Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Today's Editorial on Bias

I've been asked to start a thread on today's News-Press editorial about "Agenda Driven Reporting" -- presumably in response to the NY Times article yesterday that has been run in various papers throughout the country. Here are some key quotes from the piece:

A newspaper to the south, for instance, failed to mention that two of the people featured prominently in one story had long-running gripes with these pages. One has been an attorney for a politician as well as being connected to developers. To preserve the quality of life here, we've criticized those interests who want to build high-density projects that are out of whack with our neighborhoods.

Some former employees, unfortunately, also have become either unwitting or tacit tools of those who'd like to silence our independent editorial voice.

...To the contrary, they'd like to squelch this voice. For them, free speech and free expression are fine, as long as what's said fits their own agenda.

And that isn't free speech? I've said all along that I have no problem with opinion that is expressed at the News-Press -- there is responsibility, however, to tell the whole story in both reporting and in editorials. This is not a 'high-density conspiracy' -- I guess we've moved on from the 'union conspiracy', which one is it? We are a community that wants the most out of our daily used to be that politicians and newspapers felt like they had a pact with the community they serve. Why are politicians looking so much better these days?


Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

This is classic Travisty Factswrong.

Or, in this case, Facts-absent.

That editorial is a long blather of innuendo with no names named nor examples given for a reader to believe anything.

And then the Newspress wonders why it has a credibility problem and declining subscribers?

1/16/2007 1:15 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Politicians are looking better because Travis (especially) and Wendy are both world-class imbeciles with total absence of logic who have immeasurably lowered the bar.

1/16/2007 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This editorial just makes excuses for what is a continuing major business and public relations blunder for Wendy McCaw -- she won't talk to the press.

Maybe she's uppity, doesn't like to lose control or just lacks basic people skills, but turning down all interviews is ironic for a newspaper owner. If she doesn't respect her own industry, she should get out.

If McCaw insists on letting her opponents tell her story, then she has to live with the results, without lawsuits or whining.

1/16/2007 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If she can't stand the heat...

1/16/2007 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And a big old fence, is like, consistent with the News-Press' neighborhood?

1/16/2007 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had heard about the article and had to read it for myself.... I still cannot believe they published it.
This along with all the other statements prove once more that there is something very very odd at the News Press.... could it be it's owner? I for one thinks so.

1/16/2007 4:39 PM  
Anonymous Indio Muerto said...

Here's an intriguing article. Von Wiesenberger apparently has real talent. Given, it's a niche talent unrelated to Newspaper publishing. I only wish I had the time and money to actually think about stuff like why water tastes the way it does, and how it travels across my palette. These people's lives are sooooooooo interesting! He can't even use our crummy tap water for fermenting his dough! Dinner at the McCaw place must be a real laugh riot. As a member of the unwashed masses, this article kind of helps me to understand why the News Press management might be just a tad out of step with John Q. Public..... Jeez.

1/16/2007 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Wendy's Wacked World said...

"They'd like to squelch this voice," says Wendy McCaw in the editorial.

You're talking about yourself, Wendy, in threatening, suing and trying to squelch the voice of anyone you don't like.

No...we want to hear your voice.

You'll bully, hiding behind lawyers like a coward, but you won't speak.

Maybe you are whacked enough to really think your threatening letters are a "form of dialogue".

But if you won't talk to leading publications in your own industry, or you won't speak to anyone in your own community, and instead just glare out at the world in anger, through those black glasses in a black dress in that worldwide New York Times photo, then don't whine about bias in vague editorials or sue reporters.

Just stay quiet.

And leave town.


1/16/2007 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

This post has quickly degenerated into childish taunts -- a favorite tactic of those who sanctimoniously accuse the News-Press of trying to evade "dialogue."

The News-Press editorial correctly observes that self-appointed journalism critics, high-density developers and union thugs are conspiring to force the sale of the News-Press, or failing that, to shut down the newspaper altogether.

