Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bias is a Bias Does...

My mama always said...bias is as bias does.

Through pass-along readership, I saw the full page ad today in the News-Press with the headline "The Truth behind the Words at the Santa Barbara News-Press" -- replete with a dictionary definition of the word "bias". In case you needed to look it up -- "To influence in a particular, typically unfair direction; prejudice". It went on to quote the oft-used 60% poll and then takes on the Teamsters. My favorite part was the authoritative quote from "Anon" which one must assume was part of the poll as there is no explanation or source included.

I'm not sure where this definition puts the News-Press considering the news stories over the last few days, let alone the last eight months or more....but I think they should be more careful about how they wage their war, pointing the finger means there are three more pointing back at yourself.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a pretty strange page. Probably nothing like it in American journalism.

Just on the surface, ugly, ill-conceived, bad form, and that wierd reference to "anon."

Reminds me of the newspaper's "professional" management team.

3/01/2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The page sounds out the word in huge red letters, "[bahy-uhs]". McCaw continues to think the public is stupid.

Dumb assumption by her.

3/01/2007 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The big page cites the "independent study" but won't show it to anyone. Lack of transparancy is something their opinion pages cry about -- by others -- all the time.

What would a new "independent study" reveal about what readers now think of the News-Press?

News-Press "management" would find the new results frightening.

Won't happen, though. They've shown that they don't have the humility to ask for anyone else's opinion as to how to save a sinking ship, even in the face of continuing failure.

3/01/2007 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Jonathon Not-Too-Swift said...

“Satire is the lowest form of that thing where a fellow says something funny and other fellows laugh at it!” – Baron von Weisenheimer

The DisOrganized Players and Eeyores of Santa Barbara (DOPES) is proud to present…

The Continuing Adventures of Windy McCuckoo and Baron von Weisenheimer

THE STORY SO FAR: A rare foray into the outside world has left Windy aghast at Man’s Inhumanity to Squirrels. Meanwhile, back at the mansion, the Baron drank a cup of water, pronouncing it “nutty, with a hint of tree bark” – not realizing that the cup was the one in which Windy had soaked her dentures overnight.

ACT ONE, SCENE FOUR: The Baron, who seems to be out of sorts, is sprawled on a couch in the living room, playing half-heartedly with his ball of string. From across the room, looking disheveled, her lips pursed together tightly, her eyes darting from side to side, Windy observes him with a growing sense of foreboding.

WM: What IS the matter, darling? I’ve never seen you like this before!

BvW: (grumpily) Stop it, darling! It’s simply beastly to interrogate a fellow after a hard day’s water tasting!

WM: But what can I do to cheer you up, darling? (thinks for a moment) I know! We could fire somebody down at the News-Thing-y. That’s always fun!

BvW: But, there’s nobody left there, darling!

WM: (thinks again) I know! We’ll do something else fun – we’ll sue somebody!

BvW: (perking up) Well, it has been at least 24 hours …

WM: (getting angry) I’m going to sue that AWFUL woman I read about in the Thing-y, the one who’s been going around pretending she’s me!

BvW: (puzzled) You mean, that crazy astronaut woman wearing the diaper who attacked somebody?

WM: (angrier) No, darling. I mean that DREADFUL woman who won the Oscar the other night!

BvW: (still puzzled) Helen Mirren?

WM: (seething with anger) That’s her! How DARE she call herself The Queen! (wailing) Rob Lowe promised me that movie was going to be all about me!

BvW: (after a long pause) You know, darling, I think I know what’s been bothering me.

WM: What is it, darling? You can tell me!

BvW: It’s just, I … I …

WM: Spit it out, darling!

BvW: Darling, I … I … I think you’re beginning to BORE me!

[Crash of thunder and lightning. Windy shrieks and falls to the floor in a dead faint. Fade to black.]



What will it take for Windy to win back the Baron’s heart? $10 million? $50 million? $100 million? A bigger ball of string?


3/01/2007 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Featuring these full-page ads is a sign of desperation.

Wendy McCaw won't talk to the media since there is no "side" to her story, other than she hates for her employees to write balanced news stories that partly "go against" her editorials -- which is what happens with ethical stories that present all sides.

She sees this as "disloyalty" punishable by firing.

All her revolving "spokesmen," Sam Singer, Agnes Huff, David Millstein, Barry Capello, The Baron, can't sugarcoat or hide this fact.

These new "ads" won't work either.

There IS something that would work: try hiring professional journalists and then don't bully them to shape their reporting to reflect your editorial views.

3/01/2007 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about hiring journalists that do reflect Wendy's views - sounds a lot more efficient and a lot less troublesome for all parties concerned.

How generous was out-spoken tyrant Editor/Owner Thomas Storke? I wonder what it was like to work under his reign?

Somehow I am guessing in the Good Old Days, many an owner or editor were equally like-minded.

