancel this paper.

9/07/2006 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

George. If you cancelled your subscription it is hypocritical to ask for it to be provided to you. Either be a reader or don't. Make up your mind.

9/07/2006 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More news you probably won’t see in the News-Press. Former Publisher Steve Ainsley is now the Publisher of the Boston Globe and related properties.

He was a professional publisher and well-liked and respected in Santa Barbara.

Does anyone know what the hell Steve is thinking about Wendy’s hands-on management of the News-Press?

9/07/2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging from her editorial today, McCaw is plainly still furious at Todd for having the guts to question her stinging reprimands of the various editors and reporters for adding Rob Lowe’s address to the planning commission story. According to law professor Craig Smith, looks like McCaw will have to drop the already-contrived lawsuit against Todd since the complaining photographer also quit. Is there something psycho about a billionaire who will keep beating up over and over on a dedicated and hard working employee like Todd.

9/07/2006 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk about intimidation and chilling press freedom. According to Craig Smith, David Millstein, McCaw’s litigator/enforcer from San Francisco who sued Roberts and Todd, and who’s conducting investigations of the newsroom with McCaw’s private investigator and beefed up security, is now occupying the traditional glass-walled editor-in-chief’s office overlooking the newsroom. If true, with the union vote set for later this month, McCaw must be desperate to force pro-union votes out of the newspaper—and hopes Millstein will add to the intimidation.

9/07/2006 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who work at the NP should consider moving on before it's too late. Remember the saying about the company you keep.

9/07/2006 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SNBP editorial.

Our Opinion: Banishing bias & ethical conflicts

September 7, 2006 8:15 AM
It's difficult for most individuals and organizations to own up to past mistakes.

But the News-Press has determined that a number of problems festering in the paper's news-gathering operation and newsroom management over the last years need solving.

The newspaper's top management, for example, has taken legal steps to address alleged threats made to an employee by Michael Todd, the former business editor. Top editors at the time didn't report this complaint of concern about possible threats of workplace violence to the human resources department. Top management suspended Mr. Todd immediately upon learning about the complaint from the employee. Mr. Todd quit before the human resources department completed its investigation.

As noted on Friday, removing the bias from news reporting is a top priority, but the reality is that some of the past editors too often failed readers on this score. An independent survey conducted last year for the News-Press found that 64 percent of News-Press readers believed that reporters project their views into stories and aren't staying neutral. The News-Press is determined to right this situation.

A first step in any newspaper's effort to banish the bias comes with journalists not allowing their own opinions -- whether on a tax increase or environmental protections -- to color their reporting. They must strive for balance so readers don't believe accounts are slanted by personal views.

Another step is to make sure those involved in the production of news don't have a conflict of interest involving the beats they cover. A conflict of interest policy, when enforced, would mean that a reporter couldn't cover the county government's planning department when his or her spouse works there.

Editors also must be vigilant so that there's not even an appearance of a conflict. At times, this hasn't happened.

It is every journalist's ethical duty to remove himself or herself from stories and situations that may mar the newspaper's and their own credibility.

Likewise, policies also should prohibit reporters from accepting gifts, such as freebies or discounted tickets.

For example, gushing accounts from exotic locales typifies some travel journalism, but readers ought to know if the writers came to those opinions because they received perks from the travel industry. Former staff member Barney Brantingham wouldn't answer our questions about any use of discounted or free airplane tickets, luxury accommodations and meals as part of the columns and travel stories he authored for the News-Press.

Travel and other writers will not be allowed to use the News-Press name while benefiting from thousands of dollars in gifts from those businesses hoping to see their names in print.

Readers should expect no less from a newspaper's management than to banish reporter bias, achieve balance in stories and ensure a safe and ethical workplace.

9/07/2006 2:46 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Does anyone know why Ana Fuentes left? That is a highly interesting side story that may (or may not have) a lot more teeth to it. dd

9/07/2006 2:52 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Hmmm... I know Barney is a journalist, but wasn't he more aptly referred to and entitled as a columnist? One sentence in the editorial says journalists shouldn't recieve gifts, and then they ask about Barney. Just seems kinda funny. And yes, the Fake Baron was on the trips too, so what were his answers?

So, are they simply going to fire anyone who has a conflict of interest? All these new reporters are too young to have roots extending out very far, and they've only been here for a week or two, so it seems kinda convenient to say it's good policy to deny reporting when conflicts can be precieved. Or something like that.

9/07/2006 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheesh. If it's that bad, why don't they just fire their staff and start over?

9/07/2006 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ole Nips (and boy does he look old in the new Vanity Fair) has the reputation of being the biggest free loader in this town, and just to prove the point, this morsel from the VF story, a quote from Nip's ex, "I had no idea that Arthur had virtually no income and that I would be expected to support the marriage and our family by the depletion of my separate property." More good dish on page 188 and copies are on the stands at Gelsen's and Front Page in Goleta, probably other news stands as well. Given the new NP policy I suppose will Wendy and Nip have to refuse their comp copy?

