Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, September 08, 2006

Personal Attack?

A comment from FDS is worthy of of a post -- readon it is interesting stuff. Is the new star demanding the "For the Record"?....

More publisher pandering to "Dr. Laura" [sic] Schlessinger...

Here is the statement in News-Press today:

September 8, 2006
On Tuesday, Santa Barbara News-Press columnist Dr. Michael O.L. Seabaugh wrote an inappropriate personal attack about fellow columnist Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The News-Press asked Dr. Laura to offer her opinions, views and expertise in our newspaper knowing that not all of our readers will agree with her opinions. We also know our readers don't always agree with the opinions or views of all of our other columnists or writers. The Santa Barbara News-Press wants to apologize fully for Dr. Seabaugh's comment. We have apologized to Dr. Laura Schlessinger privately and we also wanted to do so publicly. Sincerely, the publisher and associate editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press."

And here was the original text from the weekly medical columnist Michael Seabaugh:

"Dr. Laura may have the cajones to preach against tolerating diversity, but personally, I will not spend one more minute of this precious time I have intolerant of the wonderful diversity of my fellow humans.
Sitting in judgment of others is a waste of time, and I have none to waste. That overweight man in the too-tight T-shirt, the loud woman talking on her cell phone, the one in the comically bright orange wig, the homeless person speaking animatedly to the air . . . with the valuable time I have left, I would rather spend it trying to understand the uniquely beautiful way all of them are trying to make themselves known to the world.
And because I am acutely aware that time is on the lam, I will spend it with people whom I respect and who are respectful to those I respect. I will avoid those who are arrogant in their disregard for the culture within which they have the good fortune to live. I will avoid those who misuse the power and position they have acquired, perhaps through merit, but most likely through a whole lot of random luck. I will spend my last day in conversation with those who are curious about life, themselves and others, avoiding those who cloak themselves in dogma, only preaching what is familiar and self-serving."

The farther from the initial "Dr. Laura" mention, the more his writing drifted from that subject. But, still, News-Press "publisher and associate editor" saw the need for an ass-covering apology to readers and calling the benign writing by Seabaugh a "personal attack". PERSONAL ATTACK?!?!

I doubt that Associate Editor Steepleton ever reads the weekly medical column (or if he did, would not identify any "attack"), and the Editorial Page Editor Armstrong is not here this week, so no doubt the order to run this For The Record piece came from a Publisher, another example of more real hypocricy and bias from the pathetic people in their glass houses.



Anonymous IRONY Patrol said...

It really is stunning---that an APOLOGY would be printed for comments made by a columnist especially when those comments were nowhere close to a "personal attack". In fact, the wording of such an apology, I would argue, is actually a personal attack--libel perhaps?--upon the columnist, Dr. Seabaugh.

The irony is even more dizzying when reflecting upon the SCORES of personal attacks contained in TARMSTRONG's columns and editorials; and, especially, in the acerbic vitriol "written" by "DR" Laura in her N-P column. She has attacked all manner of feminists, human rights activists---well, you get the picture.

This is just one more chapter in the grotesque mess that was once the Santa Barbara News-Press [RIP]

9/08/2006 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Wishful thinking? said...

What a joke---- Laura Schlesinger IS A PERSONAL ATTACK and has made her LIVING on personal attacks.

She knows it. Wendy knows it. Travis knows it. We know it. She'll soon be a dim Santa Barbara memory......

9/08/2006 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope 7:48 ment Wendy.
Does Palm Beach need a publisher? They have beach front property there, some with guest houses.. for the Dr.

9/08/2006 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Headed South Fast said...

"publisher"!? Which one is apologizing, Nip or Wend? And which one isn't? Could that be clarified for the record? Sloppy.

Will the paper ever have an "editor?" Are the co-publishers even looking?

They can apologize all they want, as long as Dr. Seabaugh doesn't, and as long as he feels free to continue to write without looking over his shoulder. If he doesn't feel that way, he should walk.

