Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another WWST? How much did it cost?

Craig Smith opines that the NLRB Hearing cum waiting game could cost Wendy McCaw half a million. What was she thinking?

Couldn't you bring back The Organized or even the Illegally Fired Journalists and make life hell for a few months and have them quit in disgust for a few hundred thousand less? I would be happy to take a commission equaling the difference but do not think I could live with myself. Then again, maybe she knows what Dawn Hobbes, Tom Schultz and the like are made of.

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Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Ah yes but McCaw and Company principiled, moneyed and will fight to the bitter end. Think of the good Wildlife Care Network could have done with that money. Maybe actualy hire a few dreaded employees who would earn a living or something like that.

9/27/2007 6:27 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

I enjoy reading and participating in this blog, but the same arguments get repeated frequently, including mine. I think the News-Press story is essentially over—as far as debate on who’s right and who’s wrong. People have been mixing the question of legal rights with the issue of success or failure of the News-Press.

I’ve never though that McCaw didn’t have the right to publish whatever she wanted or that Armstrong didn’t have the right to denounce anyone he chose in the paper. That has nothing to do with the questions of whether the News-Press follows journalistic standards or whether it is a benefit to the community. McCaw is free to operate the paper in her way as long as she’s willing to accept whatever fiscal consequences come with her decisions.

From any objective view (and that probably excludes us partisans who take strong positions here) the paper has turned into a journalistic laughingstock. Those who disagree should cite anyone associated with journalism who is supportive of what’s going on at the NP. Hating Marty Blum, by the way, doesn’t qualify you as a journalism expert. Even Barry Cappello said this week that the case was about labor rights, adding that the question of whether it’s good journalism was up to others to decide.

The majority of Santa Barbarans have decided about the journalism part, although there is a minority that equates good journalism with taking the political positions they like. I think that McCaw will win most of the legal points in this case because intent is difficult to prove. But even if she lost all arguments, that would have nothing to do with the style and substance of the News-Press in the future. Good journalism or being a voice for all components of the community is not required here. A strong will and deep pockets are the deciding factor. My personal hope is that the NP management will allow itself to take a larger view of the responsibilities of journalism. I think the News-Press has become a horrible newspaper, and I also think the City Council has made some horrible decisions. Both of those can and should be addressed objectively by the News-Press management.

9/27/2007 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not about the money; it is about the principle of retention of private property rights. Defending that right is priceless. It is not about paying to retain disgruntled employees who did not perform in their jobs to employer specifications. Huge difference.

9/27/2007 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A half a million is low? Add in all of her other lawsuits against Roberts, the Indy, the American Journalism Review. Is it costing McCaw a couple of million a year in lawyers to "manage" the news-press as it slides down the hill?

9/27/2007 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A piece from the Ventura County paper:

"McCaw sent a stronger memo to staff members, letting them know that she was serious about eliminating what she saw as bias.

"This will now stop IMMEDIATELY," she wrote, "even if it means firing the whole newsroom and hiring new people.""

I guess that's what she did. Fire the newsroom and hire new people.

How much will that cost her?

9/27/2007 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a point, but let me offer another. You miss the fundamentals of the newspaper business.
I'll start with an analogy.
A hospital's owners have broad latitude in how they run the business but they can't do whatever they want. Why? Because it's a hospital and it must abide by certain principals or it will fail.
So you don't operate with dirty instruments. You hire professional doctors and nurses who know what they're doing. You correct mistakes and do everything you can to avoid them.
All those are fundamental to running a successful hospital.
In fact any business has certain principals that are specific to its business that constrain what they can and can't do.
An accounting firm, say, or even Barry Cappello's law firm. He has a right to run his business how he wants to. He can order his attorneys to do what he asks them to do, but he is limited in what he can ask by the constraints of that profession.
Newspapers too are a business.
Their owners have broad latitude in how they are run, but they too are constrainted by the principals of the industry. You cannot be successful as a newspaper if people do not believe what they read in your paper. If they believe your coverage is dictated by the opinions of your owner. I
f you do not abide by the basic principals of journalism - simple stuff like fairness, accuracy and timeliness - your business fails.
What is amazing to me is the owners of the News-Press has embraced the idea that they can do what they want and principals be damned.
Beyond the ethics of all that, it makes no business sense.
The News-Press has a right to dig its own grave, but its workers also have the right to say there are some things they cannot be ordered to do.

