Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Surprise! Americans Don't Trust the News Media

A reader turned me on to a post about a recent poll that points to the failure of mainstream media to elicit trust in the public. According to a recent Harris Poll, 54 percent of Americans do not trust the news media. 41 percent now trust Internet sources more than mainstream media. Surprisingly, 44 percent trust radio sources more.

Other recent polls point to respondents saying that traditional journalism is out of touch with what we want, lacks empathy and do not accurately report on the war.

Surprisingly, the post mentioned people's concern about bias but did not specifically blame reporters that are union members in their report. As we all know, the public will trust our local newspapers more if union reporters are terminated for bias in favor of editors who masquerade opinion as hard news and investigative journalism.


Anonymous Egregious bias in print media said...

The print media being egregiously in favor of Obama and wretched towards Clinton when writing headlines and choosing descriptive words for each is reason number one.

Absolutely blatent bias and ultimately angered the nation. Stupid, but they dug their own grave on this one. But hey, according to the old NP gang there is no such thing as bias in the media.

You decide.

3/15/2008 7:28 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Before even that was the blackout of Edwards after New Hampshire...the news media cannot be proud of how they have covered this election.

3/15/2008 8:31 AM  
Blogger soodonim said...

Sara-- perhaps it was just a "freudian slip" on your part, but I hope you meant to say "elicit trust" in your post.........

3/15/2008 10:35 AM  
Anonymous spitfire squid said...

Bias in the media is something ethical journalists want to avoid.

Which might explain why so many -- even the new hires fresh out of college -- have left the News-Press under Wendy McCaw.

3/15/2008 2:33 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Ha! Perhaps so soodonim -- good catch. Wish I had an editor :)

3/15/2008 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Bias tapeworm said...

Bias in the media is why Wendy got rid of so many previous writers and most importantly editorial staff.

Angel Pacheco is doing a great job covering local issues, and not going to the unrepresentative cheap sound bite like Josh Molina would always sell out for.

I don't think Josh wanted to cover with such slanted versions of events but I had the feeling his editor told him to do it this way.

Good riddance to them all.

3/15/2008 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Bob Guiliano said...

I wrote a column about this subject in December 2004. Same thing. Public mistrust of the media. Gives some insight on the reasons why. Here is a link:

P.S. At the time I was upset with my editors and publisher for their refusing to allow me or other reporters to pursue investigations into human trafficking and sex slavery in North San Diego County. I pointed out a 3-part-series expose written by reporters from El Universal, a Mexico City newspaper, and asked why we were scooped on our own turf by a foreign newspaper. Response was my editors were "waiting for arrests" so those can be reported. Can't have reporters digging around and doing enterprise reporting. Might upset business leaders, real estate agents, local politicians and the corporate bottom line.

What America needs are newspaper publishers with the guts to allow reporters to pursue the truth, get it straight and print it!

Corporate owners and private ones lacking true journalistic initiative and skills are useless to their readers. Alas, in 30 years, I worked for only one truly gutsy publisher, in the quaint town of Clifton, Ariz., in the late '70s, early '80s. A vanishing breed.

3/15/2008 8:33 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

bias tapeworm -- kind of a left handed compliment at Josh who was and is a true professional. I'm not sure many of us would want to work in that environment...

3/15/2008 8:49 PM  
Anonymous For the 59th time said...

For the 59th time, cite and quote some "bias" by the veteran News-Press reporters who left or were terminated illegally.

Not even three, just identify and explain, with clear examples, only two examples of this bias.

3/15/2008 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Garry Owen said...

Some of Wendy's suppporter have suggested pooling of dissident funds to buy the paper ourselves. At first blush it seems a disnegenious remark, given many who disagree with the NP's Animal News and Lies format (A.N.A.L) couldn't compete with WM when it comes to cash reserves. Then it occured to me all we need is patience because she and Travis will drive it into the bargain basement soon enough. The Middle School reporters can then buy it with their lunch money...and do a better job by all accounts.

The toughest chore will be rebuilding local trust: nowhere is the lack of trust in media more glaring than here in Santa Barbara. The vocal minority of Wendy and Travis supporters will fade away slowly as they begin to realize their trust has been misplaced; that Wendy doesn't care anymore about them than she does about anybody else. They are simply pawns on her chessboard; when she loses the game she'll knock the board to the floor and send them flying without a second thought. Even her own family is estranged from her; a sister attended the screening and may appear in a new segment of the documentary (per Craig Smith's blog).

