Thursday, February 15, 2007

Saga at the Santa Barbara News-Press Just Keeps Getting Sadder

Not To Mention More Desperate and Pathetic as Editorial Page Editor Impales Himself On His Own Words

So, first we have a self-important millionairess publisher who sticks her nose in the news product to protect her friends and punish her own pet peeves. Top editors are given the boot along with some veteran reporters. Others follow them out the door. Massive community protests ensue along with a federal labor investigation.
End result: The Santa Barbara News-Press is a husk of its former self.
And in a continuing drive to show its ends justifies its means, editorial-page editor and acting publisher Travis Armstrong flailed away at former colleagues in a column Tuesday for taking a principled stand. The nerve.

In betraying the principles of their past craft, they appear to want to shut down the paper's free speech, as well as hurt the livelihoods of 200 News-Press workers and their families.

OK, let's put aside the fact that the ex-staffers have been exercising their free speech in protesting McCaw -- and Armstrong's wanton ways. Funny, don't recall Armstrong cozying up to the First Amendment when the News-Press, under the old regime, posted a short item about his DUI arrest. When he was sentenced, McCaw ordered the story on the court proceeding killed. So much for the First Amendment.
But Armstrong has in the past made no apologies for injecting himself into the newsgathering process, despite that generally being a no-no for those in the executive suite.
Now back to the screed:

Growing up in a Teamsters family, I remember as a young boy listening to men talk over the kitchen table or on the phone about spreading nails or damaging trucks. It was scary stuff.
Those who have brought such an outfit to our peaceful community deserve scorn.
... Where are groups such as the ACLU in battling this governmental interference in free expression?

Oy, vey. Cue the Stradivarius.

Many of the dozens of staffers who've quit or been fired gave the best years of their journalistic lives to the News-Press. None should be actively seeking to kill the paper. After all, Armstrong and McCaw are already doing a bang-up job of that on their own, as Susan Paterno exhaustively chronicled in the American Journalism Review. That article spurred a libel suit by McCaw that Paterno is aggressively defending.
The truth hurts, and as his column shows, Armstrong is in a lot of pain.

No comments: