Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vanity Fair Tell It Like It Is...

The Vanity Fair article came out yesterday and I urge you all to buy it -- it's a good piece and an interesting synopsis of the News-Press Mess. The article addressed the strains between the newsroom and Travis Armstrong and did a good job at describing what happened. It then went into a bit of what you might say "color" by describing Ty Warner and Oprah's relationship to Santa Barbara and then Wendy's divorce agreement with Craig McCaw. Rounding off this section was a description of her Coastal Commission fight over beach access that the writer rightly termed "bizarre" as there is no direct beach access from her estate.

It then goes into the hiring of Travis Armstrong and describes the "mocking nicknames thrown in for good measure", the "twisted sisters" as all Democrats and women (sexism, Anon?) and how Armstrong refused to run letters to the editor which offered counter-opinions. Armstrong says the letters were over the word limits and maybe didn't have names and phone numbers --- or they also were sent to other papers. Excuse me? Letters from County Supervisors and Mayors don't have names and phone numbers?

Armstrong then admits to the reporter to correcting "errors" in some letters to the editor and sending them back for revision. If they weren't corrected, he says he wouldn't publish them or would point out the "error". Banish what bias?

Vanity Fair then goes into the DUI arrest of TKA and how Dawn Hobbes ran across the item in the police log...what to do? Jerry Roberts, the story says, felt he had no choice but to run the story as TKA is a public figure and that was the paper's policy. Apparently when Hobbes wanted to do a follow up a month later after the hearing -- TKA complained and the lawyers were brought in to speak with Roberts. The story was killed.

This was about the time Nipper came on the scene and the article describes a past business deal with Ampersand Holdings and an ex-boyfriend of Wendy's named Gregory Parker. Next the story quotes Nipper saying of McCaw "I've yet to be bored and I've been around a lot of women."

A large part of the article continues about the Rob Lowe issues which I feel has been covered here and at The Indpendent very well. Next, a description of the Duct Tape Gang ensues and the question of whether confidentiality was broken by Roberts and Brantingham. The forum then is explained and the other side is given in more detail.

Interestingly, the article explains more than we have known in the past about what happened with Camilla Cohee -- saying she was questioned about "misrepresentations" on her time card shortly before she resigned.

In a great ending -- it quotes a former intimate of McCaw's that says "Everything is someone else's fault" in her world.

Interesting facts not reported or not widely known:

  • McCaw and Nipper were with Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones on the Calise when the News-Press Mess began.
  • McCaw is a registered Libertarian -- has any of us ever bothered to look as it was so obvious?
  • McCaw had capped salaries, discontinued the pension plan and killed 401(k) matching contributions for employees.
  • Armstrong admits to correcting "errors" in some letters to the editor and sending them back for revision. If they weren't corrected, he says he wouldn't publish them or point out the "error".
  • The owner of KZSB is Dennis Weibling is a friend of McCaw's and owns Eagle River Investments.
  • Joe Guzzardi comes to Wendy's defense sticking with the TKA line that all of the no growthers are actually high density pro growthers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, read it.

Being a bit of a youngin' (30s), I had no idea Nipper's old Montecito establishment was actually called "Nipper's." Anyone ever been? What was the scene like?

Good summary, but I disagree with the list at the end. I believe most of those points were widely known by more than a few community members.

9/08/2006 12:19 AM  
Blogger Craig Smith's Blog said...

The article is not nearly as comprehensive as many of us expected, and there is nothing that anyone who has followed this saga closely hasn't already heard before. Nevertheless, the meanness of McCaw's spirit comes through loud and clear. (Read more.)

9/08/2006 1:10 AM  
Anonymous breadandroses said...

To everyone wondering why we don't all just leave the SBNP: If the Nazis are invading your country, you have several options. Among them: Gather your possessions and loved ones and leave(an ethical decision no one could possibly condemn); die bravely on the battlefield or in the streets; join the French Resistance; or become a collaborator/member of the Vichy government.

Those of us who are staying and fighting are the French Resistance, get it?