With Barney leaving, Starshine's column jerked, and the five community columnists booted, sounds like if Dr. Seabaugh makes one more "error," then he gets the hook.

P.S. With or without pulling Laura into it, it was a fine thought provoking piece.

9/08/2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous sparkle said...

This just makes it that much more difficult for Ms. Laura to do her thing ...

9/08/2006 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you imagine that sort of apology appearing in any respected newspaper in America?

I can't, and it's sadly indicative of the totalitarian attitude of News-Press management vis-a-vis dissenting opinions, even relatively benign ones.

Particularly galling is the involvement of "Associate Editor" Steepleton, who as the de facto newsroom boss shouldn't be dragged into columnist disputes or anything relating to the opinion sections of the paper. Yet another example of the total breakdown in editorial standards, and of poor judgment as well.

Though this apology may seem relatively minor in the meltdown at the News-Press, it's indisputable evidence that the paper is incapable of reforming itself. Can you imagine a reporter or editor with any standards or integrity wanting to come work for the News-Press?

9/08/2006 9:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The L.A. Times has an update this morning:

"Santa Barbara's Summer of Discontent Sizzles Toward Fall
Feud between the News-Press staff and owner Wendy McCaw keeps Santa Barbara sizzling amid pleas to cancel subscriptions."
By James Rainey, Times Staff Writer
September 9, 2006,1,4086695.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-california

9/09/2006 6:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Seabaugh gives a thoughtful response to the News Press apology on his blog: Worth checking out.

9/09/2006 7:25 AM  
Anonymous indio muerto said...

Well, at least they had a really penetrating story about a golf cart the other day. When I turn to the front page of a newspaper and there is a story about a golf cart I expect it to be well written and researched, and boy, they hit it out of the park on that one. The LA Times today (Santa Barbara's Summer of Discontent...) makes note of another story about basil that was really great too. Maybe they can do a page A1 story about soup. Or maybe a new really cool kind of bottled water. Stick a fork in it- our paper is done for now.

9/09/2006 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 9:36pm:

this "apology" and all that surrounds it is in no way "minor". It may be the wake-up call that some still-subscribing N-P readers need to realize the paper has lost its collective mind.

I mean its too bad they didn't get it based on the resignations of respected editors, harassment of longtime reporters, manipulation of the NLRB process, etc. Those who haven't 'abandoned' Wendy cause of some misguided [money-guided?] attachment to her causes and the money she's given the environmental community, and for the Granda theater.

TIME TO GO, folks. There is other money in this town, don't sell your souls to someone who apologizes to one of the most venomist (is that a word--if not I hereby declare it one) "personalities" in our pop culture.

9/09/2006 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

Laura Schlessinger, whose hot, naked infidelity party was photographed and is widely available on the net, (just google "dr. laura nude") is a disgraceful charlatan with the moral compass of a jackboot.

I feel sorry for her son - not only because he's fighting in a phony war that is wasting thousands of lives, but because he was raised by a disgraceful charlatan with the moral compass of a jackboot.

Shame on the Newspress for needlessly apologizing on her behalf. Seabaugh is a real doctor. I repeat: He is a REAL DOCTOR with a practice and everything.

I could go on all morning. Like Schlessinger's recent rants against women who work to protect women. I remember her writing in a past column that if you don't like the Newspress, go start your own paper. That's smart! That should apply to everything, then. If you don't like a group that focuses on helping just women, stop complaining and go start your own man-help group, Schlessinger.

Rallying against a group that is trying to help anyone is pretty damn mean. It's like being angry at the full half of the glass for not being a full glass! Of course, Schlessinger is a complete imbecile, so we can't expect her to understand complex human interactions like compassion.

(Plus that tattoo eyebrow - that's like step 8 in Schlessinger's steady march towards being a entirley representative human shell ala Darth Vader.)

9/09/2006 8:54 AM  
Blogger spiritsofsb said...

