Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bottled Up Bias at the News-Press?

Many of you may have heard or read something in the news lately about the controversy over bottled water.

Not that water is controversial but the plastic bottles that it comes in often don't get recycled and end up in landfills presumably to be swept up in the rising tide that will inevitably be created by the melting of the polar ice cap and end up deposited in the vicinity of the blue line that is about to be painted around town.

Some communities have gone so far as to propose banning plastic bottles much the same way that plastic grocery bags have been banned in some locales.

Haven't heard any of that kind of talk around here but yesterday the News-Press ran an editorial extolling the virtues of bottled water and ridiculing proposals to ban water in bottles.

That's certainly fair game for debate and reasonable minds can come to differing conclusions. But what was conspicuously absent from the editorial was any mention that the News-Press has a horse in this race.

News-Press co-publisher and consort to Queen Wendy, Arthur von Wiesenberger is a self-annointed and well hydrated expert in bottled water. In fact, if you Google von Wiesenberger's name his own "Bottled Water Web" site is the first thing that comes up.

Given McCaw's constant obsession about banishing the bias from the reporting in her paper this editorial is another amusing example of the double standard that exists at the south end of De la Guerra Plaza.

If I want objective information so I can make an informed decision as to whether bottled water is a good or a bad thing, I think I'll look someplace other than the News-Press. As the late Abe Rosenthal, a former editor of The New York Times, once said; "I don't care if a reporter sleeps with elephants, as long as he doesn't cover the circus."

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Also in the News-Press yesterday was an article that reported that the parents of a small child who drowned at Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club nearly two years ago have filed a lawsuit against the club.

Their attorney is Barry Cappello who also represents the News-Press. That much is acknowledged in the story that carried no by-line. Cappello is quoted a number of times pointing out the defendants' lack of care and why his clients have a good case. The article has no quotes from the defendants or their representatives nor is there any evidence of an attempt to speak with them to get their side of the story.

The Daily Sound had a story on the filing of the suit last Thursday. They too spoke to Cappello but also contacted the attorney for Cathedral Oaks as well as Julie Main, the club's manager.

Apparently being Wendy McCaw's lawyer not only pays well but it assures that your opponents get frozen out of the news articles.

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Last week I asked for pictures of my blog running on the screen of an iPhone. Tomorrow I will announce the winner of the contest. I guarantee that you will be very surprised when you see the winning photo.

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