And before anyone gets all worked up: No, I'm not really comparing us to all those amazing, heroic people who literally gave their lives to fight evil during WWII, nor am I in any way trying to diminish the horrors of the Holocaust. It's just the clearest analogy I can think of for those out there who JUST DON'T GET IT.

9/08/2006 3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article confirms what many of us believed to be the case: that the battle over the News-Press is, above all else, about McCaw's and (von) Wiesenberger's egos.

Every personal anecdote, from Nipper's insistence on the baronesque "von" to McCaw's many legal battles with her exes and the coastal commission, reveals an arrogance and sense of privilege that would be laughable if they didn't control one of the area's most important institutions.

This ego also is reflected in McCaw's tenacity to see through her destructive reinvention of the paper and not to sell it. That means that staff and readers who are hopeful about a turnaround are badly mistaken. It's all about Wendy, right or wrong.

9/08/2006 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vanity Fair didn't really dig in to Wendy herself... where her motivations come from and what her life experience has really been. The stuff about her earning the $1 billion was thin... a bit about what she actually did would have been helpful... perhaps she was crucial to the C. McCaw empire, or perhaps she was irrelevant... some sense of that would have been interesting.

Similarly, so little about what she really does all day, given that she does not run the News-Press much... does she volunteer grooming distressed donkeys, or does she stick little voodoo dolls of Jerry Roberts, Craig McCaw, and Greg Parker? I'd have expecte VF to have found an ex-chaufeur to get some insight.

I think VF didn't lay into her because of legal issues. But they did go after Arthur, Travis, Lowe, etc, because the legal threats are not present for those small fry. VF respects money and lawyers... its not Private Eye.

9/08/2006 5:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Douglases and W McCaw in Dubrovnik is easy to find on the web...

Dubrovnik Pics

Good to see Wendy's healthy bum.

Here's a nice pic of the yacht:

Calixe Pic

Bet the little helicopter is noisy.

9/08/2006 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's Catherine's healthy bum, not Wendy's.

9/08/2006 7:32 AM  
Anonymous Jeeze louise said...

uhhh...excuse me GUYS unless you want to move on to the physical beauty and flaws of Travis and Arthur, could we move on to more significant aspects of this story?

9/08/2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

My opinion of this whole saga - and it is a saga - is that the community is paying way too much attention to it at this point. By following every story and Wendy's every move we are feeding them unnecessary attention and thereby enabling W, Nip, Travisty, Doc Laura and crew to continue on their mission of negativity.

I terminated my subscription long before any of the latest drama began, and even though I'm tempted all the time to pick up a copy every now and then, I resist. I feel that sacrificing any connection to the rag, and paying it no attention will ultimately result in its demise or another positive change of some kind. Many of the rest of you are energizing the issue and all it will do is prolong things.

I sympathize with the staff that are "trapped" there due to financial realities, but I would hope they are all plotting a new direction for their careers because the writing on the wall is clear. Employment at the NP is not a long term career option, unless the paper is sold and I think that is highly unlikely at this point.

P.S. - Regarding the yacht: very environmentally conscious - tooling around Europe on that boat. I wonder how much Diesel it consumes, and what amount of emissions it spews? Actions speak louder than words...

9/08/2006 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't mean the youthful Michael... nice to see him carrying CZJ's bags too...

9/08/2006 9:00 AM  
Anonymous bum watcher... said...

Obviously, we need s separate blog topic about the healthiness of the Wendy bum versus the Catherine bum. And maybe also how to register at a Croatian Paparazzi web site.

Nice "boat" there.

So when will "Mike Pinto" comment about the capitalist decadence of Vanity Fair as a publication and a lifestyle. That magazine has enough perfume ad inserts to cause an asthma attack.

9/08/2006 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "voice of rezon(e)":

There are many issues, local and national, that deserve our attention. Of course time is precious to most, and it can be at times hard to prioritize. But I personally feel that you are wrong here, that McCaw etc. need to be scrutinized, brought out into the light. Freedom of the press is a vital issue. It's not just a business designed to make money, or disseminate the owner's opinion. A newspaper has a responsibility to the people it serves. We cannot ignore this, at the peril of our own liberty.