Dr. Seebaugh's response to the "apology":

9/09/2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

McWendy and her little lecherous remora of a boyfriend should be the ones apologizing to the public for completely gutting our beloved local paper and treating the community with utter contempt.

What size is the paper down to these days? 12 pages?

9/09/2006 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worker Bee, your rash of insults isn't making your point or helping your cause.

It makes YOU look bad. And to drag someone's son into something, a person we don't know, who is willing to put his life on the line for us (regardless of whether you believe in the cause or not) is disgraceful.

Take the high road.

9/09/2006 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

worker bee: Your hate and vitriol isn't much better than what you're complaining about.

9/09/2006 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

worker bee, I don't know who's rants are more vicious.

9/09/2006 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PERSONAL ATTACK? Give me a break. Dr. Laura's first column was a personal attack against the NP book critic who didn't like her book, and a former NP editor.

9/09/2006 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Worker Bee said...

Hey, Laura drags her son into it all the time. She is her kid's mom, right?
She repeatedly pulls him out to rally support for the Iraq lie. Plus, he's a grown man. If he were a little boy, I'd deserve a spanking.

Just like bigoted right-wing mouth pieces deserve every insult and angry comment they spook up. I've written this before: if you're a bigot, I've got exactly no time to speak nicely about you.

(And come on, the tattoo eyebrow thing has the comedic potential of a banana peel!)

The same goes for the wealthy employers who tear down companys that support the livlihoods of many for no purpose other than to avoid admitting mistakes. Using middle class employees like pawns on a their lawyer's chess board makes me ill. Ill!

9/09/2006 1:45 PM  
Blogger beam said...

"— What do you think Oprah would say?" Star columnist at Colleen Cason 9-8-06 I can only imagine what goes on in the ivory tower, but it makes sense little Laura played the poor victim. She's feeling ATTACKED, of course. They're all on the edge. Do you think Wendy is in some kind of rehab? And Nipper? If she can stomach the VF outing of her lothario she is on massive drugs. What else could cause that much denial? And she has all those "friend" to whitewash, poor big rich "girl" Where's the Enquirer or Globe? Wendy's aging ParisHiltontype celebrity has brought a white trash of the rich and famous quality to the American Riviera. They are rapidly self destructing, as demonstrated in the blame attack games. Are people writing and supporting the wise Dr. Seabaugh?

9/09/2006 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Normally I would not waste the time to post a comment regarding a mere celebrity, which is all Laura Schlessinger really is. Her angry and biggoted view of the world rarely deserves attention, much less the time it takes to form and write a coherant idea. However, the News-Press apology for Dr. Seabaugh's essay against intolerance is simply baffling.

Ms. Schlessinger exposes her ideas to criticism by publishing them. Dr. Seabaugh in no way attacked her person (as the rather cruel posting of nude pictures of her does). He addressed himself to her ideology, which is fair game. He did so with a civil, nearly courtly, politeness, which she hardly deserves considering the vitiolic mode of her writing.

This episode illustrates just how far the News-Press has fallen down the rabbit hole, where up is down, yes is no, and the definitions of ad hominem attack and civil discourse are reversed. What's next for the alternative universe they call a newspaper?

9/09/2006 3:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Seabaugh's was in no way a personal attack. I read it and thought it was a particularly sensitive and moving piece, as his often are.

I noted his reference to the "Dr." Laura, and thought the comment about her was accurate on what she has said publicly. (I did wonder at the spelling of the good physiologist's "cajones"(sic), however.)

A "personal attack" would be one directed at her person, at her behaviour, perhaps. This one commented on her many public statements. (Would it be a "personal attack" if one wrote that Limbaugh has said that Saddam Hussein had WMD?)

Serendipitous result, though: I am glad to have Seabaugh's HealthSpan URL (and to know he's planning a 6-week-long break until October.) I no longer subscribe to the N-P and his Tuesday column would have been one I would have missed.