While each has its own agenda, their shared socialist world-view places them at odds with the News-Press editorial page, which believes in individual freedoms and opportunity. High-density developers attempt to force collectivist housing schemes on neighborhoods; unions attempt to force collectivist labor agreements on workplaces. Both have a chorus of paid-for yes-politicians in Santa Barbara who are among the newspaper's most vociferous critics. Many self-appointed journalism "watchdogs" cheer these principles as they comport with their own biases.

The News-Press, unlike the dumbed-down corporate press, has the courage to challenge this cabal, which is why it has declared war on the newspaper.

1/16/2007 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, if they had let her keep the riff raff public off 'her beach' she might not have had such a view of 'me against the world'. Bad legal,PR and crisis advice with too much money have replaced rational thought and fairness. Is this community being served? When looking at 'others' agenda, perhaps the NP should look at their own; They have seen the enemy and the enemy is ...... Is there any exit plan that would save face ?

1/16/2007 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does Nelville feel about California'a community property law, whereby the ex-wife gets to raid the hubby's bank account..or how about getting rich by NOT working for it..simply by marrying a rich guy and divorcing him?
ah yes..individual freedoms!

1/17/2007 7:15 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

I don't see politicians looking better these days at all; it's just that WM keeps making the headlines while the politicians are smart enough to keep their mouths shut and still screw the public. Don't kid yourselves, politicians (like WM)only serve themselves. dd

1/17/2007 7:48 AM  
Anonymous big fat fan of travis said...

The point is that personal agendas and Santa Barbara politics were driving the unrest in the employee newsroom--moreso than anything else. NO, I don't work there! I just READ what Travis has to say. And looking at the evidence it makes sense--moreso than any other explanation that's been offered. Nobody can point to any specific management-meddling in the news other than the omission of a celebrity address and a rejected follow-up on a DUI (of our underdog hero Armstrong).

Yet, the rallies and boycott efforts have been STRONGLY supported by people who have been targeted by editorials. In this town, where land= big money, that turns out to be a whole lot of development advocates, including the enviros-turned-density-cheerleaders.

Hey, look outside. It's another day in paradise! Until the density-lovers crowd this scenic beauty with pavement, people and pollution, this is the best place to live. Go enjoy. Or take a day trip to Los Angeles if you prefer that sort of thing. (And notice the high pricing of housing in crowded LA while you're there...density does not equal affordability...density does equal profits for development companies)

1/17/2007 8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."
--Chinese proverb

"Sell a man a home that can't grow equity and he'll remain oppressed. Relieve his economic pressure through higher wages or lower rent and he has a chance to grow."
--Santa Barbaran proverb

1/17/2007 8:14 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Well Nelville, until now I was unaware that the developers in Santa Barbara County were closet communists. It makes sense now. All the profits made by these undercover entrepreneurs must be secretly funding some central committee somewhere to pay for the socialist conquest of the world. Your paranoid conspiracy theory about a "shared socialist world-view" cannot be supported by any real facts that you provide. You impute motives that you can never prove with objective evidence. I'm willing to grant you the benefit of the doubt and listen to rational arguments, but ranting like a mad man does not lend you credibility.

1/17/2007 8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the NP tries to cast themselves as the champion against high density development when they editorialized against the only slow growth city officials in the area - the old Goleta City council. The new council is already bending to the fast growth crowd.

1/17/2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the NP tries to cast themselves as the champion against high density development when they editorialized against the only slow growth city officials in the area - the old Goleta City council. The new council is already bending to the fast growth crowd.

1/17/2007 8:29 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Ah, Nelville, yes: The Conspiracy Theory. Again. You might want to look into the psychology of conspiracy theories, persecution complexes, and notable individuals throughout history who have suffered from them, and said individuals' fates.

The fact that so many in your community are offended by your actions automatically makes them part of a "cabal" that has "declared war." Make no mistake, any "war" is a result of absolutely inept management and communication.

Seriously, you (or SBNP, as the case may be... wink, wink) should hire some talented management consultants. Professionals. As in the kind that actually know how to SUCCESSFULLY manage businesses or organizations.