9/08/2006 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has quickly become insipid.

Obviously, the Vanity Fair article shed little new light on the News-Press situation, so people here are jabbering about the more trivial aspects.

There's very little, and absolutely nothing new, about the newsroom conflict that precipitated these resignations and crisis. Instead, lots of ink is spilled over land use and super-gentrification conflicts in Santa Barbara as well as personality profiles of McCaw and von Wiesenberger.

The impression left there is of a very-strong willed and insular couple who feel entitled to run the News-Press their way, no matter what anyone else thinks. It's a shame for Santa Barbara, because it appears this has become more than an investment for McCaw, it's a personal crusade and test of her mettle. Even if subscriptions and advertising plunge and the paper has difficulty hiring staff because of the well-documented problems, she's unlikely to sell it. To do so would admit surrender, and Wendy doesn't surrender.

9/08/2006 11:19 AM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

Columnist in Ventura County Star today.

Santa Barbara News-Press publisher won't stay out of headlines

By Colleen Cason.
September 8, 2006

When I was a young reporter and already a tad jaded about working for a living, my friends and I would play a happy-hour game.

This was the premise: If you won the lottery, how would you give notice to your boss? Since you never had to work again, you need not worry about burning your bridges. You could pretty much super soak them in kerosine and get out the flamethrower.

Instead of the ambiguous, boilerplate "thank you for the experience," you could resign so very creatively.

Somehow, though, I never turned the dynamic around. What if the boss was the one with money to burn? Dough doesn't buy happiness. But it sure goes a long way toward feeling nary a qualm about telling the rest of the world to go eat cake.

Santa Barbara News-Press owner Wendy McCaw came by her bucks in that other form of lottery — known as divorce. For reasons that have become increasingly less clear to me, she used a hundred million or so of her settlement to buy the newspaper six years ago.

You know what they say: If you want to make a small fortune publishing local news, start with a big one.

In early July, five newsroom managers resigned because, they said, McCaw spiked a story about the publisher's drunken-driving conviction. She also directly reprimanded employees over another matter, even though the paper had no policy forbidding what they had done.

McCaw and publisher Travis Armstong — of the DUI matter — claim these journalists inserted their biases into the pages of the News-Press.

When I left for a two-week tour through Asia in mid-August, I figured the News-Press would stop making the news and return to reporting it.

The supposedly publicity-averse McCaw would do what it took to stop all-Wendy-all-the-time media reports. By this point, there had been protests against her actions in the public square fronting the paper she owned.

Silly me. Friends would e-mail me updates on the Santa Barbara situation almost daily while I was away.

For a woman who dislikes publicity, she sure knows how to generate it. When the Society of Professional Journalists announced it would commend nine staffers for their ethics, McCaw tried to get the honor retracted.

Then, she proceeded to file a $500,000 legal action against former editor Jerry Roberts for breach of contract. Since she does not need the money, why sue Roberts unless she wanted to strike fear in the hearts of other former workers?

And if these weren't enough, she more recently suspended several employees who had the gall to walk through the paper's office armed only with a letter demanding she work with them to redress grievances.

And this from a woman who claims to shun publicity?

After more than 20 years in this business, my experience with people who say they don't like publicity is this: What they are saying is they don't like bad publicity, but are just fine with favorable mentions.

Her mother-of-all divorces from cell-phone mogul Craig McCaw made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, no less. The couple supposedly wanted a quiet, amiable proceeding.

At one point in the years-long proceedings, though, Wendy McCaw served papers on the Bill Gates. Memo to McCaw: You don't subpoena the world's richest man and expect that to stay on the down low.

Now it appears a story on McCaw's vanity press will run in October's Vanity Fair. It's an issue hardly anyone will see. Yeah, right. The magazine scored exclusive first-look photos at the Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' baby.

There seems to be only one thing McCaw dislikes more than publicity: compromise.

The body count reached 17 this week. That's how many so-called bias-inserters have left the paper.