Trust. Has to be earned, not bought or coerced. Once a newspaper loses the trust of the community it serves, it's impossible to regain without a sincere, determined effort. To date, there's been nothing sincere about Wendy except her determination to be rid of honest professionals.

3/16/2008 1:13 AM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...


I would like to find a newspaper in town with qualified reporters who is willing to investigate the so-called 'Veterans for Peace' and the fraud that is "Arlington West".

We all know that 'Arlington West' is a war protest that is partially financed by the Mayor and City Council who with their 'no fee' policy for these users of the beach' along with in-kind services of city staff publically subsidize this outrageous continuing slap in the face at our own soldiers who are presently serving in the war in both in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our soldiers hate it. Take it from me.

The two things some enterprising investigative journalist might consider is to find out who really is "Veterans for Peace?" Their national organization (and the local one) do not require you be a veteran to join.

Second. Veterans for Peace receives donations every Sunday at the beach from visitors who are solicited through the emotional content of their fraudulent display to contribute money with promise that these funds will go to help soldiers. Could we obtain an investigative audit of what "Veterans for Peace" has done with the money? I personally witnessed a Board Meeting where funds were approved by the Board for opening an anti-war office in Los Angeles while the request of a mother of a wounded soldier for assistance was tabled.

My sense of their true priorities was clear and unambiguous as I left that meeting. Are they a organized as 501 (C) (3) organization?

When they spend money to print flyers and distribute same by placing them in car windshields in front of recruiting stations, and at campus demonstrations which accuse soldiers of rape and pillage, are they helping the war effort and soldiers?

I obvious don't approve that my tax dollars are helping to support a fraudulent enterprise.

We ask all our non-profits what do they do with the money! Why not "Arlington West?" This partnership between the City and "Veterans for Peace" requires public accountability. What reporter will follow the money trail and write about it?

I remember when the National Vietnam Wall exhibit came into town and the real Vets would have nothing to do with 'Veterans for Peace'. Were they trying to tell us something?

Why should my tax dollars (or yours) support something that goes against the feelings and outrages our young men and women in the war...

What journalists will look into these questions?

3/16/2008 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Bias tapeworm said...

Wendy's sister only succeeded in demonstrating why Wendy made the right decision to not having anything more to do with her.

Bias is assuming it is Wendy's fault there was a rupture in their relationship. Bias in reporting is presenting it only as Wendy's fault.

Bias in editing is justifying this conclusion with no further insight or investigation. Bias is assigning blame to support your own predjudice.

I wouldn't want to have anything to do with Wendy's sister either. But you do because she trashes Wendy and that is all you are looking for. That my friend is bias in reporting.

And the Democratic primary reporting stinks of it for Obama.

3/16/2008 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Crested Butte Carl said...

It's been true for a while that there is a perception of bias in the media, and it stems from a lot of things. To some degree, the people answering the surveys don't always distinguish the editorial pages, where media management expresses their bias as they are supposed to, from the news coverage. But of course, most people perceive bias bleeding from the editorial pages to the news reporting, and sometimes they are right. They also perceive bias against their own positions, whether it is truly there or not.

From what I've seen in the SBNP in the last two years, its "burn my enemies help my friends" policy is apparent. Prominent examples would include the smear of Jerry Roberts last April, a virtual press release published for City Council candidate Hotchkiss when he announced his candidacy, and who the paper later endorsed (an endorsement telegraphed by that initial coverage), the SBNP's coverage of its own NLRB-related controversies (e.g., overplaying its own charges against the union, neglecting to mention later that they have all been dismissed, publishing allegations made on the witness stand by liar Armstrong but not bothering to get the union's position), skewed coverage of City government, and fawning (occasional) coverage of its beloved attorney/spokesperson, Barry Cappello.