What a sad joke is the once-proud News-Press: front page golf-carts, a purported basil shortage in Italy (when there is so much here that N-P advertiser Home Improvement (boycott?) has a sale this week on the plants), detailed coverage of a child molestation case allegations, featured coverage of Lompoc happenings: "A 69-year-old man who stripped naked, rolled around in the dirt within a sheep compound, and then covered himself in olive oil and oats so nearby horses would "lick him clean"..." I suppose that piece can be explained as reaching out to the animal loving readers of the paper.

9/09/2006 4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if it could get worse it does... how about an apology from Wendy to the people for what she has done to our community.... but no she can't comment because she can't defend her actions without get more laughs form us... i hope there is no one left in this town that is blind to this.
At this rate Nipper will have to re-open if only for them to have a place that would have them.
please retire and go on a long long trip or as someone said "ride the donkey out of town"..... you've lost your grip and i wonder if you had one to begin with.
i know it's your paper but look what you did to it... i now question any and all causes to which you are involved with for soundness of mind. personal life is ok to mess up but this was business and you really messed up and took the community down with you.

in the hills looking down at you.

9/10/2006 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the silent auction items at the Arthritis Foundation's Taste of the Town today was lunch with Ms. Laura at the Yacht Club and sailing for two on her boat. Bidding started at $10,000. There were no bids, though someone managed to write "You'd have to pay me $10K" when the auction minders weren't looking. It was promptly scratched out.

9/10/2006 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered this blogsite. Sent the following to the associate editor and publishers of the sbnp the day of the apology...... still waiting for the curtesy of a reply:

Question........ did Dr. Laura ask for/demand that gushing apology or did you simply forget to censor one of your columnists?

You might have simply written that we have carefully examined Dr. Schlessinger and we can state uncategorically that she does not have cajones.

Also of note is the fact that contrary to your published policy on writing style you mention both Dr. Schlessinger's and Dr. Seabaugh's full name twice in the apology. According to your standards, the second time they should simply have been referred to as Schlessinger and Seabaugh.

Finally, in spite of the fact that Dr. Seabaugh did not issue the apology, will he continue on as a columnist in the News Press?

Thank you.

9/10/2006 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If that picture in the front page of the sbnp is evidence of the papers new policy of "reporting hard hitting news" I'll pass buying anymore, That photo was inappropriate.
I also question soundness of minds behind the newspress. It will take years to repair the damage done to the paper. Do they give an award out for doing that?
Wendy's got a PR problem, just a little one.
How did Huff not have a "plant" at the auction to buy the "Dr. Laura" fun package? after all it was for charity and a business expense. Image building must not be Huff's specialty, oh yeah it's downed aircraft they do.

Here is a thought for advertiser's that was brought up at todays lunch, post your specials on a blog only for advertisers that people could go to see what you ALL have on one site.

9/10/2006 8:18 PM  
Blogger beam said...

That is rich @ 4:04 pm. The best news I heard all day. I put it on blog, unfortunely, no one will see it there. Was Wendy's voice of Santa Barbara there? How did "Huff" miss a "plant"? I'm in overload re: n-p mess. But haggis Laura was too much pointing to other people's children with her SHOCK and provoking topic. I sent a comment to Independent. She's never stirred her followers to action? I'd read worker bee's comments about adult son. Hillsdale students write as shocking and more. Adult son of celebrity is remembered, both good and bad. She has no room to talk. I hope someone looks into Hillsdale, someone who speaks Spanish and likes preverse fascination with torture, war and destruction. Of course, Hillsdale "warriors" don't fixate on body parts? What planet is she on? Oh yeah, drugs and alcohol. She wouldn't know of a December 7, 2005 arrest in Fayetteville, NC of a 20 year old Deryk Schlessinger? Was there some kind of cover up? Worker bee, you are right, she brings it on herself. I read about Yolanda Schlessinger and Laura's wierdness and her excuses. When you abandon a parent and have the wealth to have her checked on, you give up the "it's personal" pass. The 1st police statements don't gell with later, and no real explanation. And what about the housefire and suspect Deryk? There's so much she could clear up but it gets covered up.