Without McCaw's means, they are searching for jobs in a tight journalism market to support themselves and their families. From her ivory tower, they must look like so many ink-stained widgets — completely indistinguishable from each other.

She could go a long way to cutting herself out of the headlines by behaving like a professional business person. Maybe, the media consultant she had to hire could explain that to her.

Until then, I play another fantasy scenario. The premise is this: McCaw's fellow Santa Barbaran, Oprah Winfrey, sits her down and has a girlfriend-to-girlfriend chat with her. Say what you want about the Divine Miss O, but usually she is on the side of the angels.

What would Oprah say? I'd love to be a fly on the wall for that one.

— What do you think Oprah would say? E-mail this Star columnist at

9/08/2006 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Goleta Girl said...

About the Sara DLG analysis above:

"Joe Guzzardi comes to Wendy's defense sticking with the TKA line that all of the no growthers are actually high density pro growthers."

More specifically and to the point, Guzz is just representing the true Special Interests of NIMBYists who support and defind the demise of Newspress credibility on everything as long as a few Travisty editorials support their positions and attack their "enemies".

The Guzz quote in the Vanity Fair article was that McCaw's critics are: "the high-density-growth crowd, using the turmoil to pile on."

Of course, support from an editorialist who is nutzo and vitriolic does not help the cause of the Guzz or anyone else, NIMBY or not. Joe, that is not a good horse to bet on! You should know better. Bill Carson may not know better or ever understand the differenc, but you (Joe) should.

9/08/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Fan Wiesenberger said...

Nipper can taste my water anytime he wants.

9/08/2006 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Windy will by KEYT too.

9/08/2006 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Vanity Fair story sure does a good job of making your little town look silly. Hope to visit soon. :-)

Susie, VA

9/08/2006 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would make such a great reality TV show. Anyone for pitching this idea?

9/08/2006 2:22 PM  
Anonymous A native SB-er said...

Susie---please don't do us any favors. We've got our hands full with enough "out of towners"......thanks anyway

9/08/2006 4:40 PM  
Blogger David Pritchett said...

The announcement-event last Tuesday by the Teamsters Union and comments by local shakers there is featured as a half-hour video rapidly produced by ace vid whiz Larry Nimmer.

The video is showing many times on YOUR community-access cable TV channel 17 under this schedule below.

So it looks like the NewsPress editorial writer will have one of his wishes come true in the editorial last Sunday, second paragraph:
"Perhaps next up will be videotapes of News-Press employees or noisy demonstrations."

This makes the fourth different video production about News-Press-Mess events quickly put together by community producers or staff of SBChannelsTV and shown on cable channel 17.

And, veteran community producer ERNIE SALOMON will start up his new season of interview shows with guest LOU CANNON on Thursday night, 14 Sep., at 7:30PM (1930 hrs), a live show with viewer call-ins.

The schedule for Ernie Salomon Show includes replays:
Saturday, 16 Sep. at 0900 hrs.
Sunday, 17 Sep. at 1500
Sunday, 17 Sep. at 2300
Monday, 18 Sep. at 0200

Here is the schedule for the special show by Larry Nimmer on the Teamsters and community announcements held last Tuesday on 05 Sep. (from Hap there):

Friday, Sept. 8th at 2 PM, 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM

Saturday, Sept. 9th at 1:30 PM and again at 7 PM

Sunday, Sept. 10th at 3 PM

Monday, September 11am at 3:30 pm

Tuesday, September 12 at 6am and 6:30pm

Wednesday, September 13 at 8pm

Thursday, September 14 at 10am and 8:30pm

Saturday, September 16 at 10:30pm

Sunday, September 17 at 11:30am

9/08/2006 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susie, I know you're just joshing here, and I can appreciate the humor too. But for those folks who don't know what smilies are, please don't judge an entire town by its eccentrics!

9/08/2006 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there going to be any webcasts of these videos?

Some of out-of-towners you snobs seem to look down on are enjoying this saga.

9/08/2006 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The population of Santa Rosa Island is missing it's Queen.... and take the Jester with.