The SBNP's claim to want to eliminate bias is betrayed by its owner, who can say what she wants, but her actions show she wants to control news coverage, at least in those "burn my enemies help my friends" areas she cares about. As for dealing with that, McCaw wants to appear ethical, so she pays lip service to letting the professionals do their jobs. And she can't deny that it is not just the reporters who are responsible for getting bias out, it's everyone in the writing chain, including copy editors and editors. So, for example, when Scott Steepleton fired Melinda Burns for writing an allegedly biased article, he should have fired himself, too, because -- as he admitted on the witness stand -- he edited the article and found nothing wrong with it. What that proves is that the allegation of bias was just a pretext for the true (and illegal) anti-union reason for which she really was fired. The point is, or should be (for the purposes of this posting), that all involved in the process are concerned, and should be concerned about bias, everyone in the world possesses some degree of personal bias, and eliminating or minimizing it should be and always has been a collaborative task, not one for which people should get punished, or should worry about being punished. More than one set of eyes and ears must be put to the task of keeping coverage even-handed, and no one at the News-Press should write or edit in fear of offending Wendy's own bias. And by the way, reporters usually don't write their own headlines, so any detection of bias in that area is not the reporter's responsibility.

Bias tapeworm, Wendy only claimed to have fired two reporters for alleged bias, and she or Steepleton were lying about those two discharges, as the NLRB's ALJ determined. Others were fired unlawfully for engaging in protected activity, and most quit because of the oppressive atmosphere and/or paranoia that she and her management created and cultivated in the newsroom. McCaw can try to claim that it was a deliberate orchestrated house cleaning, but she will also complain of how difficult it is to hire new good people, while all the while declining to accept responsibility for that problem. Things can get better there, if the eight discriminatees are welcomed back and truly allowed to do their jobs without fear or favor from friend or foe.

3/16/2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous augusto den said...

Well, there have been a few reporters who have fabricated their stories. That didn't help.

You know, it is amazing how Bush's actions as an air reserve guy got largely buried (but were still available). Not to mention his drug usage. Didn't help my trust of the `large' media process.

But I still know about it from mainstream media sources.

There are still terrific dogged reporters out there. I particularly was impressed a few years ago with the LA Times going after the California State Prisons. Didn't lead anywhere in the end; the system clammed up and exonerated the perps.

I think as we have availability of all media over the internet (I can read way more newspapers now!) the question becomes... how do you decide what is important enough to read? And that has always been a matter of randomness (some stories get `hot') and prurient human nature. The junk like Britney gets blared out because the average man or woman likes it.

Meanwhile, all the warnings about terrorism on US soil during the Summer of 2001 got buried in back pages.

3/16/2008 11:41 AM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

Don Jose: If you check out the Veterans for Peace website you will find they are a 501c3 organization founded in 1985. According to the website, "the organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts." It is also "an official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) represented at the UN."

Non-veteran friends, family members, and general supporters are eligible to join as Associate Members.

They are primarily an educational organization which advocates peace. They are not for the most part involved in assisting individual veterans or their families.

I have visited Arlington West many times. I have found nothing fraudulent or disrespectful there, nor do I see any fundraising which claims to be for veterans' assistance. You may have seen something I missed.

I am proud to live in a city which honors its fallen soldiers in this way. I don't believe it costs the city anything to allow this memorial to be erected on a weekly basis. In any case it is surely constitutionally protected free speech.

3/16/2008 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

Wendy gets to have any bias she wants. No one is claiming the NewsPress is not biased. It is. it is far more supportive of conservative issues, animal rights issues, stick it to the incumbent issues, anti-Alpha women issues. We know this because this is the world Wendy portrays.

The issue never was bias or not; it was which bias. And it is Wendy's paper and each customer can choose what paper he/she wants to read. And in Santa Barbara it is good we now have choices.

The Indepenent is predictibly bleeding heart, progressive liberal.

The Daily Sound is often more property rights conservative.

And Wendy's Newspress is its own curious and personal combination of both liberal and conservative and provocative.

So please do not trot out your version of "journalism" or "ethics" or "public trust" or intrusive quotes to support your own bias.

It is Wendy's paper and we choose to read it because Wendy's viewpoint is not all that alien to a lot of people in this town, and very often refreshing.

3/16/2008 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow job, good to see that you are being candid, in a way. But Wendy is not. We're not talking about editorial stances, but news reporting. On that, Wendy claims and insists that what she's doing is for the objective of eliminating bias. If she were to admit that the news reporting she wants is biased reporting (as you seem to have done), now that she's done what she's done to harm her newsroom, then that would make her (and her lawyers) a major liar and hypocrite. In July, 2006, she said she was hiring professionals and was going to let them do their jobs and not interfere. She hasn't done that, either. But she would say that she's intervened and acted to eliminate bias; if she accepted what you do, that she wants to have a newsroom that reflects her bias, it would no longer be journalism, but it would be, at best, Pennysaver with a vengeance.