9/07/2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

My update on the Vanity Fair expose article (now in swankier local stores)is the second comment at the Angry Poodle Blog today:

And as predicted in the Vanity Fair article and as reported this morning by Craig Smith's Blog and in the Three-More-Split posting this afternoon by Barney Brantingham, the staff-in-black continue to bleed.
"Stop the bleeding"

9/07/2006 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After what was in SBNP today I feel there is no need for the newspress.
Perhaps it's time for other local papers to expand if possible to fill the void of a daily paper.
I hope that advertisers will give their full support to the local papers so that they might make it possible.
Todays article was inappropriate, wrong and harmful.
but then look who is the publisher. I can not support a paper that would to that or the people behind it.
There truly is something wrong with that woman or anyone that would cause harm in such a manner.
I would like to see her explain to the public what she was thinking by printing todays paper.

Disgusted in SB

9/07/2006 6:32 PM  
Anonymous global bitch said...

I was away from this blog for a couple of weeks. Dropped by to see what's new. Answer: Nuthin'!!!

JFC, aren't you all over it by now? Here, let me help you condense this distraction out of your lives:

1. Newspress was full of staff members with differing personal viewpoints on local issues.

2. Newspress is owned by an eccentric zillionaire.

3. Human beings working at the Newspress act like typical human beings working in a buzzing, well-paid, hip industry: cliques, infighting, gossip, etc.

4. Personalities, viewpoints clashed and had a major falling out -- some people quit, some people put tape on their mouths for dramatic effect, and some people quietly support the management while others reach for change and power.

5. SBCAN and other political groups that don't like the opinion editor move in and take advantage with a campaign to take down the Newspress.

6. Meanwhile, war rages on in the Middle East and elsewhere, US occupation is a failure and scars the USA reputation around the world, President Bush ignores invitations from the elected leader of Iran to have a diplomatic debate at the UN.

...just thought I'd remind's small potatoes, people...itty bitty teeny weeny po-ta-toes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9/07/2006 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people just can't be happy, guess that's why the call themselves bi*ch.

Thought the topic was the NP, not the usual media talking points.

9/07/2006 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the Vanity Fair article... pretty disappointing.

Glossy mag with big money and lots of time should have dug into McCaw and described her in depth. Instead, it is mainly a puff piece on her... nothing in the article one cannot learn on Wikipedia.

They dug up some dirt on Arthur von W and on Lowe, and of course discussed Travis.

But by and large they mainly pump up McCaw as a figure to be admired... hanging in Dubrovnik with Catherine ZJ and Michael Douglas. Yu-u-u-u-kkk. I'll take Pinto Beans any day over this VF drivel.

9/07/2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Friend of Truth said...

Nice to read that Nelville Flynn has returned as a global Bitch.

Seems like if any group wanted "to take down" the newspress the newspress would know it. Graffitti tagging, news rack destruction, boycott stickers everywhere, Banish the Bias signs actually on trees instead of power poles, outrage spoken at public comment during government meetings, stalking the homes of the management, complaining to advertisers, boycotting advertisers, and more.

What the public seems to be doing actually is to build back and restore the newspress, to the great integrity it had only last spring.

Nelville, I know you think this is all about you, but it ain't. Sure, Bush and the war in Iraq and elsewhere can be a target of true outrage, but sometimes local issues matter and that is where the efforts are expended.

9/07/2006 7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Global b*tch: By your logic all local news is insignificant. Controversies over land use in Santa Barbara County, the California governor's election, the gap between jobs and housing in Santa Barbara County -- all trivial matters, scarcely worthy of our time as long as conflict rages overseas.

We may all be global citizens, but most of us are more acutely affected by traffic congestion, cost of living, the quality of public education and state of the local/regional economy than by events around the world. I'm not saying ignore those things, but the future of the News-Press has profound implications for our community. If a free press wasn't important, why did the founders of our nation designate it as the only industry granted special protection in the Constitution?

9/07/2006 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vanity Fair SBNP article download (link expires Sept. 14)

Copy and paste the entire link URL, or Blogabarbara could make this a new subject and posting for comments.

9/07/2006 10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm ... global bitch ... the newspaper industry is far from well paid. Get a clue, these people aren't there for the money! That's the whole point.

9/08/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks 10:03 for the link -- see the post above....

9/08/2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

GB -- your anger isn't necessary....JFC? Take it easy -- this is just a blog.

9/08/2006 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can wait for the next installment of Santa Barbara. Best Soap around.

9/08/2006 2:03 PM  

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