Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where's the bias?

This is from one of our readers:

The Women's Literary Festival was written up twice in the News-Press before the Feb. 24 event. The first time was Feb. 11, in a books column; the second was a Feb. 21 story about the festival.

In neither article was the name of author and guest speaker Starshine Roshell.

Another example for the SDLG Center for Union Busting Studies - It seems that banishing bias is only applicable if you want to wage a PR campaign against a union or get rid of reporters who voted for it....



Blogger Pale Writer said...

The Santa Barbara News-Press's "new management" team's Mission Statement:

Part 1 -- "How to write non-biased stories at the News-Press."
(A survival guide for remaining reporters who do not want to get fired).

First, read Travis Armstrong's editorials and opinion pieces so you know exactly what Wendy thinks. The editorial pages are your Bible.

Second, make sure any "news" article that you write on a subject for which the newspaper has taken a stance does not "go against" the editorials or opinion pieces. Find sources that will comment in agreement with the paper's opinions, the same way Travis prints only letters to the editor that agree with the paper's opinions.

Third, hoard your paycheck and put as much into your savings as possible, because even if you live by the News-Press guidelines, you can be on double-secret probation and not know it. On a moment's notice, you can wind up living off those savings.

Part II -- How to survive double-secret probation at the News-Press.

First, don't speak to anybody in disfavor with Wendy, either by telephone, via e-mail or in person. This includes all former co-workers with whom you were once friends. Shun them in public, turn away from them if they approach. Don't take their phone calls or return e-mails.

Second, compile a list of people in disfavor with Wendy, update it daily and memorize it. These include religious, community, business and political leaders, outspoken citizens, the homeless and especially the Teamsters Union.

Third, read up on wildlife, including whales, turkeys, feral pigs, and learn to love them and trees. Be prepared to live among the animals and frolic through the forests. This will be the only safe place where you will not be tracked by Wendy's security forces or pursued by the Angel of Death, gown fluttering in the wind, termination letter tightly grasped in her hand.

And enjoy your experience reporting "News-Press style" under the the "new management," because you'll be banned from reporting for any newspaper that values integrity, which is just about everywhere else on the planet. Except maybe for government-owned newspapers of dictators, who only demand your absolute loyalty, and make up journalism rules as they go along.

Part III -- Desperation tactics to try to cling to some semblance of ethics to retain advertisers

As a last resort to gain credibility as a News-Press reporter, just hope that McCaw & Co. take out a full-page ad claiming "The Teamsters did it!" and that everything everybody else says is false and biased, but that the News-Press cannot reveal how they are false and biased because it doesn't want to mudsling.

Don't try to figure out why the News-Press has no forum to communicate its side with the public. Or why a newspaper cannot voice what it claims to be the real truth. Or why the News-Press has to present its side via full-page ads that make outlandish claims and fail to provide any facts to back them up.

Remaining reporters: Keep doing exactly what you're told to, so you'll have at least one experience to remember for the rest of your life: that you were almost a journalist once.

2/26/2007 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy McCaw in her full page "Ten Commandments" reportedly says something to the effect that she never interfered with the news, mentioning only her reprimand to journalists because of the Lowe address in the planning approval story.

She forgets, of course, to list killing Armstrong's drunk sentencing story, not to mention interfering with stories about the very public results of her incompetent executiveship. Remember Publisher Armstrong's "letter to readers," where he, as opinion editor, was dictating the overall news, suggesting that the walkout by six vets was something like a "family spat." This is interference and bias of the worst sort by McCaw, no matter what her Orwellian full page claims day after day.

Anyway, deleting Starshine's name would just be part of an overall pattern of bias and interference with the news by McCaw, some petty, some not so petty.

The problem is almost over, however. At the present rate of firing or forcing out reporters, soon McCaw will have no local news to potentially interfere with -- on some days she's only one or two stories away from that now. And if she keeps whacking pressmen, soon the printing presses could come to a screeching halt as well.

Either way, very soon, poof, no more bias by Wendy.

2/26/2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, speaking of "waging a PR campaign," what happened to Dr. Huff? Hasn't she been MIA for a long long time? When is the last time one of her press releases was seen or there was a comment by her in a publication?

Off with her head? Or did Agnes return to her degree mill to do post-doctorate work in crisis management?

The last heard from the good doctor was just before that gorgeous photo of Wendy in black mumu with drink glass was plastered on the front of a New York Times business section.

2/26/2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous In bias we believe said...

In the December issue of Social Scene Magazine, there's an entire photo page devoted to the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Although she wasn't one of the three award winners, Dr. Laura Schlessinger appears in two photos.

Sara Miller McCune, who WAS one of the Lifetime Achievement Award winners, can't be found in any photograph.

(Ms. McCune, for those who may have forgotten, accepted her award at the dinner by saying she hoped to purchase the News-Press.)

2/26/2007 10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was out of town for the weekend and just checked in on this blog. There are so may new topics I just do not have the time to comment on all of them.
Thanks Sara for providing the city with a informative information blog.

2/26/2007 10:16 PM  
Anonymous David said...

No, Dr. Huff's still around. But I guess the NP doesn't need press releases when it can take out full page ads.

2/27/2007 2:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the News Press revamped their Sunday TV weekly magazine, organizing the various channels by content, they included local cable channels 18,19,and 20, but left out the two run by The Santa Barbara Channels, which bracket the other three- 17 and 21.

One wonders whether this is "payback" for the community access station being an open forum for diverse voices, including airing programs produced by community members about the News Press demonsrations and for covering the initial two hour forum back in July in which Jerry Roberts, Lou Cannon, Ann Bardach and others spoke.

It is certainly "curious" that 17 adn 21 were omitted from the revised grid!

2/27/2007 5:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When George posted about this on his blog, someone from the Women's Literary group commented that she was outraged at the lack of recognition of Santa Barbara's only local representative and guest speaker at the event, Starshine Roshell.

Looks like the bias in the newsroom has only increased, under the guise of "loyalty" to the ownership. The things one will do for McCaw's largesse of a $50 restaurant gift certificate.

2/27/2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the editorial page has become an investigative reporting series, amazing.

In the Feb 27th Editorial, "Our Opinion: County housing fraud is a scandal" includes the line
"We'll detail in future editorials the abuses throughout the program."

Shouldn't investigative reporting happen in a series of articles. Something they could put on the front page... or are we getting editorials on the front page, now.

Would someone from the Independent, or LA Times, just force the NP hand by writing up an article about what TA is talking about. I can't imagine much investigation is going on... we're talking old information.

More importantly, talk about the solutions that are now in place (if there are any?)

2/27/2007 9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starshine Roshell is dead to the News-Press.

2/27/2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCune could not pay Wendy's property taxes, let alone buy the SBNP. What was she smoking?

2/27/2007 4:29 PM  

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