9/27/2007 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a follow up to something John San Roque said, disliking Marty Blum does not make you are Mc Caw supporter. She has earned the disregard shown her in so many other ways.

9/27/2007 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who's been involved in the fight on behalf of reporters et al at the NP, I think Johnsanroque is right that the arguments have all been made.
I don't know how the judge will rule on all the ULP issues before him, but as far as the court of public opinion is concerned, anyone with any potential interest has been exposed to the debate and has either cancelled or not.
So I think some people are disappointed that more people haven't cancelled, or pulled ads, especially given the paucity of news content (biased or otherwise) in the paper. Apparently the NP can survive at the level it's at, and that's a blow to the public-campaign component of the journalists' fight, I think. They'd hoped the campaign would pressure Wendy to cave, and through a combination of deep pockets, stubborness and an apparently sustainable if lowered subscription base, she sees no need to. What Craig Smith thinks of her hairdo is obviously not a factor for her, either.

Many people subscribe to local papers and don't pay much attention to coverage of local city councils, etc. Everyone knows that. For many, it's getting the crossword puzzle, advice column, comics, movie listings, as much national and international news as they want to digest, and so on. A lot of people, maybe most, are apolitical on most things. There's a base of such people, combined with however many people feel really strongly that Wendy should win this.

9/27/2007 11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:12 AM,

What IT, is not about the money? Defending private property rights is free? Under a million sounds cheap for the upper crust. You know there are people who can't afford to defend property right issues? The elderly can get kicked to the curb. Aren't employee and employer issues, who did or did not perform in their jobs, what is being deliberated?

Wendy's hair is not the issue, that doesn't stop people from talking and opining. On a hair stylist blog that could be featured. I don't know how many more hearings and cases remain, but there will be alot of questioning and small talk. This result might take a year. Wendy likes gossip.

If you never see a News-Press again that doesn't exempt you from the effects of the product. A teenage neighbor loves Dr. Laura from the radio. That's what the girl calls reading the paper. She and her friends learn about unions, immigration and other social issues. She is reading about Marie Antoinette this week.

I'm looking forward to Craig Smith and other observations. Both the serious and the frivolous, it's a relief.

9/27/2007 3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not about the money; it is about the principle of retention of private property rights.

Those who believe in the far-right notion of absolute property rights are about nothing else but money. Trying to make this into something other than that is just plane bullshit.

There is no altruism in McCaw's fight. She's investing in this battle because she's convinced that, in the long run, her and her rich compatriots will benefit seven-fold. She's wrong, but everyone but her seems to know that.

9/27/2007 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Wendy McCaw's fight belongs to every publisher in America.

It is a fight for standards, for credibility, for unbiased reporting at a time the public holds journalists in low esteem. Newspaper circulation and television news viewership reflect this steady erosion of credibility.

It is a fight for the future. Unions, which stand for archaic work rules, have hobbled our nation's march forward. They stand in the way of progress and innovation on the media. Wendy McCaw's fight is for all publishers struggling to adapt in changing times.

Does it cost money? Absolutely. But this is battle Wendy McCaw can't afford not to fight.

9/27/2007 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Mrs. Mc Caw shows good business sense and has a new following since getting the bias out. I've listened to Dr. Laura for years and like when she let's a caller have it. She knows what's happening in the world and keeps her listeners informed. She's a graduate of Columbia University. Her son is in the Middle East and has first hand experience. Can you top that?

9/27/2007 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

I think Wendy has a point in seeking her emphasis on limiting human bias from the news in her paper. She is certainly doing a good job of getting the humans out of the office. Some believe that enough monkeys at a typewriter and pounding away, could given enough time, eventually write another Shakespeare's "MACBETH." This is a common academic point of view in Departments of English. Clearly she is going to give this thesis a good and fair test. Perhaps eventually, Wendy will get an honorable Doctorate. Let's let her keep those monkeys pounding away.

9/27/2007 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WWST"????? What does that even mean?

