Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Hey Travis, What Were You Thinking?

In an editorial entitled "Hey Paula, let's talk", News-Press editor Travis Armstrong continued the temper tantrum he began last week with CJ Ward and KEYT television about not being called back about a story that is best left to the newsroom. He also cast aspersions toward her and intimated a conflict of interest because of her marriage to Judge Frank Ochoa.

If that wasn't enough, Armstrong brought up another possible conflict on Lopez' part but failed to describe what it was -- presumably holding it up as possible punishment for a future editorial. Raising the specter of ethics with the Fiesta Queen for Old Spanish Days might not be a good idea for Armstrong if he really and truly wants a call back from the KEYT anchor. A loyal reader who commented on this editorial in an email to me pointed out that much like going after sports writer John Zant, Travis is dealing with a constituency that supports Lopez and may not be fully aware or care about the News-Press Mess as of yet. This kind of witch hunt with KEYT may change their perspective.

Hey Travis, what were you thinking? Is it not arrogant to defame someone, assign them to your imaginary cabal and then expect them to hop to when you come calling? Paula Lopez and her colleagues at KEYT may be dumb but they are not stupid.

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Anonymous Arrogant is as Arrogant does said...

Is it still a cabal when it is a majority of the local population?

Paula Lopez may not be the sharpest reporter in the newsroom, but her news reports that are the first announcements from the Judge Ochoa courtroom are a good public service to benefit those KEYT viewers.

Alienating yet another constituency group in the community --fans of Paula Lopez in this case-- is just about as rational as irritating the sports-reading fans of John Zant.

With fans of Permanent Fiesta Queen Paula Lopez now given a reason to loathe the News-Press and its editorialist, has the cabal now just become the majority of the local population?

3/06/2008 7:27 AM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

Travis Armstrong is questioning the journalistic ethics of Paula Lopez in a column where he compares her marriage to Judge Ochoa with an affair by LA’s Mayor? I have thought for quite a while that Armstrong was vindictive, paranoid, and mean-spirited, but I didn’t think he was actually stupid. I want to clarify that, in keeping with the civil tone requested for Blogabarbara, I’m not using “stupid” as an insult to Armstrong—just in its literal sense, as an adjective.

Armstrong goes into a snit because news people won’t return his calls, and he believes that he can force them to do so by insulting their character in print without any foundation for the charges? You’d think that a newspaper that has slimed a former editor with groundless child pornography accusations, been accused by several judges of lying, and been spurned by the national journalistic community would think twice about raising the issue of journalistic ethics.

You News-Press supporters are tired of hearing our outrage, but it’s really not enough to ignore the behavior of the News-Press and Armstrong. The man has no judgment, conscience, or ethics, even though his own personal failings should sensitize him to the power of print. This is not a crusading editor supporting his beliefs. It’s a vindictive and paranoid man with a public platform that he uses to vilify people that don’t agree with him. This paper and its editor are a disgrace to the community.

3/06/2008 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...

Travis' opinions are increasingly desperate; his angry gumball style exposes a declining grip on reality. Like a spoiled child he demands attention, but like that child gets increasingly obnoxious the longer he's ignored. He forgets the kind of respect he's looking for is earned; throwing temper tantrums in public won't make it happen.

3/06/2008 9:57 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Once again, attack messenger and his perceived motives, or his perceived politically incorrect approach rather than the message itself.

Is Travis or is he not correct in questioning a potential conflict of interest? Who cares if he's ruffling feathers. Address the question!

3/06/2008 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Stupid is as Stupid does said...

WHAT conflict of interest?

Her husband the Superior Court Judge is not a political figure like a mayor.

The only news reporting Lopez ever had done was information that already was public. Typically this was the outcome of a court ruling or jury decision or something that was announced, to the public, late in the afternoon. Lopez then reports it on KEYT news that same evening, thereby beating all other news media for this already public information from that court.

OBVIOUSLY, the temper tantrums from Storke Castle really are from sad shells of a journalist who is just throwing a jealous hissy fit because KEYT beats his fake newspaper in news reporting from some courtrooms.

This is a clear case of the News-Less trying to attack a commercial competitor for some advantage in the news market.

3/06/2008 9:51 PM  
Anonymous Radio-controlled said...

Travis sounds pretty benign and intelligent on his radio show. Hard to believe it is the same person as he sometime appears in print.

It is too bad he has this often misogynist edge in case you guys have not been counting. He saves his worst vitriol for women, and a few favorite girlie-men.

Do you think the hissy fits against women are actually written by Wendy?

Any way, his radio show is well worth listening to and he is a pretty gracious host. No vitriol dripping from him at all any time I have listened.