9/08/2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Responding to 10:15AM who stated:

"McCaw etc. need to be scrutinized, brought out into the light. Freedom of the press is a vital issue. It's not just a business designed to make money, or disseminate the owner's opinion. A newspaper has a responsibility to the people it serves. We cannot ignore this, at the peril of our own liberty."

Well that seems a bit overdramatic when considering the NP's most important reporting (even before the "saga") was centered on some social event or fundraiser or new animal at the zoo. If you truly believe in what you're saying perhaps you might want to start your investigation with a guy named Rupert Murdoch and FOX News.

9/08/2006 8:26 PM  
Blogger Voice of Rezon(e) said...

In response to Goleta Girl's post (9/8 @ 12:20PM) about Joe Guzzardi:

Joe's quote's in the VF article only reinforces what a loser he is. He, like Wendy and Trav, is also an angry, bitter human being. He'll just fade away into obscurity, and will hopefully take Gary Earle and the other NIMBYs with him.

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

Thank you David Pritchett. I saw part of Sept 5th dlg on channel 17 tv and want to watch it all. It was good to hear Lou Cannon and be reminded "Their fight is our fight." And what these courageous souls are standing up for. It is a struggle for workers rights everywhere. It is freedom of speech, freedom of the press. Wendy is a distraction with her white trash of the rich and famous yuk. The VF celebrity layout looked so botoxed empty in away. If a line was drawn where would you/they stand? The likes of Rob Lowe, Oprah and many others have a great opportunity to show the world the citizen they are. If they stand with Wendy I'd be for giving the papparazi discounts to come here to pop celebrities and The Globe to rival the News-Press, with hired help and all telling the dirty little secrets. Santa Barbara bends over backwards to respect wealthy carpetbagging interlopers, the ones who violate must be called out or get out. The Douglas' were yatching before things were so obvious. No "friend" or foe of Wendy can stop her blame habit, she has deep pathology, but they don't have to tango with her. The Nipper part makes me physically sick, I didn't want to know how pathetic. If Laura Schlessinger were a human being she would, at last, give desperately needed advice. WATCH CHANNEL 17 "Their fight is our fight"

9/08/2006 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was a slow day at work and after i read the article i put in a search for blogs and i started made the afternoon go flying by and when i got home had to blog some more.
Oprah would probably say "girl what were you thinking" and ditto for Dr Phil.
And i too would be surprised to find out that she and her hangers can get a table in Santa Barbara after coming out against a living wage... waiters do spit in food.
And the boat pollution thing hummm.
she's got a one big hole she dug herself, ok with a little help it seems... yes i think it would make a great show or movie or play.
and that spendy stuff seemed to be a hoot.
and we just got rid of the Wacko now she seems to be his replacement with Laura as her Doctor. Oh what fun we have in Santa Barbara and come Halloween it sounds like the whole town will come out as Miss or is it Mrs or Ms McFlaw, will the "stud" or the lawyers be on leash or the other way around? we will all have to wait and see. And it also seems if we want to find out we have to go to the blogs to find out what the paper will not report on.
waiting for the next episode!!!!! seriously!!!!!

a new Fan aka Von Fan

9/08/2006 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Goleta Girl said...
"About the Sara DLG analysis above:
"Joe Guzzardi comes to Wendy's defense sticking with the TKA line that all of the no growthers are actually high density pro growthers."

"More specifically and to the point, Guzz is just representing the true Special Interests of NIMBYists who support and defind the demise of Newspress credibility on everything as long as a few Travisty editorials support their positions and attack their 'enemies'.

"The Guzz quote in the Vanity Fair article was that McCaw's critics are: 'the high-density-growth crowd, using the turmoil to pile on."

Poor Joe had swallowed the TKA/McCaw attempt at wedge politics hook, line, and stinker. I don't think he invented this, but does believe it. I like Joe, and am sorry to see him so used by his so-called political allies. But he accepts it and believes the hype.

It's actually the old "swift boat" technique: Take your political opponents strengths and turn them around. If you make a big enough claim and if it is topsy-turvey enough, people are bound to believe you, since it's hard to believe that anyone would tell such whoppers so baldly and loudly.