I don't know why I, or anyone else, bothers to respond to or try to engage you any more. I'm sure you're enjoying being such a ridiculous thorn in the side of so many who read Blogabarbara.

Go on continuing to believe that it's a "war" of THE WHOLE WORLD vs. Nelville, SBNP, Wendy, Travis, and Mr. Wiesenberger.

I'll say it one more time: Persecution Complex.

1/17/2007 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the NP tries to cast themselves as the champion against high density development when they editorialized against the only slow growth city officials in the area - the old Goleta City council. The new council is already bending to the fast growth crowd.

1/17/2007 9:01 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Nelville, who now has "degenerated into childish taunts"?

If you were so attune with the latest in the rhetoric of denial, you would know that calling your critics socialists, collectivists, and communists is sooooo Last Century. Now, the latest in name-calling distractions is to refer to any critic or naysayer as a terrorist, Islamofascist, and/or evildoer. The socialist and communist card is a bit obsolete now in the 21st Century.

Try it again, Nelville, like this: If you do not agree with the News-Press editorial positions on housing, who is a good or bad politician, and exotic pig and turkey species management on Santa Cruz Island, you therefore are a terrorist and a node in the Axis of Evil, and you are either With Us or Against Us. Also, Bring It On.

Calling someone a socialist or collectiist is so passe', but I am sure in the upcoming months the news (thanks to the News-Press continually reprinting many New York Times articles) will have plenty of chances for health care policies to bring out an excuse to call health insurance supporters a "socialist" and "socialized" quite a few more times.

And, again, if the News-Press had so much courage, why do the editorials not cite specific examples of the bias, bad writers, and personnel conflicts? If you think you are so correct, then be specific. Who is trying to "evade dialogue" now?

And do tell us more about the "transition" the newspaper supposedly is going through? When the transition is complete, does that mean that origninal news all will be written by Westmont College student interns covering stories that were reported on a local blog only five days earlier? And does that also mean the rest of the news will be six different syndication services filling 90% of the news space and not just the four wire services that fill only 70% of the page space now?

And why do you not post comments at the Independent Media Blog?

1/17/2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville Flynn said:
While each has its own agenda, their shared socialist world-view places them at odds with the News-Press editorial page, which believes in individual freedoms and opportunity.

Accusing others of "childish taunts" as a segue into red-baiting takes some serious bravado. Apparently, either you're with the News-Press, or your an immature commie. Wow.

Quite frankly, I don't know whether to be offended or impressed.

Nelville Flynn said:
The News-Press, unlike the dumbed-down corporate press, has the courage to challenge this cabal, which is why it has declared war on the newspaper.

Does "it" refer to the non-existent cabal, or the has the News-Press declared war on itself? The latter would certainly explain a heck of a lot.

1/17/2007 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Answer me this, Nelville: If the News-Suppress is so absolutely right and the rest of the world so absolutely wrong, why won't the paper publish *any* opinions whatsoever contrary to its own? Not one letter, not one op-ed column, etc etc. That is what gives the lie to everything you say, Nelville.

Instead we get Gigantor-sized photos of doggies and birdies. So sad!

1/17/2007 5:29 PM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Santa Barbara Channels TV17 has announced its schedule for yet another video that chronicles the seemingly eternal saga of the News-Press-Mess.

Although cameras were prohibited in the Federal court during the recent NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) judicial hearing recently held 9-10 January, community-access videographer and citizen journalist Larry Nimmer was present outside the Federal court and at the County Administrative building to record the vibe and interview people about the on-going labor dispute between the newspaper and the Teamsters Union.