3/17/2008 6:57 AM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

Pixley, Wendy betrayed you in your own expectations and how you interpreted and relied on her words. Get over this.

You got into a bad relationship from your perspective and it failed you. But it did not fail a lot of continuing Newspress readers. Please find a new way to look at this failed relationship beyond betrayal, revenge and obsession.

Wendy is not your mommy. You found you personally could not trust what you think she said. She found she could not trust you. The honeymoon of your relationship is over. The relationships is over. Please start reading books about how to end a relationship.

Transitions work only in the following order: mourning; chaos; new beginnings. You are stuck in the early stages of mourning your loss. Anger, resentment and revenge are very much part of the mourning process. But a stage that you need to move past. Please get some counseling. Grief counseling is appropriate for you at this time.

Yes, your life will be chaotic while you let go and move into new things. Hating Wendy only keeps you stuck because of fears of letting go of this solid familiarity and comfort and desire to group together and re-open wounds over and over and over again.

C'mon. You got dumped by a "gal" just like any other relationship that may start with promise but ends up going south. This one you have with Wendy is nothing more: lost hope and promise. Fairy tale stuff. Cinderella stuff.

Wendy betrayed your expectations jut like a lot of wronged women get betrayed and wronged men get betrayed.

Why did you get so invested in your relationship with Wendy that you are still not able to let go of it now years later. And your mission and purpose in life now is only to get revenge for this loss.

Facing the brink of chaos and new directions in your life is really what you need to be obsessing about; not getting back at Wendy. You are stuck.

But it is time to move on and let go. I hear this thought hurts you a lot. But it is time to start framing your life around something else besides hating Wendy and licking the wounds of your sense of betrayal, over and over and over again.

I am sorry you got hurt. Have a really good cry over all of this and emerge sadder and wiser. And healthier and freer.

The purpose of all betrayal is to set you free.

3/17/2008 7:37 AM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow job, if I wanted an amateur shrink, I'd hire one, go on the 'net to find one, or write to Dr. Laura. You are clueless as to who I am or what drives me, and I'm not about to waste my time educating you. I remain gratified that you, unlike Wendy, are willing to admit she's a liar, someone far too willing to deceive everyone she encounters.

There are at least two major aspects of this series of events that take this situation out of your mistaken paradigm of a failed personal relationship. First, whether you want to believe it or not, a newspaper like the SBNP is a public trust, and the community and the paper's employees are stakeholders who have a right to exercise their pressure points and legal rights to try to improve the paper, and make it what it should be: an ethical force for good, honest journalism in the community, and a decent employer.

Second, this is a struggle for justice, which has not yet been achieved. McCaw has not only lied to the community, as you admit; she has tried to bulldoze it, intimidate it, and has committed multiple wrongs against her employees, who are in the midst of pursuing recourse through the NLRB and in other venues. So are others she has sued or otherwise abused. To walk away from that pursuit would mean an unjust undeserved victory for McCaw and her lawyers, and no recompense for the many people and institutions she has wronged. That ain't gonna happen, regardless of whether I stop flailing away at this keyboard.

So, this is not about my personal feelings, which don't enter into this at all. It's about a fight for macro and micro justice, and it's far from over. But it does help to see that even her supporters accept the fact that she and the crew doing her bidding are dissemblers and worse. That should be meaningful to you in your assessment of how to move forward, and it's a pity that in your view, it's not.

3/17/2008 6:35 PM  
Anonymous augusto den said...

Don Jose - it takes about 1 minute to find the Veterans for Peace Bylaws.

Full members must be veterans, associate members can be anyone.

They are a 501(c)(3). I bet it ain't hard to find their tax forms on line.

Even more info.

There have always been vets who end up opposing war, from Ambrose Bierce to Smedley Butler to Ron Kovic, and surely many others I neglect.

Seems to me some of our cousins loved Mexico *and* the U.S., and tried at all costs to avoid the war for California. Some got pissed off at Fremont, but others just adapted...

3/17/2008 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

1. The NesPress is not a public trust. As long as you insist it is, the longer it will take you to move on.

2. There was no injustice; only betrayal according to your value system.

3. You don't own the Newspress and you do not get to create the ground rules.

4. Please get over yourself. And stop repeating ad nauseum your failed arguments here. Please. It is irritating to many of us here. Yet, it continues to beg a response in the hopes that something will help you move on.

5. Please stop your circular arguments. Thank you.

3/17/2008 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Bias tapeworm said...

The Independent is a public trust and it fails me every time I pick it up. It needs to cease and desiste publication because it violates the public trust.

3/17/2008 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Augusto, Wineguy...Thanks for writing.

So we agree that "Anyone" can be a Veterans for Peace, not just Vets.

And the National By-Laws report that they can throw anyone out who doesn't agree with the "Party Line" as defined by the Board...

For your information, my household carried on an embittered discussion with the National Director...He threatened an active duty soldier for speaking out against the actions of the so-called "Veterans for Peace."

He called up his commanding officer and threatened trouble for him if the commanding officer didn't "shut up" the complaining active duty soldier. (The soldier was complaining about the obscene effort of "Veterans for Peace" to hinder the recruiters and slow down the war effort.) So much for helping soldiers and inviting the active duty soldiers to speak out.

You won't find a report on the finances of the local Santa Barbara Board. But if you find it, I'd love to know what they spend their donations on that "help the soldiers" experience at a Board meeting was completely negative.

Augusto Den:

The Mexican War is not a honorable chapter in American history. President Tyler, and especially President Polk was really something! Ahh. Those Democrats.

President John Quincy Adams had the most honorable position.

But must you must remember how we revolted against that corrupt Mexican Republic (after all your an Gringo) and formed the California Republic. Those were the days! Fremont was practically chased out of town...then came the Americans with the grid system, and all those big buildings on Chapala--NOT TO MENTION the poor Plaza.

My son Pablo, helped write the California Constitution up in Monterey. He put in the part about a bilingual California. What happened?

3/18/2008 6:10 AM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow dork,

Wendy's own "expert" admitted under oath that the News-Press was a public trust.

What value system do you have? Every person for themselves and screw everyone else?

The owners of capital have rules they, too, must play by, even as they are in denial about that, and the Wendylike ones use their money to bulldoze the rules and the enforcement agencies. The rules must apply to everyone, Snow Job, because society enables the accumulation of capital and the creation of the corporate fiction. So get over your Adam Smithian fantasy.

3/18/2008 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

Okay Pixley, show me the rules when a newpaper is declared to be a public trust and not a private enterprise.

Where in the NewsPress purchase agreement are these rules found.

Why can't you see Wendy's side that she did not trust her staff? Everything you claims shows it was a hostile, resentful bunch she was required to work with. To the point they wanted to sabotage this public trust. Why does public trust only go one way and not from the employees to the owner.

But let's get back to the written rules of this newspaper being a public trust.

Where is the contract Wendy signed setting out this designation of her private property and relinquishing her private property rights to her employees (besides Labor Code statutes)?

3/18/2008 9:08 PM  
Anonymous I read it in the paper said...

Snow job said: "Where is the contract Wendy signed setting out this designation of her private property and relinquishing her private property rights to her employees (besides Labor Code statutes)?"

How about Wendy's own words in the newspaper:

"... 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

"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

3/19/2008 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Bob Guiliano said...

To everyone: Here is the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Make up your own minds as to whether the SB News-Press is fulfilling its obligations to the public.

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.

Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:
— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarize.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

Minimize Harm
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:
— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
— Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
— Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
— Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
— Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
— Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
— Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
— Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

Journalists should:
—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
— Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
— Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:
— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
— Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
— Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
— Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
— Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

3/19/2008 6:20 AM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow job,

The problem is, there are two sides to this. Wendy has her owners' rights, but workers have rights, yes under what you inaccurately call "Labor Code statutes", and federal labor law. Federal labor law says that employees who vote in a union, as Wendy's newsroom did, get to sit down with her management and iron out a collective bargaining agreement, to change the nature of the workplace. That is the law. Wendy thinks its unconstitutional, but the US Supreme Court shot that argument down over 7 decades ago.

Wendy's expert on the witness stand before the NLRB said that the newspaper was a "public trust". The dude was speaking for Wendy! She may or may not believe it, though she has herself said under oath that she restrains her ownership prerogatives for the sake of ethical journalism. The fact that she's lying is beside the point.

Yes, Snow Job, Wendy is free to ruin and trash her paper, but she claims that she's doing just the opposite. I don't doubt that Wendy didn't trust her staff, but what does it say about an owner when so many of the staff flee in such a short time? And she can't hire a managing editor? And her employees vote to unionize and the NLRB is all over her management, which have been found to be liars twice so far.

