Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

WWST? It Was Anti-Coyote!

I'm not sure what News-Press co-publisher Wendy McCaw was thinking when she took the stand and defined what bias was for the masses today. Contradictions flew left and right as she told the courtroom what it is in her world. She said she works more than 40 hours a week and 5 days a week in the office -- I wondered why the NLRB attorney's didn't ask for the sailing records for the Calixe as this statement seems to contradict public record.

My favorite misdirection from McCaw was the following quoted in The Independent:

When asked is (sic) she had a right to control the content of the news section, she replied, “I believe I have a right to that, but I don’t choose to exercise that.” Bias was a lingering problem for McCaw throughout her ownership because, as she explained, “We didn’t want the paper dictating what people should be believing.”

We didn’t want the paper dictating what people should be believing. Wow. That's rich considering the following also from The Independent about faxes she sent to her editors about articles printed in the newspaper:

...another asked why an article about a Hannah-Beth Jackson (she had written “HBJ”, though couldn’t recall on the stand why) press release did not cite the role of the Sperlings or the Wendy P. McCaw Foundation in saving the Ellwood Mesa; and a fourth said that “bad editing” was at fault for the front-page placement of a story about architect Brian Cearnal’s lawsuit against McCaw.

If WPM doesn't know who HBJ is or why lack of mention of her own foundation is showing bias, I am very surprised. I am not keeping count, but has every News-Press executive "contradicted their testimony" as of yet? Yet another article was biased, according to McCaw, because it was "anti-coyote" -- almost anthropomorphic in nature, is it because the meercats, coyotes and otters deserve to get more than the true story told? By no means are coyotes or other animals inanimate -- but this women makes sure they sit above the fold and above the banner, and then tells us she doesn't influence the newsroom.

There is likely more about this story very soon at Craig's Blog. I'm fascinated that we finally got a glimpse into -- WWST?

Before we see the typical "Let the market decide!" comments -- let me just ask those of you that want to write that whether you want to read front-page stories about the bastardized trickle-down effect McCaw talked about today? Reagonomics on animals as unbiased news -- isn't that taking laissez-faire a bit far?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bizarre testimony.

McCaw said she terminated her humans for being anti-pig and anti-coyote, which is legal.

She said she did not terminate her humans for banding together to protect themselves from her, like from being fired at her whim for a perception of being anti-coyote and anti-pig, which would be illegal.

Her handwritten notes are a window into the pysche of what kind of person?

9/26/2007 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steepleton would fire six reporters, using a Cappello person no less to help out, WITHOUT getting thumbs up from Wendy?

Come on, honey, not that it matters to you much, but that judge ain't that dumb!

9/26/2007 12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy, contradictory? Naw...

The girl has got it together.

No difference between her truth telling today and what she promises readers in print ... right?

"... I plan to leave the day-to-day management and editorial direction of our paper to the professionals who run it. An essential reason for buying the News-Press is to preserve its independence and integrity." 7-22-2000

"I respect the traditions of journalism and believe that the best way to run a paper is to hire good people and let them do their jobs, and that is exactly what I am doing." 7-19-2006

"We are in the process of hiring a new editor who is a strong journalist with impeccable credentials to be the buffer between the newsroom and the publisher." 7-25-2006

"While I don't believe that union representation is in the best interests of our employees, the paper or this community, I respect our employees' rights to make their own decisions." 7-25-2006

"I will personally continue to work in 2007 to ensure that you receive the best local coverage that can be provided, not only this year, but beyond." 1-1-2007

9/26/2007 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked all of the fish stories and pictures last Sunday. Pretty cute. No bias there.

Hey, has anyone seen the county Board of Supervisors or UCSB? Have they moved out of town?

9/26/2007 12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't recall ever seeing an interview with a coyote, otter, or feral pig in any major media outlet. That is really biased! It is bias by omission.