You just don't like Wendy's mind. But many of her current readers do. And I know this is hard to take. But I don't know how else to put it. Money talks and for some reason Wendy wanted to buy a newspaper. It is now her sandbox and she gets to play by any rules she wants - her version of Calvin Ball.

This is not an unknown situation. There is nothing sacred about a newspaper. It is just paper and the bucks behind it to keep it in production.

Santa Barbara Sound is moving into the local news scene very nicely. While the NewsPress is dropping into a narrow niche. Nothing sacred here.

Lots of old newspaper standards with romantic histories are now rags of the past, existing in memories only.

These things like much in life have their ebbs and flows. You are watching history.

Try watching the videos of the early years of SNL - who even remembers the hosts or the current events references now 25 years later. That will put all of this in perspective.

25 years from now no one will even remember Wendy or Travis or even the NewsPress. They had their moment, and then they died.

And they will not be remembered anymore than all those self-important names on civic plaques all over this town. They mattered at one time but are just anonymous ciphers as we pass them by today with no recognition.

Go look at the names on the tall County Administration Building dedication plaque - who the hell are those people and why are they taking up so much space in the landscaping. Scrap 'em.

Same thing for Wendy's short-lived reign. No one can live on that much bile at her age without getting sick. Even as we speak the Baron might be looking for a Swiss sanitarium to check her into.

3/01/2007 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy owns the newspaper. Of course she would fire those that are disloyal.

This is not rocket science. And fairness has nothing to do with it.

All jobs today are at-will. Only public schools grant tenure. And even that is starting to erode.

3/01/2007 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ad just reflects the NP's continuing descent into insanity. Management keeps talking about reporters' "bias", but the harder they try to "prove" it, the more exposed as fraudulent the position becomes. It is completely laughable and absurd to suggest, as the NP has repeatedly done, that it proves "bias" that a proponent favoring passage of an initiative used a piece of an article from a fired reporter. Any computer-halfwit could "cut and paste" pieces of virtually any article to create a campaign piece, and it happens regularly. The NP doesn't have the goods, and though it has cited its survey for every purpose under the sun for months, it has never produced it. Probably because its methodology is questionable, and at least some of its conclusions not palatable. So it can cherry pick what it likes through Travis' screeds and its propaganda, and ignore the rest. Until someone whips out a subpoena.

Anonymous 5:56 PM, you are mistaken. All jobs today are not "at will", and even those that are are protected from retaliation for whistleblowing and union activity (which is why the eight reporters who were fired are going to win reinstatement through the NLRB's processes), not to mention race, gender, age and disability discrimination. So, when Wendy wants to rid herself of her union supporting employees, she must find a pretext for doing it, and she has tried, at least in a couple of instances. She is going to lose that battle, however.

3/01/2007 6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant Playwright, you had me until the final scene claiming the Baron was bored. How would he know that?

Reminded of the famous quote ascribed to the Queen Mother: if you are bored, then YOU are boring.

3/01/2007 6:50 PM  
Blogger passing-by said...

I was happy to see that the ad implied that the NewsPress was turning away from "junk news".

Now they are focusing on important stories like the one with the full page headline in section one which reported, to my relief, that Beyonce was not at risk of hepatitis from the food served at a party she attended! Whew

3/01/2007 7:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:56 PM, I know your point was not to make me laugh, and thus I will try to make a serious face and respond accordingly to this thread in a serious manner.

My question to anyone who posts here -- anonymous or otherwise -- that is of the viewpoint that you should "get over it" because it's a laissez faire dog eat dog money-driven world that you better run in or you'll get run over, that an owner of a company can do whatever they want blah blah blah, and that an employee should just put up and shut up or quit blah blah blah, is this:

How many of you have been fired from a job for reasons you felt were unjust?
How many of you have been in a situation where you didn't know where next month's rent was coming from or how you were going to pay for your monthly perscriptions with out health insurance?
How many of you have ever had to rely on unemployment compensation?

I'm just curious, because my theory is that none of you have suffered emotionally or financially from losing a job.

3/01/2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People who say that Wendy should be able to do whatever she wants with the News Press -- no matter how stupid, destructive or illegal -- are getting the paper they deserve.

3/01/2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

Stories??? You mean the N-P publishes stories these days? Could'a fooled me :-) dd

3/01/2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:10 pm -- great points. VOR keeps on talking about population increases in the state in another posting area and is making some decent points but here in Santa Barbara our population is becoming older than the rest of the state. The u-curve rather than the bell curve -- the young and old, the service employees and the rich, the have and have-nots is what is happening here.

How many of us are clear and present to being one paycheck away from what you describe and then perhaps two more from even worse...