9/11/2006 1:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beam 145am--- are you on something? Your post makes not so much Sense, my friend...

9/11/2006 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... yes, it does appear that a Deryk A. Schlessinger, age 20 was arrested on December 7, 2005 in Fayetteville, NC for minor in possession... Laura's son is Deryk Andrew Schlessinger, and his 20th birthday was Nov. 5, 2005. Here is the arrest link:

North Carolina Crime Control Site

It does make Dr. Laura's recent inclusion of the comments of a James Baron about licentious behavior in Isla Vista seem a bit odd.

9/11/2006 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to stop this nonsense - target the businesses that still advertise in the News-Press

9/11/2006 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Friend of Ed said...

Cease and Desist order against Edhat

9/11/2006 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea! I'll pass it along to my friends.

9/11/2006 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't subscribe to the NP anymore. Could someone post a list. I'd be happy to boycott these people.

9/11/2006 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ask restaurants, coffee shops, etc. who keep the paper out for their customers to stop doing it.

9/11/2006 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Hypocritical is as Hypocritical does said...

Newspress obviously is more and more desperate to hold on to readers, and often the obits are the primary reason many readers read the rag. And, Millstein is trying to justify his existance and billing. Naturally, the response should be for people with an obit to list should go to other venues, such as EdHat or SB Daily Sound. Just today, Daily Sound announced it was going to 16 pages every day, along with a lot of color. Lots of obits could fit in there indeed!

The Newspress publishes links to other web links all the time. Just last Sunday the non-Dr. Laura linked to this from UCSB Daily Nexus in an attempt to insinuate the content there was somehow bad.

9/11/2006 5:39 PM  
Blogger beam said...

YES. It's about target the businesses that advertise. News-Press and RADIO. Stopdrlaura has a success story, they did stop TV Laura, had a campaign. Can someone explain Wendy's postion on the war? I thought she was against. Also, she will interfer? Laura is very prowar and when her son visits he will speak under one of his other names? This will be the N-P voice of Santa Barbara and ok with Wendy?

9/11/2006 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advertiser would do well to switch to the Daily Sound.

9/11/2006 6:08 PM  
Anonymous MEA CULPA said...

"March 23, 2000 Murder Stalls NYC Dr. Laura Show
CBS Flagship Fears Backlash After Gruesome Anti-gay Killing **Concern about Dr. Laura’s incendiary statements regarding homosexuals has increased after details of the gruesome homophobic killing of Steen Fenrich began unfolding today. ** "I'm sorry, hear it one more time perfectly clearly: If you're gay or a lesbian, it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is in your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex - it is a biological error," SAID DR. LAURA in a 1998 program. "I call homosexual practices deviant," she told the New York Post." **DR. LAURA September 11, 2006 " Expect surprises from Dr. Laura
Life is full of irony, is it not?
It's the real her onstage, she says. Asked what it's like to go through life as such a polarizing figure, Schlessinger says: "It's the people who attack me who are polarizing.I only have opinions, and we've become a society which makes it very difficult for people to express opinions if they tend to be more traditional. Nontraditional types can be quite vicious. They're the ones who are polarizing. I'm not polarizing anybody. I'm just expressing my point of view." saying her own one-person onstage effort was inspired by Tomlin, the openly gay ex-Detroit comedian. But why pay to hear what you can hear her talk about free 8-11 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760)? "It's quite personal. It's the first time I've been personal. They can't hear this on the air. I don't do this on the air." Act One, which, mixes humor with true-life stories, plus current events pulled from the top stories of the day. Dr. Laura shares her opinions on everything from childbirth to death and all things in between, including her own childhood." READ DR. LAURA IN THE SANTA BARBARA NEWS-PRESS and keep up to date on topics like under age drinking and put the onus on UCSB PARENTS.$27.50 to $150 (latter includes an after-show reception, with an appearance by the star)." Santa Barbara News-Press VOICE OF SANTA BARBARA. "Like it or leave it."

9/12/2006 8:19 AM  

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