David Pritchett sent the following, worthy of it's own post:
This below is a somewhat straight news article today, but with a terribly flawed premise that further represents how the Wall between news and opinion has been decimated at NewsPress, and they (the publisher owners and Steepleton) do not even know or understand that and now they think the public does not either.
This article is about a complaint from NewsPress ownership that an election campaign mailer-advertisement for Measure D (a ballot measure the NewsPress opposes) included an image and excerpt from a recent NewsPress news article about Measure D and the transportation problems that would be addressed and resolved if Measure D were passed by the voters.
The point here is that NewsPress ownership and upper managers themselves --apparently including Steepleton because no one else would write it-- believe that the public also would interpret and assume that an image and excerpt from a news article also means that the opinion and editorial position of the newspaper must be the same as the information IN the news article. From this example, they seem to believe that news content must be consistent and support the opinion-editorial position of the newspaper as a company, and if the news content is not the same, the public would get confused or something.
Such confusion they seem to think the public now has (because they do?) appears to be why the reference to a news article in the Measure D campaign mailer "is being blasted" by the NewsPress as a company, just like the lede of this "article" by Steepleton notes.
The NewsPress as a company legally and traditionally is free to blast away in writing about anybody and anything it wants, but such blasting should be behind the other traditional wall separating opinion content from news. This blasting or complaining by the NewsPress company should be in the form of an editorial, not under the guise of a “statement” that somehow adds an illusion that their gripe has become newsworthy. Apparently, no other news organizations are biting on these statements, so NewsPress management has to pretend they are news worth writing about.
Now before any Nelvilles accuse me again of trying to "take down" or "silence" or "attack" the NewsPress, my whole point, again, is to show another example of how the Wall of separation is going or gone among the top NewsPress deciders. They now think the public does not understand the difference either, so that is why they saw fit to send out the "statement" yesterday and morph it today into this “article” below that really is an editorial itself under the ruse of being a news article that undoubtedly no one but Steepleton would have the scruples to write.
My now-thousands of fellow Cabalists still do not want to "take down" the NewsPress. We want to restore the credibility and integrity that the newspaper had only a few months ago under the leadership of ousted Executive Editor Jerry Roberts. Besides, one just might think that an excerpt and image from the NewsPress in the county-wide Measure D mailer would be considered free advertising to boost the public perception that the NewsPress still was writing worth reading, at least by that particular news writer. Apparently, the NewsPress would rather fight than win.text of NewsPress article:
News-Press says campaign mailer misrepresents Measure D stance
SCOTT STEEPLETON, NEWS-PRESS ASSOCIATE EDITOR
October 25, 2006
A campaign mailer by backers of Measure D is being blasted by the News-Press for seemingly attempting to mislead people into thinking the paper is in favor of the proposed sales tax increase on the Nov. 7 ballot.
In recent days, a full-color pro-D brochure featuring the paper's logo and a portion of a story that appeared on the front page, has been mailed to potential voters in Santa Barbara County. The newspaper says the piece is an attempt to give the impression it endorses Measure D.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the paper said, "We want the public to know that the News-Press is not part of this group, that we did not authorize the use of our name, or our masthead, or this article and that we -- as a matter of editorial policy -- vociferously oppose Measure D. It is important to the News-Press that this mailer does not mislead any voter or reader as to the News-Press' position."
David Basmajian, a consultant with Oakland-based campaign consultant Tramutola, said the practice is used in nearly every election. In legal terms, the practice is called fair use.
"In our past campaigns we've used a portion of an editorial or a headline or a quote," Mr. Basmajian said Tuesday. "Typically you don't need to get approval because it's a newspaper and it goes out to many people already."
They chose the Oct. 1 article by by Senior Writer Melinda Burns, which ran under the headline "Danger Zones," because "it really captures a particular point of view that we believe the voters should know about," said Mr. Basmajian.
"It's something we felt got the message across about one of the things that Measure D will do, and that's make things safer for children," he said.
The law allows campaigns wide latitude in how they use material that has appeared in newspapers, on TV and the radio, and the copyright holder has little recourse even if the content is used in a way that may be misleading.
The newspaper has urged a no vote on Measure D, but the glossy brochure could leave some thinking otherwise.
"We never intended to make it seem that the Santa Barbara News-Press was endorsing Measure D," said Mr. Basmajian. "It was simply an article that captured a partial aspect of Measure D very well."