9/27/2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

9:26 had it right, but then lost me in the last paragraph.

The current News-Press, especially when it comes to City Hall politics, is absolutely, completely, 100% right on. Those of you who have jumped on the anti-NP bandwagon have been sucked into the brainwashed mentality that drove this city for the past couple decades.

Yes, Wendy is uber-wealthy. Yes, Wendy is pro-animal rights. But the fact is that she and Travis are calling a spade a spade when it comes to the antics of our local elected officials.

It’s true, the News-Press is struggling to publish a quality product. The main reason for this is due to the backlash by those that were being exposed. Powerful politicians don’t give up their power without a fight

In your fervor to attack the “rich Red Queen”, some of you are willing, even eager, to give a pass to the seven goof-balls who pass themselves off as local leaders. The protests are pathetic, and take on the appearance of a bunch of time-warp, 60’s-style activists looking for a little nostalgia rather than a real cause.

Wendy and her Editorial Page Editor have blown the lid off City Hall. The uber-wealthy owner has proven to be an uber-watch dog. Thanks to Wendy and Travis this community just might end up better off.

9/27/2007 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stop trying to read Wendy's mind, and then self-rightously getting mad about what you just made up.

Take her word for face value - she does not want to destroy the NewsPress. She simply wants to mold it closer to her own philosophy, as its owner.

Frothing about what you ascribe to Wendy is tilting at windmills and wasting everyone's time.

9/27/2007 10:50 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:55 PM -- I've been running a few posts lately which ask "What Was She/He/They Thinking?"....

Nelville -- long time no see! Welcome back to BlogaBarbara and you are welcome any time.

I'm not sure I see your point as what you say about journalists can be attributed to many media outlets like Fox News, CBS, etc. Do publishers and owners owe the public anything more than their own opinion? I think so. Bias is as bias does -- Ms. McCaw's recent time on the stand shows she was biased towards coyotes, otters and non-union activities. Does that further the polemic of public discourse? Does firing one employee but keeping the other for an even worse reason logical and fair?

Bill -- I would agree with you if TKA did his homework. I don't think Wendy had as much to do with this. Editorial photo essays and not telling the whole story isn't editorial but it is because the whole story isn't told. This is the juxtaposition that keeps the News-Press in business -- basically, most people can't tell the difference.

It would be one thing if TKA blew the lid off City Hall with cold, hard facts that were bolstered by other media outlets in the area. The truth is that other media outlets wouldn't touch what he did because he was and is so off base. Claiming they are an authority on what happens at City Hall is the hole in your argument....sorry to say.

I appreciate your opinion becuase really -- they can do whatever they want. But what they do has a much broader impact than when we do whatever we want. The market decides on companies and even government organizations (save the IRS!) but not individual people -- this mess is about people in the end and they cannot be treated like profit and loss. Rich people also do not give up their power without a fight and we cannot treat them otherwise.

I've said for a long time that this is a war of attrition...s/he who has the most mettle or the most lawyers could win this war -- but what would be left?

9/28/2007 12:10 AM  
Anonymous editress said...

This sorry saga, heartbreaking on so many levels--individuals' lives damaged, careers interrupted, an institution damaged perhaps beyond repair, a city government that slides by without the press watchdogging its takeover by the very powerful wealthy interests that have benfitted greatly from this mess to the longterm detriment of this community. The polarization that continues helps no one. City Hall does need the lid blown off it--but the investigative journalism isn't going to come from what, the Independent? Too biased in favor of its "progressive" friends in City Hall. The News-Press doesn't have the credibility nor the talent anymore; Travis's potshots aren't enough. From the individual level to the entire community, a terrible and lasting damage will reverberate for years.

9/28/2007 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville's right: without unions we could still have 8-year-olds working 18 hour days digging coal in tumble-down mine tunnels. During their 6 hours off they could be little hosts and hostesses who service the desires of rich customers.

Now that's the kind of productivity that would make this country great again, as great as parts of Africa and Thailand.

Eventually McCaw will be picked up for wandering the streets of Dubrovnik in her bathrobe, picking up stray coyotes.

9/28/2007 4:26 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

Sara: What would be left would be monkeys tapping at typewriters and no human bias. There's a lot of waiting though!

