Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Effort Really a Retraction?

Craig Smith went to Las Vegas on Earth Day weekend and the News-Press printed their non-bylined article which smeared Jerry Roberts. I spent time relaxing with my family this weekend and honoring my mother and today the News-Press printed a retraction which may be really a very weak clarification on the smear article. Of couse, it was printed on a day which not many will read the newspaper -- which is pretty typical of McCaw and Company's damage control public relations game.

Interestingly, the News-Press denies that the article could represent an accusation of Jerry Roberts even though no other former users or people who could have had access to the computer were named in the article. Circular in logic, the retraction states that "persons" had access but does not name who those "persons" are. Why then name Roberts? Doesn't this "retraction" really just continue their smear campaign against him? If you are going to name one, who you happen to be in litigation with, you better name them all in some effort of fairness and integrity.

The piece goes on to quote Roberts' attorney in clarifying Raul Gil's declaration that at least two other editors and possibly an ex-business editor had access. No statement affirming or denying this quote was made in the piece. They are basically saying it is true by how it was written but how is a reader to know that for sure without their direct confirmation? Weak. Look for whether this was a statement verifying this point in court someday.

Finally, without mentioning their failure to interview Roberts for the article in question, they point to a police report that says Roberts "criminal attorney" (was that intentional?) told the SBPD that his client had no knowledge of the pornography. So, is the message he must be guilty if he speaks through his "criminal attorney"?

Strangely, the piece ends with an invitation to publish Mr. Robert's counsel's, why would his counsel jeopardize their arbitration by doing so? By putting the ball in Roberts' court, the News-Press first fails to acknowledge that they did not do a good job at reporting the issue in the first place and, second; that to actually publish Roberts' opinion could jeopardize his case. Where's the bias?

Roberts said he would sue for libel if there was not a retraction within thirty days -- does this suffice? I think not, you may think not -- but would it suffice in court?

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Anonymous Malicious Is as Malicious Does (reprint) said...

The continuing attack on Jerry Roberts on page one Sunday is hammered home by the News-Press in Laura Schlessinger's diatribe on page two, which contains these concluding paragraphs:

"I asked the co-publisher of the News-Press, Arthur von Wiesenberger, "Did you folks not call Mr. Roberts or his attorney for a statement for the original April 22nd article?"

He answered, "No, but Roberts' position on the matter was fairly reflected in the article.""

Looks like co-publisher Arthur von Wiesenberger will have a chance to exhibit his vast journalism experience as a high school editor and mid-life food writer on the stand in a courtroom. In one corner, Brooks photo school graduate "Nipper;" in the other, Harvard graduate Jerry Roberts, with 35 years of respected daily newspaper experience. At issue, what's "fair" in the reporting, editing and publishing of a news story in a modern American newspaper.

Astoundingly, Schlessinger is allowed to write unrestrained that Roberts working for the University of California at Santa Barbara as the business manager of the student paper "looks bad" because of the content of one of the student paper's columns. Does she think Chancellor Henry Yang at the university should fire Roberts so UCSB won't "look bad"? Cut off his health insurance during his cancer treatments? Terminate his paycheck?

Just when it appears the News-Press can't go lower ... it does.

Even Scott Steepleton as a human being and professional newspaperman has got to start feeling squeamish.

5/13/2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

malicious is....hope you don't mind the reprint. You were writing the comment for another post as I was writing this one. You bring in some salient information.

Why would Nipper think Roberts had his say? Again, where's the bias? Get back to real, unbiased reporting and you will find a lot of sympathy for your efforts over time -- continue to play games and avert responsibility, and you will continue to crash. Your choice.

5/13/2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Still on the inside said...

In a few more months it may not matter... folks across all departments at the News-Press are miserable.

Many are actively jobhunting, others are preparing to quit and take their chances.

If somebody doesn't do something quickly to get the paper away from Wendy&Co., the News-Press WILL crash.

Maybe that's what she wants...

5/14/2007 1:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That Dr. Laura, what a card.

Actually most of her column was OK, with a nice rabbinical story. I can read it as actually sympathetic to Roberts.

She messed up in two places: one, she claims every comment she receives that disagreeable is laced with nasty comments. I know firsthand that is false.

Second, the association of `The Daily Hump' with Roberts. By finishing with that comment, she invalidates the possibility that her rabbinical story was sympathetic to Roberts.

The Daily Hump is rather mild compared to, say, `Dr. Hip' that used to to appear in the Sunday Punch of the SF Chronicle. Super mild compared to sex columns in the old alternative presses.

5/14/2007 6:32 AM  
Anonymous worker bee said...

I wonder how many NP computers have Dr. Laura "Does Dallas" Schlessinger's homemade porn on them? Is it possible that she once possessed the computer in question? After all, she is the only player in the drama who has a published X-rated porn shoot on her resume.

Oh wait, there's Rob Lowe, who video taped himself having sex with an underage girl. I wonder if that clip is on the tainted computer? Maybe poor Roberts Googled Rob Lowe's name to verify his Montecito address. Lord knows what what kind of images you'd get clicking a link associated with that guys name.

In fact, if you Google "Rob Lowe" and "Porn" among the links are one to where you can buy Lowe's sex tape (Midnight blue, Vol. 3) and one to a news story recounting the Roberts smear campaign. Ah, the circle of porn...

Mr. Roberts, for what it's worth, the vast majority of us out here see straight through McCaw's B.S. We can only hope this will end soon in your favor.

5/14/2007 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>"I asked the co-publisher of the News-Press, Arthur von Wiesenberger, "Did you folks not call Mr. Roberts or his attorney for a statement for the original April 22nd article?"

He answered, "No, but Roberts' position on the matter was fairly reflected in the article.""<

This is the mentality at the NP... probably Roberts and the union should not waste $$$ hiring legal representation since Nipper can present their positions "fairly" to judges or hearing officers.

5/14/2007 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Craig Smith's column explains the difference between an ethical "retraction" and a legal "correction". A retraction would include an apology for the exclusive naming of only one of the possible computer users, when in fact NewsPress did know the names of several others.

But unfortunately, the original article was "correct". Factually mean-spirited and sloppy as to impact, but technically correct.

And agree, whatever NP tried to "correct" was taken away with PhdLaura's wide sweeping smear.

What a crew - life itself has ways of balancing karma. It comes to those who wait - self-poisons corrupt eventually.

5/14/2007 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the circumstances were reversed, if the Indy or L.A. Times ran a non-bylined and incomplete story linking Wendy McCaw to something heinous like child porn, and then ran a bare bones clarification while a columnist attacked her on another page, how long would it have taken McCaw to file a lawsuit?

Two minutes?


5/14/2007 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Now For Something Completely Different:

Meanwhile, in the LA Times Sunday Opinion section, is Lou Cannon's account of the News Press Mess:,0,324293.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

5/14/2007 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the "clarification" a couple of times yesterday and really all I could get out of it was another "F-U" to Jerry Roberts. This woman and her sycophants have once again proven just how vicious they are, and the tawdry national joke that is our local paper continues to amuse everyone but the people who live here. I wonder if Nipper would still say they are having "too much fun."

5/14/2007 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. George points out what is available to the world on the internet for free from the News-Press about Jerry Roberts and porn. Clarification" indeed.

5/14/2007 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops. The "clarification" still forgets to mention one lil' thingy -- the News-Press is also suing Jerry Roberts to kingdom come for everything he owns.

5/14/2007 8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:53 PM, isn't Dr. Laura trying to say that it "looks bad" for Jerry Roberts -- it looks to the world like he's more likely to be a porn person -- since he works for a student paper, even if only on the financial side, that features lurid content in one of its student columns?

Maybe she can issue a "requested clarification" in her next column as to what, exactly, "looks bad"?

5/14/2007 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What "looks bad" is the lesson of McCaw versus Roberts: If one is sued by McCaw for speaking out publicly, and defends himself or herself in the courts, watch out next for the front page.

5/14/2007 9:29 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Bottom line: McCaw, Wiesenberger (kein von), Armstrong, Steepleton, and Schlessinger are all unvarnished scum. Out of touch. Misanthropic. Narcissistic.

Most of Santa Barbara knows it, and now even more of America knows it (at least about Wendy) thanks to Lou Cannon's opinion piece in the L.A. Times.

5/14/2007 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubts that this paper will soon be extinct.

I can't imagine how Wendy & Nipper can continue to live in this town- their reputations are now sullied beyond repair.

I would urge our local restaurants to refuse service to Wendy & Nipper.

5/14/2007 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever sued Dr. Laura?

5/14/2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous snarky said...

Dr Laura,

Why would you attempt to associate Mr Roberts with articles in the student paper. The Hump has been a part of the paper for at least 10 years, and Mr Roberts has been there less than 6 months.

The student paper has a long running column with a youthful outlook on sexual matters. But the attempt to insinuate the Mr Roberts is associated with porn on a hard drive because of his association with the paper is well, I hate to say it.
Dr Laura, it is just sleazy, and wrong.

There were children caged, and you never said a word. Dr Laura, other than the friendship of a billionaire, what do you have to gain by writing such statements?

Dr. Laura, have you taken the time to meet Mr. Roberts, talk, find out about the local student newspaper and get his side of the story. I wish you would, but after that column, I would say that some lawyers might be talking to you, also.

5/14/2007 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about a class-action suit by the citizens of Santa Barbara against Wendy&Co.?

5/14/2007 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, the feather story was charming sucker bait. It was about Laura first and her empathy towards Roberts was her self-serving as well. The Nexus and "looks bad" part was low, beyond words. Porn and sluttery don't end with Laura and Rob. But investigative reporting ends with their 70-90's indiscretions, too bad.

The whole NP feels like YUK! They will crash or they'll outsource to Pakistan and service yatch lovers and royals. It's up to Wendy's ego trips. The inner circle controls a newspaper and small fiefdom. I don't think the narcissistic crowd care what restaurants or human beings think. Remember, in that world, everyone agees with Laura Schessinger now, which means everyone agrees with Wendy, except on shack ups and sluts. It is pointless to write them without a public post as well. No one expects them to acknowledge anything beyond their manipulations. It would take another blog, Dear News-Press, where letters mailed could be documented and posted. Two part: A. polite B. free expression. That would only record how they neglect the community.

What's up with Craig and Susan McCaw? Are they here to silently support Wendy? What kind of local citizen is Oprah and the others who want to support through silence? "If You Are Not Part Of The Solution You Are Part Of The Problem"

5/14/2007 4:28 PM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Snarky: What Physiologist Laura was trying to say was that, to her, maybe it "looks bad" for Roberts to have taken a job with a newspaper that prints content that she considers "vulgar." So does that mean she's questioning the integrity and morals of any nonstudent staff who work for the Daily Nexus? How about everyone who works for UCSB? I'd love to hear Roberts's longtime predecessor at the Nexus give Laura a piece of her mind.

Of course, these are more of the usual "pot calling the kettle" tactics that Laura just loves. What does it say about her that she took a job with arguably one of the most reviled organizations in publishing, which engages in undeniably ILLEGAL labor practices? How about this: It "looks bad," Laura. It looks real, real bad.

5/14/2007 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Class project for "Santa Barbara College of Law" :-)

5/14/2007 5:12 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Thanks, "snarky"!

I don't think that the coumn in question in the Nexus has been going for 10 years, but it's certainly more than 4. And all of that time Chancellor Yang has been chancellor whether 4 or 10.

In any case, Robert's position at UCSB does not involve editorial control over the Daily Nexus content. He is not the editor of that paper.