And that overpass across the 101. Mainstream media never interviews the overpass. I bet it was really annoyed at having to be stepped on by all those reporters who displayed signs.

I have it on good authority that an interview was conducted with the land at 700 Pichaco Lane, and the land expressed a desire not to be named in the paper, and the reporters didn't respect the land's request! Actually the land would have allowed its original Chumash moniker to have been published, but there is so much anti-Chumash bias in the newsroom that they insisted on the White People's address.

I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, how do you get an otter or a piece of land to talk to you? It's easy. 3 Harvey Wallbangers, 1 pint of Tanqueray, washed down with a bottle of Romanee-Conti. Then have your chauffeur take you to the otter or plot of land. You'll get a great interview.

9/26/2007 5:32 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriegad said...

Well...this trial has moved now into the zone of what I would call "fascinating" stuff. Poor Ms. McCaw has clearly never got over her encounter with "Willy" the whale.

There is something admirable and consistent in her concern for animals. But something dangerous and crazy in her inability to empathize with humans and science. Owning a newspaper whose subject is largely the daily doings of humans, can only cause her pain and suffering. I think she should take up her true calling and purchase another publication with another focus.

This trial has also exposed her reasoning with respect to the newspapers enormous commitment to the "snowy plover" too. It's bigger fences and walls to keep out the humans, that's for sure.

I hope Mr. Craig next time can analyze her fashion choices more in terms of their intimate relation to Wendy's animal politics than her Victorianism, lunch locations (What was on the menu and how does her choice relate to animal politics? That's what inquiring minds want to know!), and her hairdo. (Was it more something more like like a rat's nest, perhaps?) I was very disappointed in the obviously human focused descriptions of Ms. McCaw Caw (black crow) by Mr. Craig. But how would I know, I wasn't there.

Clearly, Newspress reporters that have been fired, should reveal themselves more as the endangered species that they truly are. That's their only hope for sympathy from Wendy.

I would also be interested in a pheremonal analysis for why Wendy is attracted to Travis too.

9/26/2007 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that what it amounted to, the bias they kept braying about, that the survey supposedly found readers were fed up with. Anti-coyote.

According to Craig Smith, Wendy claims Anna Davison is biased against sea otters and is pro-fisherman because a story of hers pointed out that otters are "voracious eaters."
I happen to know Davison loves sea otters. But it's simply a biological fact that they are voracious eaters. They have to eat nearly constantly to keep warm because they have no blubber and have a really high metabolism. Pointing that out is simply a part of the story -- they WILL have an effect on local near-shore habitats. It doesn't mean people should oppose their (very gradual) migration here or (absurdly) try to stop it as some fishermen advocate. (Fishermen in Monterey had to adjust when otters came back there from near-extinction, and in most ways the effect of otters is very healthy for wildlife populations.)
There was nothing in any story Davison wrote that remotely suggested she had an anti-otter agenda or was taking the side of fisherman as Wendy suggested.
For this and points like it to be the evidence of bias shows how absurd Wendy's case is. Is this what 60-something percent of readers identified as bias in local stories in that vaunted stories? They were insulted that otters were called "voracious eaters" (a little like pointing out that elephants are rather large)?

9/26/2007 7:34 AM  
Blogger jqb said...

I fear that Ampersand is going to prevail because the NLRB lawyers are terribly inept (or don't have their hearts in it). They barely put on a prosecution case, and now they are barely cross-examining Cappello's witnesses.

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

I just read the Independent story and found it kind of sympathetic. I loved seeing the pictures of Wendy because she looked much better than Mr. Craig had led me to believe. Maybe it's my age, but I think she looks great! I wonder if she dances well and what her favorite music is.

So she studied history and art. This is my kind of person! I am going to have to re-evaluate my previous impression of Ms. McCaw. Maybe it's just Travis that drives me nuts. It may be that Wisenburger is a lucky guy.

I side with the Nature Conservancy on the pigs though. And Feds they're not. I prefer an island with less fennel even if I love Pastis.