The News-Press is McCaw's business but there are and should be consequences for messing with people's livelihood for little reason other than wanting to join a union. I wonder sometimes if those who have the outward trappings of success remember or have ever experience that kind of life. Some of them are probably this blog's readers -- what would it take to take a person back to that or understand that or have compassion for that PAST the very valid philosophy that one can do what they want with their business? True libertarians though would say - as long as you don't hurt anyone...or would they?

3/01/2007 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point here is that many if not all of us have been fired or quit at least once in our careers and had to face the abyss. And many of us, even more.

And even when it was "not fair"
but it was the reality: Me employee - You boss.

I venture to guess that many of us who have faced this abyss now look back at it as one of those grit inspired best things that ever happened.

And yes, sometimes because we had to eat, we had to eat it too until it was a more fortuitous time to cut and run.

So, that is an answer to your question. And today, many if not most jobs are "at will". Contracts guaranteeing job security or termination for cause have gone the way of old fashioned competent newspapers. That it, they just are not around and if you think you had one, then you should have appreciated it more.

You may have to eat some humble pie and take a job at Macy's to make it work for you, or cocktail waitress like some of us did to make ends meet because no one owes you a living ..... on your terms. You have to create your own life if you want it only on your terms. Free lance write if you want to be your own boss and take the consequences of that choice in return for the freedom.

But if you want a job at any newspaper be prepared to say: Me Employee - You Boss.

So go out and find a newspaper you like and stop trying to turn one you don't own into your own private pleasure palace. You are the one sounding boring now.

3/01/2007 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News Press today is irrevant.

Why read it?

Yet I must admit - they were biased - horrible biased reporters.

They had a point of view and used it to color each and every story.

Wendy is no different - except her point of view changes and Travis is a nut.

For years the reporters at the News Press were the most biased of any paper I worked with in CA. They were horrible journalist and so Wendy is right about that - but totally wrong about how she handled it and what she is doing.

A bit of truth hides a big lie.

Also a bit of truth makes one think - hmmmmm maybe she has a point.

Naw - she and Travis and the little nip have no points.

3/01/2007 10:49 PM  
Anonymous Bob Guiliano said...

Not all employers disregard employees' rights when it comes to firing people. Some adhere to a code of ethics.

For example, here is the difference between how the firing process is handled at the Santa Barbara News-Press vs. Newsday on Long Island, N.Y.

* News-Press boss: "You are being terminated, performance-related." No explanation or reason given, after receiving only positive feedback from everyone for entire length of employment.
* News-Press Human Resources Director: "I'm sorry, Bob, I just file the paperwork around here."


* Newsday boss: upset with me because a new cold-call advertising campaign required us to use a sales pitch that I felt was misleading and lying to customers. (I was selling classified ads at night there and freelance writing for community newspapers days). She calls me into her office and is fuming. She calls the HR director to come there immediately and join us!

Newsday classified ad boss to HR director: "Can I fire him?!"
HR director: "For what?!"
Newsday boss: "He doesn't want to lie!"
HR director: "You can't fire somebody for not wanting to lie!"
Newsday boss to me: "OK, go back to your desk!"

I sold the ads, but I used my own sales pitch, straight up, made all my bonuses, and three weeks later I received an evaluation from boss lady: "Stellar performance!"

A few weeks after that I gave my notice to boss: "Bye bye, I'm returning fulltime to the news side of this business. Heading out to Carson City, Nevada, to work for the Nevada Appeal. I got a call from the managing editor there."

The Reno Gazette-Journal, owned by Gannett, was trying to put a stranglehold on the Appeal, pushing their ad reps onto Appeal turf, trying to get the Appeal to sell. Instead, the Appeal decided to stand its ground and go to war. Nothing like a good newspaper battle to get the adrenalin flowing. I arrived there in July 1996 and we fought the good fight and kicked the Gazette-Journal's butt.

The Appeal was doing fine when I left in October 1998 to join the North County Times in San Diego, where I worked for eight years before heading up to Santa Barbara. That was just a Rip van Winkle experience for me.

There was something about the News-Press situation which caught my attention, and I felt drawn to it. I really wanted to help fix this newspaper.

I had worked very well with a female publisher once before, a southern belle from Alabama who bought a little newspaper in Clifton, Ariz. She hired me to help her clean up a corrupt town, including the mayor, other city and county officials, and the police chief. That took about two years, 1979-80, culminating with the state attorney general's office launching an investigation which sparked a political turnover and a revamped police department.

So, I figured, how hard can it be to help a female publisher clean up her own newspaper? I wanted to be of assistance to Wendy McCaw and also help resolve the reporters' ethical issues. That meant I would have to speak the truth to her and not just be a lackey.

But, as the saying goes, "No good deed goes unpunished."

3/01/2007 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW such a variety of thoughts tonight.
I hope there are people that are helping the people hurt in all of this and supporting each other. There are none at fault, they are just the players in this drama.

3/01/2007 11:51 PM  
Anonymous SA1 said...

Ok, I'm going to flip flop a bit and spill a few more electrons (in consideration of the many great posts...congrats Sara for attracting such an intelligent group of posters).

In typical snobinista fashion (think Village Properties comercials "Aren't we lucky to live here")I'll say that SB has a rep for being a special place and atmosphere. We do deserve to have our monolith, our continuity to the long past record of daily life here, unbesmearched by unprofessional pettiness of any current "owner".
The business, like many other long standing businesses is a compilation of many individual efforts over a long period of time and they have in essence earned the right to have a respectful caretaker of that legacy. Many people pass up better oportunity as a form of commitment to coworkers and management philosophy and to dismiss them over percieved conflict over bias and subjective personality dislikes is wrong.

A newspaper is the face of the community and should reflect it, particularly in our "special" case. It reflects poorly on the town to have such a weak reading paper as the media figurehead.

Even Rob Lowe needs a good writer, director and stage crew to create a product worth paying for.

Maybe WM and company just needs an intervention and sometime in rehab...seems to be the "kiss and make up" mode de jeur for everyone else who's in the spot light and out of control.

3/02/2007 12:21 AM  
Anonymous Neil Y said...

Bob G: "hey Mr.'re dirty now, too!"

3/02/2007 7:12 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

I have been on unemployment. I have washed dishes and hauled trash in order to pay my rent. I have also worked a Union job, and IMHO employees need a union because otherwise the bosses have all the power. Isn't that the message of this case?

3/02/2007 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, but all I am still hearing from the former N/P writers is that it is all about "me, me, me."

Us old timers (I think you referred to us as the Viagra Geritol Set a few columns back)remember when it used to be called the NewsSupress because all it published were sunny (tourism development) news articles. Nothing bad ever happened in Santa Barbara in those days according to the hallowed NewsPress.

Did that version of the NP deserve to survive? Nope, and it did not and Santa Barbara barely escaped the grip of developers who wanted high rise towers where Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens now exist.

"And so it goes" ......... (to quote another disgruntled and fired journalist)

3/02/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Park Park Park said...

I think Wendy is about to designate her favorite racing horse as a News Reporter. She admires Caligula, who made his horse a Roman Counsel, and further, to her nose, the newsroom would smell better. Horses are vegetarians too.

3/02/2007 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Independent is this "speical" town's "media figurehead" and earned that right a long time ago.

You give the NewsPress too much credit. It is what it is. It carries the obituaries, the legal notices and theater schedules. I salute it for that. And need it for that.

But the unique Santa Barbara view long ago was ceded to the Independent. Marianne P. is who should be the center of attention, not Wendy Mc. for what she did for a truly unique and special media resource in this town.

3/02/2007 8:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are amazing. You detest the News-Press and host a blog so that detractors can discuss how irrelevant they think the paper is. You also advocate for people to cancel their subscriptions. Yet, you always seem to find "a pass-along copy" so that you can read every word of the paper in order to criticize it. If the News-Press is so irrelevant, why does it occupy so much of the cranial disk space of you and others on this blog?

3/02/2007 9:35 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Good question 9:35 AM -- I watched The Secret the other day and have been thinking a lot about the Law of Attraction. I have actually hardly seen the paper at all in the last few months -- you will notice that I haven't done many posts on editorials at all. When my readers suggest we talk about something that shows up in the paper though -- I think its worth posting about.

8:33 AM -- I never called anyone the Viagra Geritol set and don't remember seeing that! Maybe it was in a comment but not one of my posts.

3/02/2007 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question, 9:35. I have been wondering the same thing.

It is because it is the SB equivalent of the Anna Nicole Smith story in this town for those too effete to read the Enquirer.

We have our blonde, the money, the phony royalty, and the voyeuristic envy. But we call it the NewsPress story instead of the Anna Nicole story.

3/02/2007 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really is all about the power of the customer: not the power imbalance of the bosses and the employees.

Don't ask what General Motors did for the unions. Ask instead what the unions did for General Motors.

3/02/2007 10:30 AM  
Anonymous SA1 said...

Yeah, that comment was from some youngster who gets his news off his cell phone. He doesn't appreciate that the so called "viagra geratol set" invented and built the net and cell phones (and viagra for that matter)and he's just a user paying for the privledge. Plus his girlfriend doesn't seem to mind...50 is the new 30 after all. Ha Ha Ha!

3/02/2007 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So before we start a Age War here, let's reflect back on those moments when we too had to face things not "being fair" in our lives. That is the real pain here.

And behind the superficial fuss over the NewsPress, is really the cry of young writers who genuinely wanted things to be "fair" and ethical. Didn't/don't we all?

How do we tell young people who are wonderfully infused with a dedicated sense of mission larger than themselves (thank goodness) what to do when they start hitting the brick walls of real life?

I remember the consciousness shift when I first self-rightously walked out on a job.

The shock that a job was not for life was first, and that I could not get my way all the time, particularly when I thought I was right. I did come to realize he was the boss - me employee. That was my first lesson.

And that life may be fair in the long run; but the workplace is not necessarily "life".

The second lesson was learning that all the loyalty I have grown in "my" customer base did not follow me. They stayed and I was on my own. Employees come and go and the owner of the business is the one who has his name on the door. I was "at will".

And none of this sobering talk has anything to do with sacrificing your personal ethics or values. It is just a reality check that you may not be able to fully live them in the commerical environment on your own terms - there are different ethics and values in the work place and it is your choice when you sign up for the job to know them and honor them.

But please, never lose them for your own life. Please don't think anyone is telling you to do this when we moan about the self-centeredness we percieve in many of the young and fuzzy wails for fairness at Wendy's WorkPlace.

Your life satisfaction will be measured by how closely you hold your values and your ethics. And one of them needs to be knowing when it is time to move on.

Don't we wish we had a President that honored such values?

3/02/2007 11:42 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

8:55 am - You're right. I've always been a fan of The Independant. Nick Welsh especially. Keep them honest Poodle Man.

3/02/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

935: The NP isn't the NY Times or SF Chronicle or even the LA Times. What gives the story legs outside SB isn't the demise of a great institution; it's the spectacle of watching the breathtakingly poor management skills of a very wealthy but incompetent businesswoman turn a worthy and valuable institution into junk. A shrewd business owner would have corrected the bias in the newsroom (certainly as she perceived it and possibly real, judging the balance of comments on the subject) in a far more deliberate, smooth way.

Instead, she's scorching the earth, taking no prisoners, etc. Perhaps worst of all, she's unable to learn from people who know the business, concluding that disagreement with her (which appears to spring mainly from her ignorance of sensible, ethical, and decent business and personnel practices) is the same as stupidity, incompetence, and/or disloyalty. No way to run any sort of business, especially one that has such a public face and relies on a good reputation and familiar staff.

3/02/2007 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loyalty and consistent message are two values supported by Wendy. Give her credit for that.

3/02/2007 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep, the indie & marianne are the media figureheads for this town, no doubt about it

as for the red queen, well, as the fab four once sang, 'money can't buy you love'

3/02/2007 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a crumbled paper today in the trashcan at the Placita, under a half-empty Pepsi can, near an old burrito, next to some orange peelings.

I spotted McCaw’s full page ad, to the effect that her “freedom of speech” has been “compromised” or “censored.”

These little windows into Wendy mind reveal a strange and rather delusional personality.

If owning a newspaper, a radio station and several PR flacks isn’t enough to allow her to exercise freedom of speech, then maybe McCaw should bother to pick up the phone the next time she receives a call from the New York Times, American Journalism Review, Los Angeles Times, Vanity Fair, Editor & Publisher, Santa Barbara Independent, Daily Sound, or a variety of other publications from around the world.

As her page says, “Free speech is the roadmap in the search for truth” Anon.

Thankfully, we have blogs and other media to let us search. A few years ago the daily newspaper would have allowed McCaw to control “the truth.”

Now, all she can do is flail.

3/02/2007 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Wendy should buy the Biltmore, Arlington Theater, Riviera Theater, Granada Theater, Brooks Institute and Brophy Bros. and turn them into dog poop, as well.

Hey, they're just businesses. Who care who it affects? Who cares about the history of a community? The soul of a community?

Money -- and who controls it -- is all that matters in this country, right?

3/02/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous harping said...

Anon. 2:58 has nailed it. Thanks for an insightful analysis of why the N-P situation continues to be worthy of local and national attention.

3/02/2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrast Rick Caruso and Wendy McCaw.

Caruso holds town meetings and answers questions; in short, he has a dialogue with the community consisting of something other than cease and desist letters. He’s a developer, for crying out loud, but everyone loves him, since he seems to listen and communicate like a normal person.

McCaw, by contrast, … well, the differences between Rick and Wendy could not be more extreme.

Rather than being a victim and claiming in full page advertisements that her right to free speech is “censored,” McCaw could learn something from Caruso, something that would benefit her greatly – something called honest and open communication.

3/02/2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:58 PM, you are correct about Wendy McCaw's "breathtakingly poor management skills," no matter how worthy she might think her mission.

Same goes for her "co-publisher."

Their biggest previous success in life was their striking good fortune in marrying extremely rich people. Oh, yeah, he ran "Nipper's," that 1980's paragon of local corporate virtue.

But marrying rich doesn't mean that either one is experienced or savvy enough to operate a daily newspaper. In fact, they are showing the world how to fail spectacularly.

And all the lawsuit trials haven't even kicked in yet.

3/02/2007 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The News-Press is McCaw's business but there are and should be consequences for messing with people's livelihood for little reason other than wanting to join a union.

Yeah, that's all it is. It wouldn't be the endless protests on the front lawn, supported by SBCAN and the local governement officials with alterior motives.