Travis is a funny animal. He's an angry monkey,

I dont know if I agree with you about city hall. Everybody always gripes about city hall. Dr. Cooper will know what to do when he gets in there. He's very good at anesthesia.

9/28/2007 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow this so-called bias defense seems silly and ignorant. As if we each do not have bias and a reasonable boss would deal with real or perceived bias as a professional. Owners don't have to be reasonable, they can do as they please to a point. Whatever WWWT was, is she credible in this? The judge will give us his conclusions.

Her property rights with no human rights is a strong political stand. She has a right to disregard the traditions of ethics?

Mc Caw does not have to care about her public persona in journalism or with the little people. She appears to some of us as out of touch, troubled and highly manipulative, not someone to trust. Her judgments in friends is questionable. She will have relationships with animals and celebrity. The combination of using the law and money is how she operates in life. Her attorney told us Cease and Desist is how she communicates with the little people. She can successfully sequester and narrow herself.

Perhaps someone knows more about journalism in history? I hear what Wendy Mc Caw wants is journalism from an earlier time when the owners did whatever and their bias did rule. This was not American to everyone and ethics and principles were fought for and established. What I find significant about her appearance is that it is aligned to another time, old fashioned. I'm alright with that, it was one thing I liked about Barbara Bush. Mc Caw has a right to want to go back to a time when ethics were what an owner says. That can be her News-Press. The little people won't get many letters to the editor but we continue, for now, to have our rights outside of an old fashion News-Press.

9/28/2007 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You keep using that word [bias], I do not think it means what you think it means."

Do the people who claim that McCaw is "eliminating the bias" even know what the word "bias" means?

I've listened to Dr. Laura for years and like when she let's a caller have it. She knows what's happening in the world and keeps her listeners informed.

If Dr. Laura is the stick by which you measure bias, then I think you've made my point better than I could have.

9/28/2007 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

7:44 AM Anonymous

Let's look at newspaper owners priorities and what we call "yellow journalism"...remember the ship "Maine" that was blown up in Cuba's harbor and what W. R. Hearst did with that? Remind you of anything recent in our history?

On the other hand, a newspaper's owner, might work progressive issues like the historical case of tenement reform in New York City.

It all depends on what issues the owner decides to take up.

Wendy is championing rats on Santa Cruz Island, coyotes, wild horses, snowy plovers, and sea otters. She is also interested in coastal private property rights, and celebrity protection. She likes "leave it alone" architectural preservation. Do you like the list? What you think of Wendy's version "yellow journalism" depends on her interests doesn't it?

My view of Travis' opinions and efforts is that he is useless.

9/28/2007 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy believes the only right an employee has is to resign. That is not true in this country, and hasn't been for at least seven decades. Property and ownership rights are important -- probably over-exalted in this country -- but they are not supreme at the complete expense of workers' rights, which is what she and Cappello tried to tell the NLRB judge, who wasn't buying. So, Wendy can control the paper's content, but if she really wants to see only her opinion and positions in the news reporting, then she loses her ethical standing. So, her option is to try to appear ethical, while continuing her meddling.

The reason the newsroom sought union protection was to be shielded from Wendy's shifting and unpredictable whims, and to maintain their individual integrity and job security, as well as gaining a voice in the workplace. People should not be fired for not reading Wendy's mind, and it is illegal for her or Steepleton to fire them for trying to gain union protection, which is what happened.

Wendy would like to turn the clock back to the robber baron age, when there was absolutely no law protecting unionization. She is actually better off with the current very weak law, which allows her to spend her endless gobs of money to try to frustrate the employees into submission and departures, and to threaten, intimidate and coerce her workforce into paranoia and hiding under their desks. Who at the NP would want to write a story about animals, if they had seen McCaw testify this week?

9/28/2007 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

Just want to add to my comment above.

I believe when your W. R. Hearst, the historians talk about "yellow" journalism but when they talk about publishing stories on such things as New York tenement reform, they call it "muckraking" journalism. Just goes to show you the bias of historians.

Bias abounds everywhere and can't completely eliminated--even in science and the Newpress newsroom.

9/28/2007 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Jose dlgyn, Dr. Cooper withdrew from the race.

The anaesthesia or attempted anesthesia of public discourse, public awareness is coming from the News-Press whose leadership hates the mayor and most of the city council with a passion that is asphyxiating to understanding and thought.

Yes, Ms. McCaw can do what she wants with her newspaper. We who live here can choose to support it or not. Pity that the Santa Maria Times doesn't have a SB edition; the Sound is a long shot from being a substitute.

9/28/2007 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's important to point out that those "seven goofballs who pass themselves off as local leaders" were elected by a vote of the people and will stand or fall in future elections by a vote of the people.

Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, that's a standard that McCaw doesn't have to meet.

But then, who in their right mind would vote for someone who paid $100 million for a business she doesn't understand, gave it to her boyfriend to run, and now is reaping the consequences.

9/28/2007 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep hearing that Wendy is an astute businesswoman. But is she? Is taking over a Santa Barbara newspaper really the wisest use of funds when your goal is to protect wildlife? Is Santa Barbara such a hotbed of unprotected wildlife that a cell phone fortune is necessary to protect it?

Here's some advice for McCaw in her passion to save coyotes, pigs and otters. Look only to animal rescue organizations to find your future "journalists." The problem was that the journalists she got with her newspaper purchase are sane and balanced individuals trained to write sane and balanced articles. This won't cut it for McCaw. Balanced is biased. And you can't legislate pro-coyote articles. If you want your staff to write articles that are pro-coyote, you need to hire people who come to the table with that passion. I think this is a very simple solution, and in the future, all NP reporters will write exactly what McCaw wants, a wildlife newsletter of sorts, and everyone will be happy.

9/28/2007 9:44 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

To Bill Carson, Nelville, and a few anons:

Your opinions are like those on the editorial page: one-sided with nothing to support them except your own firm belief that you're right.

You disregard the questions that several of us raise. Can you respond to a couple simple questions:

Do you know anyone who has a background in journalism who supports the actions taken by the News-Press or believes that the publisher/owner should decide what news is covered and how the articles are written?

Do you believe that the News-Press treated Jerry Roberts fairly after he expressed his opinion about the wall of separation?

Those are just a couple questions. I don't want to get more involved than that because you might get off-track again and into a rant about the evils of politicians, unions, etc.

9/28/2007 11:02 AM  
Anonymous boB said...

When I was a kid, LA had many newspapers. My Dad brought home the Herald Express in the evening. My friend's parents subscribed to the Examiner. The Los Angeles Times seemed snooty. Sometimes I read the Mirror. Wasn't there a Daily News too?

Each of those newspapers had their own perspective. Newspapers will always have their own perspectives. Owners will always make that happen.

The SB News-Press slowly morphed while we were sitting around happy and complacent. Then it suddenly unzipped its abdomen and the aliens emerged. We are all poorer for this.

There are so many threads to this change. They are sadly playing out in many different venues. But the old SBNP will NEVER return. Those who have been hurt will NEVER receive adequate redress.

Although the LA Times continues to be my main read, I desperately miss my community's "newspaper". I can only hope that other newspapers in town will continue to move toward filling the void.

I'm boB

9/28/2007 11:06 AM  
Blogger George said...

According to Nelville, "Wendy McCaw's fight belongs to every publisher in America."

So when will all the other publishers in the country come to her side (which is really just their side, after all)? Is she just that much more a visionary?

OK, when will one other publisher?

I guess the best thing about owning a newspaper is you can say "white is black" enough times that someone might actually believe you.

9/28/2007 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the Political Play of the Week?

9/28/2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that the same Nelville?

The mainstream media is what is unpopular. Journalists aren't in control. It is an unglamorous dangerous job today. The journalist who sell out for the big money to do their masters will are what people detest. When journalists are free we'll get a lot more investigative reporting on all the news that is taboo.

Your fight for the future is not my reality. The ownership rulers are few in number. The ones like Wendy McCaw must find ways to control. This clarion call against unions morphed to Wendy McCaw's fight belongs to every publisher, a fight for the future, struggling to adapt in changing times, battling against standing in the way of progress. That serves to cheerlead a small group. Good luck if that's your sales pitch to the rest of us.

I think what Cappello sold McCaw and Mr. McCaw is what they wanted to hear and that was about it.

Who has archaic work rules? I don't believe you said that. Think back to loyalty memos and the party time mandate.

9/28/2007 7:11 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

7:10 pm -- it's usually over the weekend....looking forward to CS contribution myself!

9/28/2007 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

Wendy must really like Nick Welsh's Angry Poodle in the Independent every week. He has to write from the point of view of an angry French dog.

Hey I didn't know about Dr. Cooper bailing out. My apologies. Guess that goes to show you what happens when you're out of town for three months. I have been reading French newspapers. Boy are they biased! Nobody even mentions whales, coyotes, rats (except for Ratatouille), or plovers. They're busy talking about bankruptcy and Rugby.

9/28/2007 9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose she can think of it as her business to do with as she pleases.

The problem for me with that is that the News-Press is inextricably entangled with the history and development of the South Coast, via the Storke Family.

All three Storke Men (2 Charles and one Tom) really had a huge impact on this place... Cachuma, UCSB, Earl Warren, downtown standards, etc.

They were way, way more tolerant of dissent from their visions than Wendy McCaw is. And, frankly, a certain tolerance is necessary to succeed at what the Storkes set out to do, and they did succeed.

Not that they were perfect, but the scale of perfect is way outside of McCaw's range. She is really trashing the legacy of the Storkes.

Does she have the economic power and right to do so? Yup. Is her trashing of the News-Press good and right, worthy of respect, and respectful of the legacy she bought? Nope.

9/29/2007 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

10:37 Anonymous is EXACTLY right. Couldn't have said it better myself.

call me
Don Jose

9/29/2007 4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you mention the local Storke legacy. It astounds me WPM claims a history background. Why would she move to a place where the denizens have so much love of their history, only to behave with ignorance? No wonder Dr. Laura goes to names like the NewsPress "haters". They have no idea of how that paper has been loved, warts and all. It is a tragedy, the cold disrespect they keep piling on, and they expect to be loved?

What would they do if people were burning the flag?

WPM will drag this out, at some point she'll be more the odd Mrs. Winchester, building court cases to nowhere. Had she stopped at the big divorce court, her fame would have been glorious. She's on her way to the worse case of elder abuse in all history.

9/29/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Nelville Flynn said...

Many publishers have privately expressed their support to Mrs. McCaw.

Unfortunately, they are reluctant to speak out publicly. Many remain in thrall to that aging and increasingly irrelevant Brahmin caste led by Lou Cannon -- the priests who stand on the mountaintops and proclaim "Ethics! Ethics! Ethics!" as the ground slips away beneath their feet. Cannon, Roberts and the American Journalism Review clique have led newspaper journalism to the brink of destruction. Wendy McCaw is seeking ways to win back the public trust, to expand the platform for her journalism. Well-heeled unions and self-interested politicians are standing in the way, and the effort has not been cheap. However, Wendy McCaw believes that a free press is priceless.

9/29/2007 6:17 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

nelville -- how is it a free press when rpoerters aren't allowed to write what really happened? One News-Press and a Valley Voice reporter have left in recent weeks....why are you acting like the owners of the newspaper are "the press"?

Yes, they have a business to run but why can't they see that an ethical approach -- that doesn't have anything to do with social class -- will get them more readers and support in our community? Is it that they know thta most everybody isn't paying attention? or are they just counting on that? I'd say the former.

9/29/2007 11:53 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...


Please explain. I honestly don't understand your point. I can see why unions would be disliked by owners if the push were for more money--which it is not in this case. I don't understand why the reporters' and the union's push for what they believe to be ethical journalism would bring newspaper to the "brink of destruction", as you call it.

I'm not trying to win a debate here--just to understand. Are you saying that journalistic "ethics" as defined by Lou Cannon, Jerry Roberts, and a bunch of NP reporters equates to liberally-biased journalism--which in turn leads to slumping newspaper sales? Is that it?

9/30/2007 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A "free press" means anyone can write anything they want IN THEIR OWN NEWSPAPERS!.

It never meant to protect writers who want to write what they want in papers they don't own.

Why can so few understand this basic principle? The inmates don't get to run Wendy's asylum.