9/26/2007 10:10 AM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

What does WWST mean?

Much as I might (and do) disagree with what's happened to what was our source of news - and I still prefer a daily newspaper to blogs or aggregators - and much as I also am supportive of animal rights but deplore the News-Press (if anything the NP druming and steady stream of animal stories sours people on wildlife), it's important to keep in mind it is McCaw's newspaper, not a public trust.

It is up to the people, readers and advertisers to support it ---- and apparently, they do. While there is this base of more than 30,000, it will continue.

Maybe not supported as much as it was, certainly the paper seems thinner, but it is still bought. The more McCaw is trashed here, the fiercer she will hold on. What's needed is some groups to work with her. I think it's really unlikely at this stage, especially if Craig Smith's observations about her appearence are valid --- and they do correspond with what I have heard from others who see her.

Those who abhore the direction of the paper should cease supporting it, stop buying it, stop advertising in it. Those who do buy it, do advertise in it, do read the ads are supporting the paper and her direction of it.

9/26/2007 10:19 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I can't come up with something clever enough to be worthy of response, but I just have to note that Craig Smith's tag of "frump de grump" is absolutely on point.

9/26/2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous allegro805 said...

The idea of a news article being "anti-coyote" sounds so thoroughly whack-job to me that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. New interview question for scab reporters: "Are you anti-coyote or pro-coyote?" I wonder what she'd say about the Warner Bros. Roadrunner, or if she would just send away for the 'ACME Terminate-and-Not-Quite-Libel-Your-Entire-Newsroom Destructo-Kit.'

I can't believe that someone can be so "pro-animal" yet so misanthropic.

She should have just bought PETA instead of the News-Press, since churning out an animal-rights newsletter is far more suited to her "publishing skills" than a daily NEWSpaper is.

Maybe next on the chopping block are the heads of the Garden section writers and editors who advocate insecticide use; they're clearly "anti-aphid."

Can I suggest that a screenwriter somewhere start peddling a reworking of a cinematic classic: Citizen McKane?

9/26/2007 1:23 PM  
Anonymous boB said...

Anon 12:29 AM hit the nail on the head!

It certainly is about time for us all to sing "a Cappello"!

I'm boB

9/26/2007 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy is making her case. I suspect she will win this round.

9/26/2007 4:29 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Well, this about settles it. We knew all along that Wendy was a bit "different" than the rest of us, what with her obsession with preserving all species except reporters forced to live under her bizarre, capricious rule. We are not talking Katherine Graham here, folks. Only those who believe that Captain Queeg can run the USS Caine anyway he sees fit can seriously believe that the News-Press is better off since this sad debacle began. The judge may very well decide that Wendy can run her frikkin' paper into the ground for all she cares, but we are all the worse off for it. I'm still waiting for the tighter and brighter content :-(

9/26/2007 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy is making her case. I suspect she will win this round.

If by "case" you mean nut-case and by "round" you are referring to cocktails, you just might be right.

9/26/2007 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She could be against bias since before 2000 and still be most motivated by her more intense hate of unions. An attorney before Cappello could have pointed out that the bias angle was the one to go with. It was the unions I remember most, I don't recall when the bias tune started.

Isn't each firing weighed separate? Didn't she say Steepleton independently fired 6? She would also have us believe she works like a worker bee, she's connected and involved with it all. I'm not sure her testimony is a slam dunk. She was last and because she is isolated she caused some drama. Judge Kocol has seen it all and he's a good shrink. He has to believe her and her case for her to win anything. It could be each side wins and looses? The summaries will be important.

What if any part does the work place environment play?

9/26/2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

City Watcher -- what was she thinking?

Various Anons -- anyone's drinking status is conjecture, let's move on from that. The only issue there is whether she gave TKA special treatment versus other reporters/staff who did not follow her stated policy.

9/26/2007 11:48 PM  

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