Tuesday, August 09, 2005
What a wonderful world we live in. Through the magic of the internet, one can experience that magical feeling of nausea that only the editorial page of the News-Press can deliver anywhere in the world. Editorial chief Travis Armstrong took a break for a while, but recently he's been back with a vengeance, albeit an increasingly desparate one. The most recent antics over there include digging through an (apparently leaked) copy of the Mayor's email account.

This has to be yet another new low. It has been calculated that an average 2k email costs 1/500th of a cent. If she'd borrowed a pencil from the office for a couple of nights, that would have cost the taxpayers more.

We here at Heeyah! can't let this moment of crossing the Rubicon and pulling the bus right into the downtown loonyland parking lot go by without marking it in some way. I've been casually compiling my personal list of the worst, most low down rottenest things the News-Press has done since I've been following this, and in honor of this most unauspicious occasion, it's time to run it.

The top 10 lousiest, low-down things the News-Press has done since 2002

10. Going 0 for 3 in the 2003 SB City Council race and endorsing Arnold "Worst Governor Ever" Schwarzengger. It's fine to be wrong, but to be that wrong and that completely out of touch with your readers ought to be a little embarrasing.

9. Name calling. Who can forget "taxin'" Jackson, and "SB CAN'T". Such wit! No wonder they like Governor Schwarzenegger so much!

8. Attempted annointing and kingmaking, like endorsing Bob Pohl five times, while hardly mentioning the glaring conflict of interest they had with Pedro Nava.

7. Using data that was completely fabricated and counterfactual in one of their five endorsements of Bob Pohl.

6. Generally being completely out of touch with the political community: In the two years I was involved I probably went to 200 meetings, and I saw News-Press staff at exactly one of them. Instead, they prefer to get all their information from one or two leaky pipes, their annointed ones.

5. Afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable. Putting quotes around housing "crisis" in an editorial made me so crazy I couldn't bring myself to respond.

4. Repeated, vicious and baseless attacks on local elected leaders, such as Susan Rose, Hannah-Beth Jackson and Congresswoman Capps, and now Mayor Blum. (funny coincidence that so many of their targets are women, isn't it?)

3. Engaging in letter jockeying: not publishing letters & reactions, holding op-eds and then running them when they would most embarass the author, and refusing to print rebuttals.

2. Dumpster diving Mayor Blum's email account, finding nothing and running with it anyway.

1. Aligning with the nastily racist and anti-democratic Coalition for Sustainable Planning.

I had high hopes of affecting some kind of positive change in the leadership at that paper. I know Ms. McCaw and the vast majority of the people who work at the News-Press are good people, there's just something not quite right over there. They probably need an exorcism more than a firing or three, but they should go for the firings anyway since it's hard to find a good exorcism priest.

In the meantime, it is time for me to move on. This will be my last post in this space, at least for a while. I hope something good happens with the News-Press soon, and there are new channels that might yet make that happen. Santa Barbara is a beautiful place and full of a lot of really good people, but that editorial page is like an anchor bumping along the bottom and catching every once in a while: it can't quite hold things in place, but it can sure slow things down. Hopefully someone's going to have the good sense to heave it in soon.

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