He was hired to manage the business aspects of the Nexus and the yearbook because the previous holder of his current position retired after many years of excellent service, and he applied and interviewed for the job.

I wonder if Editor Armstrong approves of, and supports, all of "Dr. L's" positions on social issues that we experience these days in our society. If he doesn't, then certainly it would seem correct in her view for him to leave and to do that quickly!

I'm boB

5/14/2007 8:18 PM  
Anonymous snarky said...

allegro805 Thanks for the clarification ;), and for saying what I wanted to say.

Different question to Dr. Laura. Are there columns in other newspapers that your readers complain about? Is your column printed in those papers? Do you cash those checks?

5/15/2007 8:16 AM  
Anonymous snarky said...

Anon said:"What's up with Craig and Susan McCaw? Are they here to silently support Wendy?"

Better question... yet another billionaire coming to town... what is the NP gossip columnist talking about? his week talking to the media about the Queens visit.

Guess the local gossip columnist position still needs to be filled

5/15/2007 9:07 AM  
Anonymous friends of bb said...

allegro805: When Physiologist Laura says something looks bad "to her" that is automatic alot of people around the world who are believers. Wendy knows this. She is connected to a monstrous machine. They don't need facts, some of them see her as a god-like prophet. They are serious and crazed. Someone needs to look into what is going on here. Look at what goes on when the Physiologist Laura has an enemy who comes out with a book like "The Feminine Mistake". Research what happened to Leslie Bennetts and others to find out what it's like to have these cultists on a rip against you. That's what Roberts is up against, it's not only the weathy McCaw. Learn more about what's going on in places like Australia, "the good doctor" alright! Keeping a narrow Santa Barbara view won't help.

What's with Craig Smith? He needs to know more about who he's dealing with.

5/15/2007 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To friends of BB...

Give us some links and direction where to look...

5/15/2007 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

"Hump" is disgusting. Personally I have always found it disgusting. For me, it's a window I don't want to look in and I wouldn't want anyone else to look in it either. Dr. Laura is right about that. If I had a paper I wouldn't publish it.

But maybe Roberts can turn the Nexus away from this garbage. I have the greatest respect for Roberts. Give him time.

This growing attempt at Dr. Laura bashing is not a notable addition to the nobility of the conversation about the terrible things going on at the Newspress. Soon you will be disturbing the fine reporting of Nora Wallace about soldiers and that would be a shame.

5/15/2007 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura S is today's "Worst Person in the World!" per Keith Olbermann of MSNBC. She was at Fort Douglas speaking to and chastizing military wives for "whining" when it's really their husbands that are in danger.

5/15/2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous friends of bb said...

Anonymous: We don't always keep up with her and don't keep the information. The recent one was The Huffington Post

A Bennetts remark, "Everyone knows that authors have to be prepared for negative reviews. What I didn't anticipate was an avalanche of blistering attacks by women who hadn't read my book but couldn't wait to condemn it. Their fury says a great deal about the current debate over women's choices -- all of it alarming."

I read about this in other places. How do so many people who haven't read a book know how bad it is? By an author Laura has past fury over. I will see what more I can find. She's been at this a long time. Someone might want to contact Leslie Bennetts, she knows what it is to suffer the wrath of a physiologist.

5/15/2007 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the blogs are so quiet on NP Society Ed. Loraine Wilson. Each week she allows a flyer to be mailed out by the News Press, throughout Montecito and other posh places, with her photo and saying, "I am proud to work at the New Press” -- yet no one pressures her to quit?

As long as Montecito’s Matrons continue to get their mugs in Lorraine's column, the NP will continue to survive. Shame-Shame Lorraine! Cut her off your charity invite list and step OUT of her NP pictures...then send her a note, via the NP, telling her that while she may be proud of the NP, you are NOT proud of her!

It's one thing to keep your head down and do your job, but it is entirely another to flack, proudly, for Wendy, Travis and Scott. Shame-Shame Lorraine!