The point is that the public trust, and the collective bargaining relationship, does go at least two ways, but it is Wendy, not the employees or the union or the community, who has refused to budge and has taken the cudgel to all in her path.

3/19/2008 7:01 AM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

Pixly, you claim a newspaper is a public trust because it has to follow the fed Labor Code. With that defintion, everything is a "public trust". So I don't get your point.

You seem to be saying because a newspaper is a public trust, the owner relinquishes control to the employees who are the only ones allowed to determine the content of the paper she owns. Is this what you are saying? What code of conduct does an owner of a public trust follow.

I want to see that spelled out in black and white where the employees get to have their way no matter what the owner says.

If the employees had not been so self-rightous maybe this never would have happened.

And please, until there is a final decision, stop saying Wendy is not following the Labor Code. She will when she has to, or close the paper down if she wants.

I wouldn't blame her one bit rather than be forced to work with people who sabotaged, betrayed and hated her and enjoyed holding her up to public ridicule.

I just don't see at this point how any owner could be forced to work with people like that. That would be terrible.

And also stop lying about saying Roberts downloaded kiddie porn. That is not what the article said at all. It claimed he was a prior owner of a computer that was found to contain kiddie porn. The article was written very carefully, yet your reporting of it is not. Again, your bias is blatent and offensive.

Please publish the entire article and stop rendering your biased version of it. This undermines your credibility and ability to argue anything here.

I feel too it is important to fight corruption and you are corrupting many aspects of this story. Ca you begin to see why you got fired?

3/19/2008 8:30 PM  
Anonymous augusto den said...

Sorry you had a bad experience, Don Jose. I have no direct experience except I do respect them for getting the crosses out each Sunday. For sure it is a political statement, but it reminds everyone of the sacrifice, which transcends their short term political goal.

I was so disappointed by Bush's speech on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War.

I'm 1/2 gringo my friend, and Dad was after all Irish, Catholic, and not a Yankee.

3/19/2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow job, it is you who are slow on the uptake. I was never an employee of the SBNP, so could not have been fired.

The paper is a "public trust" because of its nature as a watchdog, a purported truthteller, a pervasive institution in the community, a large employer with many stakeholders. Not because of labor law. Yes, once it is a public trust, not legally, but morally and ethically, the owner does have certain added responsibility, which Wendy purports to take on. It's a bit like any big business in a community: it may be able to get away with a certain amount of pollution legally, but if it pollutes, it is still committing harm to those it affects.

One of Wendy's problems is that she thinks everything negative is directed at her, and that "loyalty" means she is immune from criticism and challenge. She is perpetually the victim regardless of her huge material advantages. Some of what she testified about that she considered "disloyal" was activity protected from her retaliation by law.

The kiddie porn story was a classic trashing of one's enemies, as any objective observer would have realized. It may well have been carefully written to maximally harm Roberts while avoiding a libel suit, but it was unethical journalism. Does it matter to you that no one attempted to get a comment from Roberts on the story?

When an employer fires someone illegally, that employee is ordinarily entitled to reinstatement. That employee also doesn't lose his/her rights to speak out about the harms inflicted and his/her hopes for the future, and about criticisms about management. Even American labor law does not contemplate Stepford employees, as you and Wendy do. Especially in the newsroom -- do you really want or expect reporters, who by the nature of what they do are skeptical, critical, persistent and literate -- to just accept at face value all of management's b.s.?

3/20/2008 8:59 AM  
Anonymous eggs_ackley said...

re: bias tapeworm's comment about the Independent:

Why are the employees not on the overpass protesting the tobacco inserts in "their" paper. Maybe even a "sick out" on Wednesday before publishing deadline. But that wouldn't be convenient would it? I'd love to see an excoriation of management on this subject by the leg-humping poodle, but won't hold my breath.

The Independent's management and employees' tacit support of this proven killer is a clear demonstration of their principles (I won't even go into the murder scene photo thing). Maybe they need to unionize to prevent this outrage from continuing.

3/20/2008 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

It has bothered me for a long time when the old NewsPress failed to present all sides of an issue and only used the most imflammatory sound bite it could find to support its liberal agenda. Where were your journalistic ethics then? MIA.

By your definition Wendy has accepted her role as a public trust and got rid of all those biased writers and now I am finally seeing it was Jerry Robert's tabloid editing that was behind a lot of this messing with the public trust.

So yes, it has bothered me for a long time how unbalanced the news reporting had been under the Robert's reign.

