Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Seabaugh's Story Now Online

It all began for Dr. Michael Seabaugh when Jerry Roberts left the Santa Barbara News-Press and he felt like he was "home alone" working for no one -- as there is no one home at the News-Press. Here's what he had to say about the unprecedented step of apologizing to Dr. Laura in a "Letter to Readers" about his September 5th column:

I was never contacted by the “deciders” on this matter. The only contact I ever had was a kind and apologetic call from my immediate editor, Andrea Huebner, on the morning the NewsPress apology was published.

Four days later, Andrea Huebner was fired. The reason? Officially, it was something about the poor quality of her work. Anyone who knows Andrea or has worked with her, as I have, knows this is utter bullshit; she is a very competent professional. The real reason? Because she allowed my September 5th “Birthday” column to be run as it was written, respecting my rights as a columnist (and as an American?) to speak my mind and express it in the way I saw fit.

He goes on to say that Huebner's firing "highlights the fallacy of pride as a platform for moral decisions". In essence, Huebner "took a bullet" for him and he felt no choice but to leave the paper.

See for yourself at the Healthspan Blog. EdHat, BlogaBarbara or anyone can link to it as far as I know....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every day the News-Press slouches closer to the "journalism" of a totalitarian regime. You have a cowed news staff constantly looking over their shoulders for fear of offending their masters, ruthless crushing of dissent, a harmonic convergence of "facts" and opinion in the service of one leader and one ideology.

It's the local version of what the New York Times would look like with Karl Rove as editor-in-chief. The News-Press is an embarrassment to democracy in our little corner of the United States.

9/16/2006 9:18 AM  
Anonymous No time for Neutrality said...

Shame on the NewsPress----and to anyone who fills their coffers for their own personal gain [read: advertisers]. I respect the employees who've given their livelihoods and earnest talents to uphold journalistic ethics and integrity. And the ones still in the newsroom fighting that battle. Because this cannot continue for much longer---we---the Santa Barbara community---want our paper back. We must be able to stay abreast of local news [not censored or written by college students], and a brisk exchange of ideas.
I hope this latest turn of events---the apology to "DR"Laura and subsequent firing of Andrea Huebner and loss of Seabaugh's column----causes those few remaining doubters of Wendy and Travis's evil intent to express their outrage. This is NOT a time for neutrality---I don't care how much $$ McCaw might have given your pet enviro or cultural cause----cut her loose.

9/16/2006 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News Press is lurching into some really dreadful journalistic company. Williams Loeb's Manchester Union Leader and the old LA Times with Harry Chandler come to mind. But anyone thinking that Wendy will bend to subscription cancellations, unions, sadly missing the point. Her bubble doesn't care. She has no stockholders, no investors at all. None of that matters to her. Marty Blum has a better chance of her initiative for impeachment resulting in Bush resigning than in Wendy caving to local pressure. Sad but true. And I bet you she would rather give the paper to Andy Caldwell before she would sell it to "enlightened" local owners.

Sal Si Puedes

9/16/2006 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Dr. Seabraugh's Birthday essay in its entirety and discovered that the offending essence quoted in Blogabarbara comes in the middle of an otherwise profound and beauifully written essay that I've copied and am sending to friends. It's just that good. The "cajones" quote is entirely within the context of Ms. LS's public persona and statements, was entirely within the scope of an opinion columnist's expression. Tempest in a teapot that had disasterous consequence. How sad for our community.

To those of you who are still using a business model to interpret events at the SBNP: it's about public trust and
the importance of fair, impartial, balanced reporting.
Question: is Wendy an only child?

9/16/2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I'm not sure what you are saying -- I'm completely in support of Dr. Seabaugh's position and article. To say 'offending quote' might be a bit misleading?

The only child issue is not one we should be addressing here please -- it's almost too much to publish as far as I am concerned. Let's keep it to what she is doing than who we think she might be.

9/16/2006 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Still curious said...

Factual information -- not opinion -- on Wendy's background and childhood might be helpful in explaining her actions regarding the newspaper. Can anyone reference magazine or newspaper articles about her? Possibly from the San Francisco and Seattle areas?

9/16/2006 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, upon reflection, I have to say your critiques of my comments (anon. 12:52) are well-placed. Corrections accepted.

9/16/2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Thanks -- I appreciate you saying so.

9/16/2006 2:10 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

No Time for Neutrality - just curious how you would feel about punishing the advertisers "IF" you happened to be employed by one of them? You would be faced with the possibility of loosing your income and the means of supporting your family if boycoting began.

The punishment of advertising workers would be unintentional by the boycotters, but it could/would have a devastating effect nonetheless.

Would that bother you at all? dd

9/16/2006 2:48 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

For those of us that don't have much else to do, read about Parker v. McCaw settlement.

It may explain a lot about Wendy and her modus operandi. dd

9/16/2006 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For days I've been reading too many "just give it up" posts. You've seen them. Posts from an advertiser (or more) who is afraid to make an ethical stand and put their advertising dollars elsewhere, so they're pleading for you not to boycott for fear you'll put others out of work. And there are those who think that Wendy will never, ever sell or close the paper, so why bother, just give it up.

Both these kinds of posts are red herrings.

An advertiser can choose where he/she wants to put their ad dollars, whether it's in television, radio, print, or Internet and other non-conventional media. They can commit to up to a year's worth, but they sure haven't paid for that year's worth, and can pull out.

Consumers can safely boycott them without fear. After all, it's a free country for consumers, just as it is for those in positions of power. Consumers can choose to move their purchasing dollars elsewhere. You can bet that will wake up that advertiser fast, and you'll see sparks fly from their feet as they speed off to a new venue. No one will lose jobs, unless they are bullheaded and continue to swim against the tide, and if they do, then they deserve everything they get. Their employees will move on, probably long before the advertiser goes out of business.

And true, Wendy has a lot of money. The money is her grease, that makes it easy for her to disseminate her wonky set of views to as many as will listen. Soon, no one will listen. Advertisers, pushed by fleeing consumers, will move along. She will only allow herself to bleed money for so long. After all, runnning a daily is very expensive, and it won't take that long for her to give it up. Her pride will probably cause her to close up shop rather than sell it, though.

That's the free market system. That's capitalism. That's America. Advertisers and owners need to understand that they have to operate by the same set of rules that consumers do, even if they get more cookies at the end of the day.

9/16/2006 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the publishers' of the NP should read the August 28 2006 post at WENDY-PRESS-MESS bolg spot.
They might understand why the public is concerned about this.

9/16/2006 8:07 PM  

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