9/30/2007 12:07 PM  
Anonymous Youngbloodnot said...

I've worked as a journalist for many publishers in more than 30 years in the newspaper business.

And I never, ever heard the word "bias" used in the abnormal context that Wendy McCaw uses it at the Santa Barbara News-Press.

As a matter of fact, I never saw a reporter accused of bias, period. They were asked to gather more information, perhaps, to clarify issues, or ask some additional questions of sources, but all in the name of constructing an accurate and thorough story.

Only at the News-Press, with three amateurs sitting on the editorial board, can two co-publishers and an editorial page editor come up with a plan to ban dissenting free speech on their editorial pages, edit stories to favor their interests, friends or business associates (resulting in reporters quitting to save their integrity), and at the same time boldly proclaim all this is being done to "eliminate the bias" and to "fight for a free press!" This is the most extreme example of actual bias I have ever witnessed in this profession. And it's being committed by the News-Press's editorial board!

It's all a bunch of crap! Anybody who believes this editorial board's bullshit is a moron, and deserves the poor excuse of a newspaper this lame board produces.

It is common for a reporter to try to pick an interesting angle on a story. Five reporters might report the same story from different angles. Or an editor might decide what angle the reporter should take. "Angle" is also called "slant," but if you're a neurotic non-journalist, you misperceive angle and slant as "bias." It's simply the approach a reporter takes to a story to make it interesting to the readers.

And anyone who's read reporters' accounts of being manipulated by their editors, publishers or corporate owners to slant stories to reflect the newspaper's philosophy, will better understand how frustrated reporters are about helplessly seeing their credibility sink continuously in the public eye because of that "biased" interference from above!

Then, these "many publishers" are "reluctant" about speaking out publicly about how much they support Wendy McCaw -- or so Nelville Flynn claims! No, they are damn afraid to speak out publicly for fear of the backlash from their reporters who'll expose them as the reason their biased newspapers' credibility sucks as much as Wendy McCaw's!

9/30/2007 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Flynn, I'm having a problem with "Many publishers", could it be 1 or 2? Many publishers would join together, put up a full page ad or something to show unity and support. Many publishers aren't shrinking violets. Don't believe all you hear in social situations. Nancy Reagan stepped up for stem cell research, I'd like to hear her views on irrelevant Brahmin caste led by Lou Cannon. As the years go by the "Many publishers" and others will surely speak.

Count your blessings. You know the "Ethics! Ethics! Ethics!" preceived enemy and you can print history as you see it. I'm not ready to believe lines like, seeking ways to win back the public trust, but let it out and we'll see. You have the funds to expand the platform for her journalism. I love critters, too. You would be great publishing about that genre.

Start with where there is agreement. We all believe a free press is priceless. Both sides see well-heeled, self-interest and obstruction. Both sides are deeply committed. There is no time like the present, now, to begin to win back the public trust. Be patient, it won't come easy. Mediation and negotiations are available to help.

9/30/2007 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy McCaw’s testimony opened a rare window into her weird and eccentric world of animals and celebrities. Her legal costs for whatever “victory” Cappello might win is a fraction of her eventual loss from the newspaper’s plunge in integrity and credibility and character.

9/30/2007 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

All this rigamarole about "bias" is easily explained. It comes from the French--naturally! Etymologically speaking, it means slope or slant and is often used when discussing bowling balls that when launched have a tendency to curve rather then heading straight for the pins.

Although the French might talk perhaps more about "moyenne de detourner" important questions and not following the straight logical line. They hate that. Nuances everywhere. Bias everywhere. Did Bush have a bias? Or was he just lying? Everybody seems to be looking for the right answer, the perfect journalistic report, the perfect bowling ball. It ain't go'in happen! And I say luckily for us.

I'm just looking for a story to give me some more information, make me look at things from a different angle. Hell. I like bias. I like most of all 'surprising' bias. But then I'm,
Don Jose

9/30/2007 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy McCaw uses "bias" in the Orwellian sense. Maybe the "McCawian" sense, from now on.

9/30/2007 8:26 PM  
Blogger George said...