So no, I am not offended Roberts was not asked for his comments on this factually correct kiddie porn found on computer used by Roberts news story. Only the wackos inaccurate howl of protest reading well beyond the words of the article demanded his rebuttal.

But the NewsPress never wrote what the wackos claimed was written, ergo no need for Robests to comment with his version of the facts because there were no unfactual statements made.

Wendy has been smeared and accused of being nothing other than the spawn of Satan. Yet I never see any balancing quotes to show the other side of that story either.

But now that you mention it, yes that does bother me. Thus I defend the injustice you all continue to heap upon Wendy.

I have no dog in this fight other than hating to see all the anti-Wendy bias from those who claim they are guardians of the public trust. Yech. Hypocracy does bring out the best/worst in me.

3/20/2008 11:19 PM  
Anonymous Pixley Patty said...

Snow job, you confuse journalism with advocacy. Journalists, like Scott Steepleton, who wrote the cowardly hit piece on Roberts last April, had a journalist's duty to try to obtain his comment, not because what was written was or was not false, but because Roberts was obviously a major subject -- most who are not slopping at the Wendy trough would say "target" -- of the article. That is a basic tenet of Journalism 101. That, of course, was not the only time Steepleton has neglected that basic duty; he did it in his "coverage" of the NLRB trial in January, 2007. One of the reasons journalists are supposed to cover both sides is because the news is supposed to be objective, or at least fair, because what is written in the newspaper purports to be reporting, not opinion from one side of the issue or the other. I can promise you that if the story had not been Steepleton's, and had not been targeting an enemy of the SBNP, those responsible for a piece like that would have been in some kind of hot water at the SBNP. Imagine substituting the name "Travis Armstrong" wherever Roberts' name appears and see if you are not then offended by the journalistic flaws in that article.

As for accusations against Wendy, I challenge you to cite some that were really made that were not true. Is she not a dictator, a tyrant, a bully? I don't know who other than Wendy's paid liars have used the phrase "spawn of satan", but in any event, that name-calling is not meant to be journalism, and no one asserts otherwise, or expects objectivity from the adversaries. And, needless to say, Wendy has abused her own privileges as owner of the newspaper to rant, and have others rant on her behalf, with full-page crapola against the union and her employees, and with threats, lies and bludgeoning through her lawyers. So (yawn), as usual, the Wendy suckups/hired hands fall back on "Woe is Wendy", but it just. Doesn't. Fly.

3/21/2008 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

You are a lousy writer, Max. You plow no new ground but can spin word after word repeating things and sounding meaningless.

Roberts was not the main subject of the article. Kiddie porn found on the computer was the topic. You read as poorly as you write.

You are stuck on a single issue and refuse to acknowledge the exact same alleged failings in the old NewsPress - lack of balance, insufficient quotes, predictible bias and irreponsible unaccountability.

This is what you accuse the new NewsPress of commiting and this is exactly how many readers saw the old NewsPress.

Please get out of your black and white world and live in the world of grays. It is Wendy's paper are you are tilting at windmills.

3/21/2008 7:47 AM  
Blogger spitfire squid said...

How does that saying go?

"Never get in a pissing match with a skunk."

3/21/2008 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Hackensack said...

Snow job -- or do you prefer Doogie? -- who's "Max"? Talk about yer basic reading comp!

I suggest you find and read Wendy's testimony if you want to check out "lack of balance". It is Wendy who prefers "insufficient quotes" -- at least when too many quotes would make her enemies, like Marty Blum, look good.

You like to trot out words, but don't connect them to anything but a string of floating accusations.

And fix your grammar and spelling while you're at it.

3/21/2008 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

I channel higher powers. The words flow from my fingers in automatic writing. Typos, grammer, spelling and sentance structure are beyond my personal control. Flow with it. Be one with it. It is bigger than both of us.

3/22/2008 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Hackensack said...

Snow job, you should check the directional source of your "powers". They seem to flow from a downward direction. In Dante's vision, SJ, you are deep.

3/22/2008 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Snow Job said...

The underworld is the source of profound energy in all except Christian societies. Dante along with the Nicean Creed was wrong.

3/23/2008 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Hackensack said...

Snow j, now we're getting somewhere. If you and Wendy are admittedly inspired by the underworld, why are she and her lawyers so offended when they make up (false) claims that she has been referred to by others as an agent or child of the underworld? Is she just keeping up appearances?

3/24/2008 9:28 PM  

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