What is the purpose of this blog?

3/03/2007 10:22 AM  
Blogger passing-by said...

I second anons 2:58 and 8:24... nevermind unions or bias or evil cabals, any business organization in any circumstance that loses key employees at the rate the NP has done shows a disastrous incompetence of management. Even if we adopt Nelville's management views, the number of people fired or quitting and/or being threatened with lawsuits would demonstrate to any thinking person that something really stinks about working for the NP.

My suggestion is that McCaw sell the paper and buy the Oakland Raiders where ownership has a long tradition of lawsuits, personal grudges, and generally destroying any hope of success for the organization.

3/03/2007 10:29 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

10:22 AM -- to give people like you a voice of dissent or support. The purpose question is really unnecessary...comment all you will, see where there are a lot of comments that match or don't match your opinion and notice that you have a level of freedom here to speak your mind. If you don't like the opinions expressed by myself or others here -- either say so or contribute somewhere else. I appreciate contrary opinions -- you should know that by now.

Are you saying that messing with people's livelihood because they want to join a union is okay?

3/03/2007 11:41 AM  
Anonymous harping said...

IMHO, anyone who posts here & then asks "What is the purpose of this blog?" is, with all due respect, an imbecile. (Sara, feel free to replace "imbecile" with YABBADABBADOO if you feel my chosen word is too mean.)

3/03/2007 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, 10:29, that's a point beneath it all. Hard to explain away that it's just a small group of disgruntled troublemakers, when it's 4/5ths of the original newsroom that's left/been fired.
Did pro-growth politicos have THAT many on their cabalistic payroll? Did Roberts mesmerize ALL of them -- even the ones who were hired and then fired AFTER Roberts had left? Ad naseum.
(Actually, those who're gone are a diverse group, some of whom didn't interact much with each other, hardly one big lock-step clique, and there were differing views of Roberts and Foulsham; ie, it was like any workplace. Diverse personalities and opinions, workplace politics like anywhere. Yes, I know from being there.)

And the applications from qualified people aren't coming in. What, come and be fired, as per Jacoby and Guiliano?

3/03/2007 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Hey Wendy said...

Here's an idea.

You say you can't get your side of the story told.

You and Travis have printed numerous commentaries in the paper since last July. Why don't you take all those commentaries and republish them in their entirety in a Sunday Op-Ed section.

In addition, make access to the N-P Web site free for a limited time, so people can read the commentaries there. At present, the commentaries are available via a link in the upper right corner.

It could be your story, your way.

3/03/2007 12:49 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

harping -- almost a Yabba but not a dabbadoo.

12:12 pm -- hope people have their sarcasm filter on -- good points.

hey wendy -- I actually completely agree. let's get Ms. McCaw's side out there. I'd even publish it in its entirety right here.

3/03/2007 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think she's interested in telling any stories outside of a courtroom. She's tasted blood & knows no other way of getting what she wants. Read Love Gone Wrong about how Wendy out lawyered her hubby-

"According to court records and several people familiar with the case, it was "housewife" Wendy who outdueled wheeler-dealer Craig for millions in assets."

"Wendy served papers on Bill Gates and the Boeing Co. Both are involved in Craig McCaw's new satellite global-data venture, Teledesic. Wendy wanted them to turn over their partnership papers to compare them with Craig's figures. The world's biggest airplane-maker and the world's richest man cried foul. They were suddenly being dragged into a local divorce spat and forced to spend time and money revealing what they felt were sensitive and confidential secrets (such as, aha, Boeing's plans to invest millions more in Teledesic, according to documents). Wendy persisted. She had already sought volumes of confidential records from miffed McCaw family members. The pressure was on Craig. Within a few months, the McCaws settled."

3/03/2007 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Nelville, where are you? You insinuated that you were a fly on the wall at the meeting at which Guiliano, Ms. McCaw, and Lord von Wiesenberger were present. Let's hear your account (fly on the wall status should preserve your anonymity). Tell us what you know; otherwise Mr. Guiliano's account stands, unchallenged. If Guiliano's account is true, Ms. McCaw (Lady von Wiesenberger?) is even wackier than we all thought. Yikes!

3/03/2007 6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville can't come out as a fly on the wall during the Guiliano meeting. Remember, eckermann, the Baron testified, under oath, that he is not Nelville. A man of the Baron's unsurpassed character wouldn't committ perjury, eh?

That would leave only the Baroness as Neville ... if there's a fly on the wall.

Mr. Guiliano's account stands. He took notes and has a complaint before the NLRB, so we'll hear more.

In the meantime, my favorite part of Mr. Guiliano's unmasking of our hypocritical amateur news executives:

"I just kept asking Wendy, what else, and took notes as Arthur sat there and nodded in agreement with everything she said.