Wendy McCaw in the News-Press (7/3/07): "Today the hue and cry of 'journalistic ethics' by your journalist elite, rather than being the noble words you assert, instead have become little more than the chant of an ancient priesthood long discarded by their former flock, our readers. Newspaper owners now realize these elitists were simply trying to preserve their caste which provided them with the sinecure of full employment without responsibility."

Nelville Flynn on Blogabarbara (9/29/07): "Many remain in thrall to that aging and increasingly irrelevant Brahmin caste led by Lou Cannon -- the priests who stand on the mountaintops and proclaim 'Ethics! Ethics! Ethics!' as the ground slips away beneath their feet."

So, Nelville--parrot, plagiarist, or Wendy herself?

You aptly say, "Wendy McCaw is seeking ways to win back the public trust, to expand the platform for her journalism." Her journalism? She might own the paper, but I didn't know her money entitled her to own journalism as well.

10/01/2007 11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville, the Independent and the Sound don't seem like they're on the brink of destruction.

Now, of course, lots of newspaper owners would love to hire 21 year-old coeds for $9.00/hour and also have no laws to prevent sexual harassment, 20 hour workdays, etc. Or even outsource their newspapers to India. And I'm sure they've expressed how great it would be if McCaw can use her bucks to trash all workers' rights.

Hard to see how that wins the public's trust, however.

Maybe the coyotes and vultures who McCaw likes more than humans will trust her more, though

10/01/2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's an article in today's NY Times about the high end yacht market...

Mini-helicopters like that on McCaw's Calixe are all the rage, as are mini-submarines.

After splurging on those goodies, the giga-rich like to cut costs on the help by registering their giant yachts in the Cayman Islands, which minimizes social security costs on salaries. How thoughtful.

And after all that, I suppose they send a nice supporting note to Wendy in her labor battle.

10/02/2007 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am puzzled by the comment by Nelville claiming Wendy is supported by many publishers.
The California Newspapers Publishers Association, a rather cozy group that is the voice for the collective newspaper owners of this state, spoke volumes when it announced its awards for the year.
For those who do not recall, the CNPA -- which has honored the News-Press many times over the years (including the year prior to the meltdown) -- did not deign to present the paper with a single editorial award.
So where are these supportive publishers? They don't exist.
Ms. McCaw is an outcast in the industry.

10/02/2007 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A divorcee with lots of cash to buy toys, and a Baron von Foodwriter consort, with little business experience between them, have to be extreme oddities among publishers. Bringing in the Teamsters cannot have endeared them to other newspaper publishers. Being lucky in love and running a newspaper into the ground doesn't mean these two are in the club.

10/03/2007 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nelville Flynn - your posts are so ridiculous, they are actually kind of funny! You are hilarious, and you don't even know it. Comedy. Pure comedy.
"Many publishers have privately expressed their support to Mrs. McCaw." HAAA! Really? Your saying that the PUBLISHERS just don't want to PUBLISH it? HAHA!
"It is a fight for standards, for credibility, for unbiased reporting at a time the public holds journalists in low esteem."
HAHAHAHAAAAAAA! Are you serious? BWAHAHAAA! You kill me. Do you really believe this? A fair press represents BOTH sides of a story Nelville - not just Wendy's. I've seen a lot of public support for the reporters. Haven't seen a single thing for Wendy. Your claims are really funny. Arthur is that you? Travis? Come on now...

10/03/2007 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny how you all LOVE Lou Cannon now. Didn't liberal SB dish disrespect on him when he first got to town. It's the inverse of the relationship with Wendy who they figured could be milked for many non-profit (excuse me cocktail party) dollars. Problem: Wendy would rather have a drink with a coyote, rat or cat than any of you.

Personally, I always thought she was just another cash addled divorcee and thus anyone who gets some of it from her, well... more power to them. Just ask Greg Parker or whatever his name was.

Has Von Weisenschlepper studied jurisprudence in the vein of Michelle Triola also? Only time will tell...

If you want a real PLAY... I dare any media in SB to truly look into the sheer volume of dollars supposedly donated in Santa Barbara, how much is spent on parties and administration? and how much actually goes to the supposed beneficiaries of these so called charities? Are major gifts written up in News Releases actually donated in the end?

10/03/2007 10:29 AM  

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