Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

TKA Back in the Saddle

News-Press editor Travis Armstrong returned to the editorial pages today after a several week hiatus that was left unexplained.

Taking a somewhat humble tone about his DUI sentence -- Armstrong still couldn't let go of an opportunity to promote his quest for a non-biased, now one reporter for the South Coast newsroom. Comparing ourselves to others is a pitfall that is too easy to fall into but he does so with vigor by visualizing his victimhood for us.

Other public figures have gotten DUIs and it should be reported -- but only individuals can take responsibility for what happened without pointing the finger at others. To keep the wall up between the newsroom and editorial would have been the right thing to do -- whether or not he could have anticipated a lack of coverage of other public figure DUIs. Hindsight is of course 20/20.

Like "snarky" pointed out in a comment on an earlier post -- it is ironic that Armstrong blasts progresives for childish taunts considering a long history of such in his editorials, but perhaps it is incumbent of us to be the adults here and refrain from that kind of language today. No matter what we think about how he handled his DUI and the ensuing attempt to cover it in his own paper -- he did go through a great deal in the process and has hopefully learned a few life lessons we should all be thoughtful of.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Humble could only be TA's middle name, not his first one after this re-entry column today -- he just could not resist a good smear and innuendo about the "drunk" elected officials and school board members who have escaped public outing,and he leave just enough smear to make us worry about all of them.

Nice piece of work TA, you just can't quite come clean. The first part of your column breathed hope, the last part snorted your usual brand of tired venom.

5/16/2007 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Along with Wendy McCaw, Arther von Weisenberger and Scott Steepleton, Travis Armstrong has been a key ingredient in the greatest self-inflicted newspaper meltdown in U.S. history.

He had his newspaper spike a story about his own DUI sentencing that could have been instructive to the public, and he physically perp-walked a distinguished editor out the door.

He writes this column about his sentence, but no one knows what it was, because he interfered by killing the story. His attempt to spin new facts for history will fall short in the various books being written about the collapse.

Armstrong has to do what McCaw orders now -- no matter what his inner voice tells him is right -- since, without her keeping him employed, he's out of the newspaper industry forever. No other daily in the country would hire him.

5/16/2007 8:43 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

I haven't seen the column and don't really want to. But what has been said here, makes me want to talk about AA and alcoholics once again.

Newcomers to AA love to share the blame. And they love to cry poor me. It's called "sitting on the pity pot", or a case of "poor me, poor me, pour me another drink".

Real sobriety for alcoholics brings the realization that they alone are responsible for their actions and the consequences. It is totally irrelevant what others have done or not done or gotten away with or whatever.

Accepting responsibility for their actions and the consequences is the only way for alcoholics to begin to recover. "Live and let live". Others' actions are a total distraction for an alcoholic trying to put their own house back in order with the help of the AA program.

A significant part of recovery involves an alcoholic recognizing and accepting responsibility for his or her own part in what has happened in his or her life. Complaining that others have done the same thing or worse and perhaps gotten away with it has no place in recovery. It's only a cop-out.

AA members hear each others "stories" in AA meetings and in private sharing, but the realization that he or she has company in misdeeds or reckless or illegal or just plain bad behavior serves to help the alcoholic feel not so alone or so bad or so worthless. But it is not intended to rationalize or minimize the alcoholics own wreckage.

Recovery involves ultimately making a list of all persons that the alcoholic has "harmed" and then becoming willing to make amends to those people. Then the alcoholic tries to make direct amends to those people. One of the amends that a recovering alcoholic must make is to himself.

I'm boB

5/16/2007 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TKA's column today, thursday, just highlights the glaring deficiencies of the paper---- ever since McManigal left, there has been no "county" reporter. Thus there has been no NEWS coverage of the two-month long debate over Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund allocation, and Firestone's petty refusal to support purchase of the Doty property. Yet TKA gives kudos to Firestone and Gray for their comments? Obviously, TKA has not read all the reports associated with the project--he misstates what he calls errors in a staff report....he does not get it. What he "gets" is for some reason the spin he decided to take and doesn't care how many factual errors he makes getting there. And without news reporters to provide facts---we're left with his ill informed spin.

5/17/2007 7:04 AM  
Anonymous snarky said...

Thanks, again, for the perspective boB.

5/17/2007 7:09 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Complaining that others have done the same thing or worse and perhaps gotten away with it has no place in recovery.

You have written an excellent comment, boB, and I have nothing to add except that your statement above can be applied not only to people in recovery, but anyone who exhibits true mental and social maturity.

5/17/2007 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Okay, the only part I could read is what is available free online.

The NP controversy catalyst aside, why on earth does this TKA person think his personal life is so interesting that he uses it as the subject (or at least the opening paragraph) for an opinion peice in the local daily news?!?!

And who has approved this strange choice? It is baffling & embarassing.

However, in light of boB's comment it makes some kind of sense.

I feel sorry for the guy. Anyone with the need to publically vent so much poison has surely got it going on much more inside.

The real object of our criticism should not be this sorry fellow but Mrs. McCaw who is the sole source of all this destruction.

5/17/2007 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it is right to ASSume that someone is an alcoholic because they received a DUI. That is presumptuous and once again I think it is projection on the part of the commenter.

5/17/2007 12:07 PM  
Anonymous niceFLguy said...

I have to agree with the stance taken by Anonymous 12:07.

A good friend of mine was stopped and arrested for DUI, three years ago, shortly after the state lowered the legal BAC limit to 0.07%. She is a very petite woman, she had two drinks at a post-work wedding shower, and because she does not drink often, her driving was deemed erratic and she was taken to jail. She has not had a drink since the incident.

Which isn't to suggest that TKA doesn't have a great many other faults and emotional shortcomings. Nor would I suggest that he isn't to blame for much of the News-Press mess. (That he is a schmuck, a prevaricator, and an oozing canker on the SB community is plain to anyone who has kept up with recent events.)

I'm merely suggesting that a DUI conviction does not an alcoholic make.

5/17/2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Tough choices with moderation tonight considering this last post...I have some concerns about "schmuck" but maybe not "prevaricator". I've rejected some that were worse...let's be more thoughtful folks!

5/17/2007 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not just because of the DUI that the people here are suggesting that TKA may be an alcoholic. As the brother of an alcoholic (who has been sober for 25 years - and I pray for at least one more day) I recognize the tendencies. That includes the blaming of everyone else for his problems and the self delusional rants.

I felt that Bob's wonderful post brings home a message of hope to TKA. People have been through this before and people can recover. Admitting a problem is a first step. And as flawed as it was, TKA took that step with that editorial. May TKA find his piece.

5/17/2007 10:07 PM  
Anonymous niceFLguy said...

From Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:

Pronunciation: 'shm&k
Function: noun
Etymology: Yiddish shmok, literally, penis
slang: JERK

Sara, it seems perfectly fitting to me. I don't understand the controversy.

5/18/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

You didn't find controversy here...I just knew the etymology of the word and hesitated on it before I allowed it as most people don't know the origins.

5/18/2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

Hmm. Sorry for my own problematic comment here yesterday (was just riffing on the "borderline" ASSume comment above...).

But "shmuck" pushes the envelope of your 'polite language' guidelines? Hey, it's your blog, but... it's kind of like ladies who are aghast at the school board president saying, "That sucks."

5/18/2007 11:20 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Perhaps it is allegro805, perhaps it is...sometimes I think that we are one word away from going a but too far and I am sensitive to that. No offense to you at all -- thanks for understanding even though it just may "suck". :)

5/18/2007 6:00 PM  

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