3/06/2008 10:21 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

To Bill Carson:

You think it's legitimate to suggest a conflict of interest in the local newspaper because a TV reporter is married to a judge? This is a reporter with 20 years of service, numerous awards and recognition by the community, and no hint whatsoever of ethical problems or bias. You've lost touch with reality in your knee-jerk support of the News-Press.

What connection is there between the marriage of Paula Lopez and her job that warrants comparison to adultery by the LA Mayor? What evidence is there of conflict of interest? If Armstrong has accusations about KEYT and the Neilsen ratings, he's free to make that case in his paper. It does not mean he can suggest in print that Paula Lopez and Judge Ochoa are ethically challenged.

Carson, do the concepts of fairness or evidence or integrity have any meaning to you? Armstrong has decided to drag Lopez and her family down into the mud because she is the public face of a news organization that happens to be his target for this week. It's really disgraceful, and you need to consider exactly what it is that you're supporting.

3/06/2008 10:49 PM  
Anonymous TV-controlled said...

Radio-controlled, TKA is a nice guy on his radio show because the only people who will be a guest on the show are his political allies who also have no other friends.

The few outsiders who appear are new to the whole News Mess situation and either do not know any better or are really desperate for coverage.

Also, people as guests on the radio show can talk back in real time, unlike in the one-way communication flow in Wendy's Newsletter.

3/07/2008 7:43 AM  
Anonymous christine said...

I really want my paper back!

Travis insinuating Paula and the Judge are somehow like the Mayor of LA and his tv hooker+reporter- that is the farthest stone yet they, as a newpspaper, have tossed.

What on Earth is he implying? What on Earth couold have cause his ire?

I am so embarrassed for the
NP- no editor- no reporters left, and the ones that are there are so stretched that the paper looks like crap! The large font, the huge photos of crap, the white out editing, the misspellings, the errors in information, the lack of any ocal news worth printing....I really miss my paper, damnit.

I agree that on his radio show, he almost sounds human. He is level headed and sounds normal.

I want to read Travis' thoughts on the Chumash being given back "their" nearly 7,000 square miles of "aboriginal" land. From Malibu to Monterey- they want it back. This is interesting!

3/07/2008 9:47 AM  
Blogger LW said...

TKA's style is to provoke. It gets a rise and that in turns gets people to think about what he writes about, thus accomplishing his mission. He's quite clever actually.

3/07/2008 1:54 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

To johnsanroque:

To answer your first question, yes. Does anyone think that a Paula Lopez news report would ever include criticism of her judge husband? Of course not. And this is exactly why she should refrain from reporting on his activities. At the least she should disclose her marital ties to the judge prior to any reporting about him. Whenever a newsmaker is married to a news reporter, there should be a journalistic separation or an up-front declaration.

My comments on this blog are far from “knee-jerk” support for the News-Press. Ironically, most of my statements have to do with the fact that many like yourself are more than willing to attack Travis Armstrong just because he chooses to question someone who might have “20 years of service, numerous awards and recognition by the community”. Are you trying to say that Paula is off limits for criticism simply because she’s cultivated a certain perception in the community? No one in the public eye should be exempt from an inquisitive press, unless of course your fond of the type of government that exists in places like Cuba.

All I’m attempting to communicate in my post here is that you and others resist the urge to shoot the messenger. If you open your eyes a bit you might find that Travis brings up some fairly valid issues.

3/07/2008 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...

Mr Carson...

There is not a person living in Santa Barbara who doesn't know who Paula Lopez is married to. Absolutely no secrets here. To imply it was in any way similar to LA's scandal is another breathtaking example of how low Travis will go...just when you think it's as bad as it could get: "Oops, there he goes again!"
Why would we think otherwise from someone who accused an honest man of savoring child pornography? Valid issues? Clever? How much did it cost Travis for that?!

And BC, be carful what you wish for. As more people "open their eyes" your friend Travis will be seen for what he truly is: a boil on the arse of journalism.

3/07/2008 10:39 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Your assumption that everyone knows that Paula Lopez is married to Judge Frank Ochoa is not correct.

I know people who think Marty Blum is a man, and don't even know that she's the mayor. You give people too much credit in your effort to perpetuate your anti-Travis agenda.

I'll say it again....Travis is the best thing that's happened to this town in decades. The closed-minded, self-serving establishment doesn't know how to find a way to move back into the protective shadows they once enjoyed.

3/08/2008 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Again, Keep Up in Class said...


Stay awake here.

Paula Lopez does not report on the "activities" of Judge Ochoa.

All that ever happened is the outcome of something in his court is reported early on KEYT (thus beating the rival news media, especially newspapers). Examples are the result from a jury decision or the case closing or whatever.

3/08/2008 12:43 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

"Once again, attack messenger and his perceived motive"

No, that's what your doing with that hypocritical attack. TKA is not a "messenger", he is an active source of reprehensible behavior of various sorts, a subject that you apparently would like to be out of bounds.

3/08/2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger jqb said...

"your anti-Travis agenda"

Yes, we have an anti-evil agenda, whereas you have a pro-evil agenda.

3/08/2008 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...

Bill Carson...

Thanks for proving my point. You talk with ill-informed people who don't know who our mayor is. You have no faith in in our citizens (maybe they're the same people and you need new friends) and Travis is not a petty, vindictive tyrant.

Don't pull on that thread you see, BC. Things will unravel

3/08/2008 4:50 PM  
Anonymous IamwomanIamstrong said...

Did Bill Carson say he knows people who think Marty Blum is a man and don't know she is mayor? And he also thinks that Travis is the best thing that's happened to this town in decades? Sounds like Bill, and the people he knows, are batting .1000 on what they think they know, or don't know.

Bill needs to hang out with a smarter crowd. Welcome to the blogabarbara forum, where he can learn something.

Would like to know what Bill, and the people he knows, thought of Citizen McCaw, if they knew the movie existed, and were open-minded enough to go watch it. That is, if they knew to buy tickets in advance.

3/08/2008 7:00 PM  
Blogger sbreader said...

I read Craig Smith everyday and I have been reading the NP since I was able to read, about 50 years ago. This is my first time here. Those here who defend Travis appear as desparate as he is. I was an English major at the University and my wife says I still read too much. Travis is a terrible writer. His Editorials are small minded and poorly written. When they finally gave Brooks Firestone an opportunity to provide a response to Travis in a recent Sunday edition, the thing that was most significant to me was how well written it was and how much better than anything else published locally by the NP in years. I expect Travis to be fired and skulk out of town soon. Wendy and Nipper are not stupid and his writing is truly getting embarrassing. No one else will certainly give him a job here and he will disappear. I read recently that he wrote in San Jose on gay issues. Is that his problem? He feels he has to hide in a closet? No mention locally of family or a girlfriend or even a "significant other." Driving down Anacapa Street the wrong way late at night alone and drunk? I think we should take wagers on his longevity.

3/08/2008 7:24 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Sara, you really disappoint me.

sbreader makes comments that are clearly an out-loud guess regarding sexual orientation, and are meant to be hateful. They are a viscious and inappropriate attack. And one that you would NEVER allow if aimed at Marty Blum, Paula Lopez, David Pritchett, etc.

3/08/2008 10:41 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

sbreader should not make one's sexual orientation a "problem" that's for sure (especially when they are not public about it) -- and I am not so sure this is a vicious attack. I wonder whether sbreader may also be pointing to "hiding" one's orientation as the problem more than the orientation itself. It's hard to tell in this context.

I somewhat see your point Bill but I'm sure it's not any worse than publishing what he did about KEYT employees...Paula Lopez as pole dancer?

I don't care what his sexual orientation is and I doubt many of us here do. You should have seen some of the comments about him that I haven't allowed! I've actually protected him from much worse.

3/09/2008 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This group seems to have its own "community" and I am not sure I am interested in being a part but I do want to respond to Mr. Carson. Out of my entire comment he focusses on one line that I found on the ubiquitous Wikipedia, in my effort to discern the source of Mr. Armstrong's writing dispostion. To characterize his as a "poisin pen" as Barney did recently, is mild in my opinion, it is unprecedented in local journalism. I suggest "no problem" with whatever his sexual orientation may be. Mr. Carson's suggestion is completely off base as applied to me, I strongly supported Hariett Miller throughout her local political career as did legions of other local voters, and her orientation had nothing to do with it. My comment was simply an effort to discern what his "problem" might be that leads him to write in the unpleasant mad dog attack style he does. A lonely single man of any orientation is likely to be bitter. I think Mr. Carson enjoys this semi-annoymous forum where he can make over the top comments, calling mine "hateful" and "a viscious and inappropriate attack" is right in line with the Travis style, and has no credibility. With that I will sign off although I will occasionally check in to be a "sbreader."

3/09/2008 10:04 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Sara, weak excuse for what was clearly a homophobic attack on Travis Armstrong.

I chalk it up as another attempt at character assassination. Travis Armstrong's sexual orientation, be it straight or gay, has nothing to do with his editorial writings, and to make snide comments like "no mention of a significant other", or "gay issues" being his "problem", or "no girlfriend" are reprehensible.