It confirms my long-held suspicion that all this hullaballoo about anti-affordable housing was at base partisan and political. (Joe did come out in support of Developer Dan, which, given his stated beliefs, is the opposite of what he should be doing, if he really believes them. I haven't yet heard who Gary Earle is supporting, but it is obvious that TKA/McCaw will support Developer Dan. If Earle also comes out for Secord, that will be my confirmation that it's all about partisan politics.)

The other tried-and-true political smear technique used by the anti-affordable housing crowd is to paint everything as black or white. They repeatedly beat the drum that if you support affordable housing, you are pro-development, pro-ultra-high density. They leave no room for a sensible middle that preserves neighborhoods but also supplies affordable housing. The reason they only speak in extremes is because they are about politics, not about preserving neighborhoods nor preserving anything else in Santa Barbara.

9/08/2006 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Affordable housing is an Oxymoron and you know it. You also know preserving neighborhoods means no building, building doesn't preserve anything. You don't fool us with your false reason 10:37pm

Stop piling on.

9/09/2006 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Los Angeles Times has come out with its scene-setter on the News-Press, leading with the premise that this will be THE story to remember from the summer of 2006.

It mostly regurgitates what we already know about the controversy.

One fact I haven't seen reported, at least in exact figures: 19 of 57 editorial staff members have left. Frankly, I thought the number would be a little higher.

It also notes that McCaw has been unable to hire an editor despite offering $200,000. And it strongly suggests that McCaw dumped Sam Singer because he had the nerve to say something complimentary about Jerry Roberts.

It appears that McCaw and her allies did not participate in the story. It explicitly says McCaw refused to comment, but her deputies - Armstrong, von Wiesenberger, Steepleton - aren't quoted either, except in previously published material. Only Agnes Huff is giving a fresh quote, and it's her usual blather.

There's not a lot new in the story, but it does reinforce the impression that McCaw and her to deputies will make no concessions to anyone. Nor will they change their hardheaded public-relations strategy. They're determined to do what they do, everyone else be damned.

9/09/2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New link for the Vanity Fair article download. This free service has a limit of 7 days active or 100 downloads, whichever comes first. The 100 downloads was depleted within 30 hours.

The new link, for 100 more (copy and paste the URL):

9/09/2006 9:45 AM  
Blogger cookie jill said...

I remember "Nipper" many moons ago in the Montecito "Triangle" days.

Is he still passing himself off as some sort of European "royalty" these days as he most certainly was back then?

Slimey then. Slimey now. And when he says he's been around alot of women....he's actually telling the truth. ALOT of women.

9/09/2006 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


We do get it, do you? We are concerned for you. We see things differently from the outside, and all the articles being published about YOUR situation seem to indicate the same thing: McCaw and her to deputies will make no concessions to anyone!

That being the case, and the fact that the newspaper industry is going through major changes, one might want to take the time to consider their options.

We understanding wanting to fight, we understanding doing what is right, we understand fear and frustration. Many of us have been there. My prayers are with all the good people in the middle of this battle.

Just consider this: Your industry is going through a reshaping and sooner or later many of you would have had to think about the viability of your chosen careers. All that has happened just seems to have made this come about sooner.

Many of your colleagues have moved on to better places. I've followed them online to the Santa Maria times and other places and read their articles and support them.

To use your analogy, we are trying to get you away from the coming holocaust and to safety.

9/09/2006 10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voice of Rezon(e) said...

Well that seems a bit overdramatic when considering the NP's most important reporting (even before the "saga") was centered on some social event or fundraiser or new animal at the zoo. If you truly believe in what you're saying perhaps you might want to start your investigation with a guy named Rupert Murdoch and FOX News.

Overdramatic? It's basic journalistic ethics.

The examples you cite are blatantly false and misleading, hardly the "most important reporting" done by the News-Press, and you know it. Don't be ridiculous. You're citing society page fodder.