Her facial expression was tense, her hair disheveled, her lips pursed together tightly, her eyes were dark and her head and eyes kept darting from side to side, never making contact with mine. She only stopped berating me and my reporters to field a phone call and snap to the caller, "Yes, that's egregious!""

3/03/2007 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Bob Guiliano said...

It might sound odd coming from me, but I think it's time to give this topic a rest and for everyone to take a breather.
And although I appreciate comments offering me support, anyone not willing to use their names in challenging "Nelville" should not criticize him for not using his real name.
I don't have lawyers or PR people telling me what to say or speaking for me. And I don't expect anybody to back me up when I get in trouble. Been there, done that more times than I'd like to remember.
The entire newspaper profession has declined in quality over the last 20 years. Look at what national media focus on these days: teacher-student sex scandals, celebrities gone bad and other scintillating fluff.
Where were the gutsy reporters when President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq on manipulated intelligence data? What happened to the Nixon-era Woodward and Bernstein type investigations backed up by gutsy editors and publishers?
I've seen reporters these days fearful of standing up to their editors and publishers against doing what's expected: churn out puff pieces, meet story quotas and avoid digging into serious social issues that might make waves with city and county governments, advertisers, businesses and real estate developers.
Too many reporters bow their heads and shuffle their feet, doing their routine assignments as if their spirits are broken and they forgot the ideals they possessed when they started in the profession.
If I were a newspaper publisher and my reporters had the guts to stand up to me if they thought I was doing something wrong, I would admire their guts.
I would talk with them and share my thoughts and hear what they'd have to say.
I'd be so proud that they were not cowards and that I had a team that could go out and kick other newspapers' butts.
And then, I'd unleash them to pursue not only the news, but dig beneath for the truth. I'd figure if they were brave enough to stand up to me, they'd be brave enough to stand up to any corruption they might encounter in their investigative pursuits.
And I'd be the first to get on their case if they didn't double and triple check their information, and didn't document everything they found out. If they couldn't ensure accuracy and fairness, I'd kick their stories back to them until they got them right.
I don't want to play this Santa Barbara News-Press game any more. All this bickering within the community appears to have no end in sight. Lawsuits are dragging on, and just how will the NLRB and Teamsters be able to resolve any of these issues?
If Santa Barbara had a real kick-ass newspaper, people might start filling these blogs wishing for something more light, less filling.
For example, how about investigating human trafficking and sex slavery in southern California?
Anybody know why the most comprehensive investigative report about this matter was written more than two years ago by El Universal newspaper in Mexico City, which sent a reporter to San Diego?
Or how about drug traffickers buying up real estate in California with their ill-gotten profits. Who's looking into that?
Or how about the methamphetamine factories going up across the border to fill the demand for meth in California and other states because of the crackdown on meth labs on our side of the border. Which reporter is digging into that?
Or what about our porous border north and south all the while we are "at war" with terrorists. What newspaper is taking on the Bush administration about that?
Why do two Border Patrol agents get prosecuted and sentenced for shooting a drug trafficker? Why, in general, are Border Patrol agents' hands tied in enforcing the laws of the USA? Which newspaper is slamming the government about that?
Those are just some examples.
I am proud of actress Darrell Hannah, who has had the guts to go undercover to expose sex slavery and human trafficking, and is going to expose it in an upcoming documentary.
Amazing how one actress (she was cool in the "Kill Bill" movies, by the way) was able to scoop all of America's "bravest" newspaper reporters.
Oh, what editors at other newspapers have told me is that they are "waiting for arrests" before they publish news on human trafficking in their communities.
I'm sure all the victims feel relief about that. Yep, they'll soon be rescued.

3/04/2007 12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ahhh, the "good old days" hand that relies on the strength of the Woodward and Bernstein card.

Your Woodward and Bernstein is my Seymour Hersch and Amy Goodman, and I don't believe for a minute there are no more good journalists. (The recently fired NP journalists did their fair share of investigative pieces right up until Scott Steepleton was made a general in McCaw's Army of Dittoheaded Slugs).

Mainstream media has devolved into a corporate soap box, for certain, but with the multitude of information available on a million channels right now, why are we looking back at the Nixon-era as the pinnacle of the information age?

I would suggest the difference might not be in the media, which has uncovered dozens of offenses committed by the Bush administration that make Nixon look like St. Francis. The difference is us. Apparently the vast majority of us are unmoved by illegaly waged wars, an administration that is pro-torture, illegaly spying on Americans, etc.

And this applies to the NewsPress. Most people apparently are happy to let the rich ownership class walk all over the law, not to mention the working people of a community, as if it were a moral imperative. We just don't care anymore. We're so happy to have our flat screen TVs and iPods and fast food dollar menus, we'd prefer not to rock the boat.

At least you, Guiliano, stood up for some real values.

3/04/2007 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been reading John Zant since I learned to read 30 years ago. I miss him and can't take a "breather," Bob.

BTW, Darrell Hannah was not the blond(e) in "Kill Bill."

3/04/2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Border-occupied? said...

Bob doth seem a bit obsessed about "the border".....hmmmmm

3/04/2007 8:56 AM  
Blogger Rosminah said...

(Daryl Hannah *was* in Kill Bill. Hers character was Elle Driver.) Okay, back to the main thread.

3/04/2007 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree about anonymous posters with opinions vs. anonymous (or fake names) posters claiming to have facts about management & other ongoings within the NP

if your going to claim 'facts' have the courage to say who you are

the anonymous nature of this board is positive- lets those who are still inside or who used to be give their accounts without fear of revenge from the wendymonster

3/04/2007 10:16 AM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Let's not forget the fine job being done at The Independent. I would have missed the Goleta Council buy out attempt if it wasn't for Martha's story.

3/04/2007 11:39 AM  
Anonymous worker bee said...


I'll take your stance a bit further and suggest that personal attacks (which, of course, can be built around and illuminate truths) have absolutely zero credibility without a real person willing to back up the statement. Otherwise, it's simply a cowardly attack.

Posts merely discussing ideas, thoughts, philosophy, etc., like this one, need not be attributable to a person because anonymity doesn't detract from the validity of the idea.

To make a tidy example, I can state Nelville Flynn has zero credibility and still not post with a real name because N. Flynn at this point is just someone's idea and not a real person.

3/04/2007 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob G - hope you look at the Ventura County Star for your next job. You have some great article ideas and that is one local fine newspaper.

3/04/2007 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In McCaw’s thin Sunday paper today there is another of her full page ads, this one defining “Intimidation.”

Same old, same old.

McCaw trys to play the poor little rich girl victim – again – by blaming the Teamsters and employees of “intimidation” and “bullying.”

How about this “McCaw Heritage Dictionary” definition of “intimidation” and “bullying”:

--A $25,000,000 vendetta lawsuit against a former Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.

--A bogus lawsuit against the Santa Barbara Independent.

--A laughable lawsuit against a reporter for the American Journalism Review.

--Hiring the famous Barry Cappello to threaten a local hairdresser and sandwich shop owner for having a sign asking McCaw to honor a union vote and take down her illegal fence.

--Sending threatening letters to departing employees such as Barney Brantingham and Randy Alcorn and who knows how many others -- her “form of dialogue.”

--Sending threatening letters to local attorneys banding together to raise money for First Amendment protection.

--Firing or forcing out more than a century of local newspaper experience, for no valid stated reason, other than unsupported allegations of “bias.”.

--Firing, most recently, six reporters, including John Zant, for “disloyalty.”

--Monitoring emails and setting up security cameras.

--Having her staff private investigator follow newspaper employees out of town.

The list goes on, but the point is McCaw can’t rewrite history, no matter how hard she tries or how big the print. Santa Barbarans aren’t idiots.

One would think she might understand that by now and try something different.

Like treating people with respect and publishing an ethical newspaper.

And giving up on “intimidation.”

3/04/2007 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:54, you've put together a pretty comprehensive list of McCaw's own intimidation. But almost as important is the fact that McCaw is lying, perhaps defaming, the Teamsters in this instance, because they have intimidated no one. People in the newsroom wanted to make group demands on management, and did so, and their activity was protected by law (though it apparently yielded threats of suspension and entry onto a "hit" list). Management doesn't like demonstrations, rallies, being called out for bad and abusive behavior and refusing to abide by a fairly-conducted election, but that's not intimidation, even when the volume is not low. Neither is holding voluntary meetings with advertisers, or leafletting subscribers. The News-Press has filed four unfair labor practice charges carrying about 6 different sets of allegations, and all have been dismissed by the NLRB.

Wendy's problem is she doesn't believe in "free speech" for anyone but herself, and she is doing what she can to make others pay a heavy price for exercising their rights. The reality is this silly, pedantic, patronizing poorly-written fest of full-page ads is timed to coincide with what the News-Press knows is about to happen: very bad news for it from the NLRB regarding all of its labor illegality, lies and abusive behavior over the last 6 months.

3/05/2007 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the AJR again which quotes the artibrator (in McCaw's suit against her other fiance) describing McCaw as a witness who denied "events even in the face of written evidence to the contrary."

She doesn't appear to be the brightest lightbulb in the pack although she does have a pitbull quality about her.

Even if people keep reading her paper, even if she is successful in outfinancing those who she is suing or being sued by (I hope not but I'm cynical- I'm used to the wealthy winning these things too many times) she has certainly lost all credibility both in our local community and in the larger community of journalism.

She seems to care a lot about celebrities (she was upset when the Lowe's cancelled their subscription over their address being published).

I wish more celebs, community leaders and wealthy philanthropists would do likewise.

3/05/2007 6:17 PM  

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