Your half-hearted rationalization only makes it worse. Ask Harriet Miller, Tom Roberts or Roger Durling if these types of comments about anyone are viscious.

And by the way, how do you equate this homophobic attack as "no worse" than Travis Armstrong describing an offensive video that KEYT employees made?

Your hatred for the messenger is causing you to become blind to the message. Scary.

3/09/2008 2:27 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

SB Reader -- remember to use name/url in the comment section. I let this go as you signed off at the end with it.

Bill -- maybe you are right but when is it okay to talk about sexual orientation? Wasn't TKA saying a lot when he described pole dancing and rubber dolls? Or, is that safe because it is straight talk? SBReader's comments were not vindictive...they certainly were presumptuous.

3/09/2008 4:42 PM  
Blogger LW said...

FYI, It has been mentioned several times in newspapers and court documents (the Union mess) that TKA is openly gay. His sexual orientation has nothing to do with his writing for the SBNP. He's a great guy and I thank him for being a true watch dog for the Santa Barbara community.

3/09/2008 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for publishing my response. I still don't know what Name/URL means but I really don't think I will participate here anymore. I know Craig Smith respects you and reads you regularly and that is why I tuned in. Mr. BC seems an unpleasant weirdo and I do not have the energy to keep up on what is supposed to be entertainment. It appears to me that he may have a homophobia chip on his shoulder of some sort. As I expect you know, having grown up here it is impossiuble to be openly homophopic. If that was one of my problems I certainly would not publicize it. I will be a "sbreader" occasionally and I know if you are interested you can track that. I really do believe Travis' tenure is short. I know Wendy and Nipper personally and I expect firing Travis is an easy way to avoid 85% of the grief. Once he is gone and if they hire someone respected and respectable, the audience for the NP Mess reduces dramatically. Not that many people really care about the employees. Once Travis is gone and the targets are no longer respected elected officials and Paula Lopez, the heat diminishes significantly in my opinion. Take care and good luck.

3/09/2008 6:42 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Whether you believe it or not, Travis was commenting about the content of a video tape. That's very different than sbreader's personal attack about Travis being "without a girlfriend", etc.

C'mon. You're making me try too hard to explain something that's very elementary. I'm starting to think that your difficulty in understanding this is an effort to perpetuate the conversation.

Again: Focus on the message, not the messenger. The tape is real. The anti-semetic comments are real. The inappropriate sexual jokes are real. What the hell does this have to do with the reporter's lifestyle?

3/09/2008 9:32 PM  
Anonymous David Pritchett said...

Anyone here is welcome to attack and speculate about my sexual orientation.

3/09/2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Now that Davey's given permission...I'd like to be the first to speculate that he's a capon.

Thanks Dave.

(C'mon Sara, this is no different than sbreader speculating about Travis.)

3/09/2008 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Seinfeld would say, "not that it matters" but Iw's comment about Travis being openly gay is news to me, and I am a voracious reader of everything local and Travis. I don't know that Travis and Wendy would appreciate Iw "outing" Travis. I respect that if he wants to do that, it should be his perogative. Does Iw have references to provide us? Sara, apparently I do not know how to Name/URL. For us morons please explain and make it easy.

3/10/2008 6:44 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Let's try to get out of this line of conversation! With all due respect, Jerry was right "it really doesn't matter"...

As for identities and using the Name/URL feature -- there's a link in the upper left corner of the blog:

I've vowed not to publish comments from anonymous but perhaps this can be an education opportunity :)

3/10/2008 6:57 AM  
Blogger LW said...

San Jose Mercury News (CA)
October 12, 2001
Estimated printed pages: 2

''GREG, will you marry me?''

I'll never be able to ask that question with any legal meaning. No state is near allowing same-sex marriages, despite the assertions of extreme conservatives who've used the notion to polarize and raise money.

But recognition of true family values may be on the way in California. The state Senate and Assembly this summer approved a bill to put bite in domestic partnership registration.

The original law, which took effect in January 2000, is so toothless that few legal reasons to register have existed. Greg and I, together 17 years, haven't bothered. That would change if Gov. Gray Davis finally would sign AB 25. He's been keeping us waiting long enough.

... and the article continues.

Sara, you can decide if this is even worth posting because it really doesn't matter. But I didn't "out" TKA.

3/10/2008 10:57 AM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

lw dropped a stink-bomb regarding someone's sexual orientation. lw knows it, Sara knows it, and everyone reading this blog knows it. Oh, but it doesn't really matter...wink, wink.

Now that you're all doing exactly what you're criticizing Travis of doing, how does it feel to be a hypocrite?

3/11/2008 8:56 AM  

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