Do you have any valid examples of A1 news? I'm not talking about the "new" News-Press' front-page "exposes" on golf carts and herbs. I'm talking about news published before the mass exodus of the heart of the news room. Nor am I talking about one or two stories that may appear occasionally. Show me where the majority of front page news on a consistent basis contains, as you say, "some social event or fundraiser or new animal at the zoo."

Oh, and please don't try to bluntly misdirect the conversation. You're an open book, and it's easy to see your motives. Murdoch and Fox are not what we're all talking about here. We're talking solely about Santa Barbara and the News-Press.

9/09/2006 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous (10:59 am) said...
We do get it, do you? We are concerned for you. We see things differently from the outside, and all the articles being published about YOUR situation seem to indicate the same thing: McCaw and her to deputies will make no concessions to anyone!
That being the case, and the fact that the newspaper industry is going through major changes, one might want to take the time to consider their options."

Well, as a paycheck-to-paycheck wage slave, I appreciate "bread and roses" situation and fully understand the dilemma of the remaining NP workers. Certainly they should be exploring options -- but these are limited, especially if one has family, possibly a mortgage, not to speak of all the emotional ties of community, friends, and roots. Most of those who departed and found jobs had to go out-of-town. What a loss for those of us still here!

BTW, I also appreciate "bread and roses" nom de plume. Perhaps this has come up before -- my business causes me to be an "in-and-out" participant in this blog, and I miss whole periods of time. But google "bread and roses" and check out not only the 2000 movie of that name, as well as its historic precedent in a 1912 textile strike, but also all the wonderful community projects being done in many locales under that same "nom de plume."

For those who have no time to explore the google options, here are synopses of the movie and the famous strike (both show that it is possible to overcome seemingly impossible employers with perseverence):

Plot Summary for
Bread and Roses (2000)

Maya is a quick-witted young woman who comes over the Mexican border without papers and makes her way to the LA home of her older sister Rosa. Rosa gets Maya a job as a janitor: a non-union janitorial service has the contract, the foul-mouthed supervisor can fire workers on a whim, and the service-workers' union has assigned organizer Sam Shapiro to bring its "justice for janitors" campaign to the building. Sam finds Maya a willing listener, she's also attracted to him. Rosa resists, she has an ailing husband to consider. The workers try for public support; management intimidates workers to divide and conquer.

(comment: does sound familiar)


Bread & Roses: The Strike Led and Won by Women

By Lyn Neeley, in Workers World,
29 January 1998

Jan. 12 was the anniversary of the start of the 1912 Bread and Roses strike--one of the most significant struggles in the history of the U.S. working class--in Lawrence, Mass.

A new state law had reduced the work week from 56 to 54 hours. A small gain for workers? Sounds like it. But of course the bosses found a way to gain the advantage.
They speeded up the looms and cut the average measly wage of $6 a week--a last straw for workers living on the edge of starvation.

When the wage cut was announced, workers shouted: "Short pay! Short pay!" Thousands of women and men started a spontaneous strike that rippled through two dozen textile factories in Lawrence. Some 23,000 people left the mills and poured into the streets.

Immediately the National Guard was called out, along with 22 militia companies and 50 thugs disguised as strikers. They overturned trolley cars, smashed windows, assaulted people and planted dynamite near the strike headquarters....

(background).... (Mill workers) lived in crowded company-owned tenements. Eight to 10 people from different families shared one living space. Whole families--including children under 14 years old--worked in the mills. The mills were hot and humid. The work was fast paced, with high accident rates. Bosses made ethnic slurs. They sexually harassed the women. Workers froze in the winter because they couldn't afford the clothes they produced. Rickets were common among children for lack of milk. Nearly half died before they were 6 years old.
Over one-third of the mill workers died before age 25, mostly from tuberculosis and other respiratory illnesses...

The Lawrence strike broke new ground in two ways. Women led it. And there was a conscious effort to unite workers of all nationalities....

... the Lawrence strike had shown that low-paid, oppressed workers of diverse nationalities could unite, organize and wage a powerful struggle to win concessions from the bosses. It stands as a shining example of how to build multinational, anti-racist unity with women in the lead....