5/15/2007 8:25 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Shame? Lorraine has a job she keeps and I would guess hopes will transform with new owners or at least with her former workers at sbnewsroom...I wouldn't say that to her or Nora Wallace as the union needs friends, step out of the picture but do not blame Lorraine. She is a sweet woman who is doing her job. Sometimes it is better to be on the inside to affect change....

5/15/2007 10:40 PM  
Anonymous pardallchewinggumspot said...

don etc.

The Hump is fine. Compared to the old Berkeley Barb, the Hump is `My Little Red Book'.

Odd that Craig Smith made a backhanded remark about the Hump in his blog today... saying he's glad his kid is headed for the Ivy League. The comtemporary sex column (usually written by a woman, sort of explicit with lots of joie de vivre) started at Yale, home of the `Naked Party' where everyone shows up, well, naked...

Ivy Sex Columnists

It would be just as silly for Jerry Roberts to try to stop or temper the Hump as it was for Dr. Laura to criticize him for it. Hmmmph.

5/16/2007 4:14 AM  
Anonymous snarky said...

He's back, and even humble... no names
Opinion: Driven by your kindness
Travis Armstrong
May 16, 2007 12:00 AM
Up until yesterday, it was nearly a year since I had driven, even though I could have gotten behind the wheel awhile ago. I walked the town, took the bus and got rides.

And wondering why he is picked on:
But I had a hard time reconciling the first long story with the past lack of coverage of the numerous DUIs by community figures that didn't involve injuries, accidents or other crimes. The last few years had seen no comparable coverage of similar non-accident DUIs by the many "well-known" individuals who got them.

For instance, the week I raised concerns that the article on my standard sentencing would be overblown, there was a DUI arrest of an individual who sat on a locally elected board with a history of controversies. There was no story. Also last year, a member of a school board who's well known for other civic activism was arrested for a DUI. Again, no story. These are just two examples.

Perhaps the answer is that there is not enough staff to handle the reporting load at the NewsPress.
There is an editorial separation... so you can't do the reporting yourself.
Perhaps the answer is that you use the editorials as a bully pulpit. As King of the hill, people want to knock you down.
Perhaps it is people who don't like your lifestyle.

In the editorial you say:
The kindness is in sharp contrast to the people who still send me mail with childish taunts. Interestingly, most of this comes from people in our community who'd label themselves as "progressives" and "liberals." Santa Barbara, for all its beauty, can still be a place of hate and personal attacks. How sad for them.
And Travis, a statement like this, from a newspaper and editorialist like your self is well, ironic.

Go back, read you own writings, and ask if they are "taunt" free (and well supported by published evidence)

5/16/2007 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first story about Travis' DUI came about a month after the N-P had published on Page 1 a story about a local civic leader's DUI. That incident involved a rollover accident.

To have ignored the DUI of Travis, also a public figure, would have made the News-Press appear biased. Although Travis' did not involve an accident, the circumstances of his DUI were frightening.

5/16/2007 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5/15/2007 5:59pm.. "Worst Person in the World!" We saw that. He made a point of the physiologist. I'm curious, when did you 1st learn she isn't a doctor? I don't know who pays attention to her. Most of who I know learned she was faking it when she got to the NewsPress.

5/16/2007 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, I would only question after reading your defense of Lorraine, if you have seen her ads for the NP? It's one thing to stay above the fray, and I respect that, but it's another thing to wildly get in the midst of the fray by using her image and words to help sell papers...

5/16/2007 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About a month before Travis' arrest, a South Coast civic leader was arrested for DUI following a single-vehicle accident with the person's own car. The story was on Page 1 of the News-Press.

Had the paper ignored Travis' DUI -- which had the potential for a serious accident, based on police reports -- that would have been perceived as fovoritism and a double standard.

Travis, like the civic leader, were/are public figures.

5/16/2007 2:18 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

I haven't seem them ANON 1:51 PM and would be interested in them....

5/17/2007 12:11 AM  

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