This half-hour program produced by Nimmer is scheduled to show as follows on Cox cable Channel 17, Santa Barbara’s Community Access Channel:

Wednesday, January 17th at 7:30 PM
Thursday, January 18th at 2:30 PM
Friday, January 19th at 9:30 PM
Wed., January 24th at 7:30 PM
Thursday, January 25th at 2:30 PM
Friday, January 26th at 9:30 PM

Other times will be added and shown at the schedule here

1/17/2007 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a common ailment among management: one day it wakes up and sees a union organizing campaign, and it wonders: how could this be happening to me? Am I such a bad employer? What did I do to deserve this? Well, especially given the obstacles placed before employees who wish to join by the very agency (the NLRB) that is supposed to be dedicated to encouraging and protecting collective bargaining, it usually takes some seriously unhappy and/or concerned and/or frightened -- yet courageous and fearless -- employees to take their employer on. But it almost invariably starts with management stupidity, greed, arrogance, callousness, hubris, and/or all of the above. By now, however, most management egotists would have caught on, applied a band-aid, and either faced the union music or actually avoided the union. Here, the NP has continued to blunder, which first ensured a total vanquishing at the polls, and now has continued to keep the NP's cruel face in the spotlight. With help, of course. But why is it so hard to believe that the reporters have minds of their own, that they are not "puppets" of the Teamsters, but natural comrades, not shills of the developers or editorial enemies of Travis et al, but independent souls who believe in their cause, and believe collective bargaining is the only hope to gain some measure of protection and improvement in the workplace? The self-delusion in the management suite at the NP seems total. Not to mention the willingness to lie, under oath, and everywhere else. Right, Travis? Got it, Scott?

1/17/2007 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Newspress put their editorials about bias and the union at the "commentaries" part of their web site? Seems like that collection of material would be a good way for them to get out their version of the story.

1/18/2007 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/18/2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I agree and didn't really like the comment myself -- sometimes, however, people need to be called out on these kind of statements. In general, I try to stay away from "censoring" but this one might have been a good one to do so....

1/18/2007 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1/18/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, "...In general, I try to stay away from "censoring" but this one might have been a good one to do so...."

Your instincts were right, imo, better, much better to have no censorship - EXCEPT to protection yourself against defamation charges - and, a second exception: if there should be spamming.

1/18/2007 1:10 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Done -- and a couple in relation to it.

1/18/2007 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, my postings were benign, but the blogmaster has censored me. My comments were triggered by the references to "communists" and "socialists" in previous posts. That's allowed, but it looks like the topic of Jewish influence in Santa Barbara has been banned from this site.

Are we also not allowed to mention Latino influence? Is something wrong with that topic, too?

I'll say this one more time for diversity's sake (it was censored last time):
shalom, praise allah, and happy MLK day!

don't censor me! please!

1/18/2007 2:37 PM  
Anonymous Thinking outside the box said...

I feel everyone is looking at the News-mess thru tunnel vision, rehashing the same stuff over & over.

My suggested solution for the News-mess: Employees and former employees should
form a task force and find community members willing to invest in a new daily paper. Surely this is doable. I think there's enough people in the community willing to invest in this. The problem is most journalists are not business savvy enough to consider this as a possibility. If you keep on the same track, you're just going to keep sinking. You can't keep trying to negotiate with a company that lives in an alternate reality. It's like trying to make rational conversation with a wino.

1/18/2007 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Blog Advisory said...

The respected Electronic Frontier Foundation writes that Wendy subpoenaed Google, demanding that Google disclose Blogabarbara’s account information.

“Newspaper Publisher Tries to Thwart First Amendment”
January 18, 2007

Apparently, Wendy hasn’t sued enough people yet and is looking for more, if EFF is correct.

Or maybe this is more of what the NLRB judge called “shoddy legal work” by McCaw’s lawyers.

Either way, Sara should thank Wendy for pushing Blogabarbara’s readership through the roof.

Since Wendy has already sued the Independent and is going after Blogabarbara (according to EFF, Mrs. Wendy, according to EFF), is Craig Smith’s blog next for “the Wendy Treatment”?

It’s sad that what would once be considered outrageous behavior by a business protected by the First Amendment has now become commonplace in Santa Barbara.

Stay tuned. Rather, stay connected.

1/18/2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Article re NP and First Amendment


1/18/2007 8:57 PM  

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