One reporter wrote of the Lawrence strike: "It was the spirit of the workers that seemed dangerous. ... They were always marching and singing.

9/09/2006 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big difference. This isn't 1912, the people living in squalor are our immigrants supporting the community, and journalists are elitists. You’re pushing it to try and get the same sympathy.

9/09/2006 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say most local journalists are elitists. Remember the dictum: comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable? While it's lost much of its relevance in this age of corporate journalism, it's still a goal many of us strive for.

And our salaries hardly place us in the elite strata of Southern California society. Most of us make less than $50,000 a year, putting us in the middle class or even below. Ask any News-Press reporter, current or former, if they can afford even a modest home in Santa Barbara.

9/09/2006 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Anon. 3:31 pm, I could not disagree with you more. Except for a few journalistic celebrities, who enjoy abundant television air time or syndicated columns, the vast majority of journalists are working stiffs who make relatively modest wages. I would imagine that there are immigrant landscapers in Santa Barabara who earn higher salaries than newspaper reporters. By and large, people do not pursue journalism for the money.

Notwithstanding my attempts to avoid the experience, I have found myself interviewed many times by journalists. To a person, I have found them to be professional and civil and, believe it or not, quite earthy, not exhibiting the slightest symptom of elitism. To call all journalists elitists is simply to employ stereotype in a vain attempt to disparage an entire employment class with a single ignorant thoughtless statement.

Shame on you 3:31!

9/09/2006 9:06 PM  
Anonymous breadandroses said...

To Anonymous 10:59 a.m. (9/9):

I appreciate your concern. Thank you. I'm pretty sure I "get it" (I can't speak for my fellow Resistance Fighters, but it seems to me that they also "get it.") I can assure you that I am very well aware of the state of newspapers in the 21st century; the fact that there are plenty of other options out there; and the happy reality that most everyone who has left the SBNP has landed on his/her feet.

I am oh, so very tired of hearing, "It's her paper; she can do whatever she wants." Okay, she can TRY to do whatever she wants, but if that includes obliterating journalistic ethics at the city's paper of record, trampling on the First Amendment, suppressing any dissenting voices and vindictively trying to destroy (professionally, financially and in the court system) people's lives, SOMEONE has to oppose her (and her minions). "Evil" may be too strong a word, but "injustice" isn't, and this is not a fight I can walk away from (or that anyone is going to get me away from, however well-intentioned they might be).

As far as invincible Wendy, in her infinite stubbornness, with her gazillion dollars and batallions of lawyers (And yachts! And celebrity friends! And donkeys!), let me just say two things: She still has to obey the law (labor law, to be exact), and we are members of the profession that toppled a presidency. We ought fear no one ("Without fear or facor of friend or foe," remember?).

To Anonymous 3:03 p.m. (9/9):

You rock! Thank you. You deserve both bread and roses.

To Anonymous 3:31 p.m. (9/9):

I think you're confused, or else I've been missing out on a lot of elitist benefits this whole time. I'm a middle-class person with a working spouse, living in S.B., where we will never be able to afford to buy a house unless we win the lottery, and I look down on no one.

9/10/2006 3:33 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

(copy and paste the URLs)

This "Daily Webloid" blogger Will Spens and apparently former real news reporter interviewed him and noted last week that the Regional Director of NLRB said "no way" the unionization vote would happen on Sept. 26th.

Tenatious reporter Sally Cappon of Santa Maria Times reports today that indeed the unionization vote will be later, but it is all up to the News-Press on how much to stall.

9/10/2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous MEA CULPA said...

If I want to boy-cott News-Press advertisers, can I continue to eat with Nipper's friends? What about radio? The POPULAR and witty DR. LAURA and friends, do I $upport them? I need direction. What about letters? What do I tell people who are totally confused and tired and just want to settle for any daily paper? "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 10:11 AM  
Anonymous billy said...

Hey just found your blog and bookmarked it! I just posted on this as well, Wendy McMansion, er… I mean, McCaw, and the Santa Barbara Newspress Debacle and did a search to see what others were saying. Thanks.

9/30/2006 1:12 AM  

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