Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stick To The Facts Or Grind An Axe?

Haters of health care reform, who heretofore have found a paucity of local venues where they can show up and pitch a fit, town brawl style, seem to have found a haven on the News-Press opinion pages as of late.

The paper's lead editorial on Monday, included excerpts from no less than four letters to the editor who were critical of Congress Member Lois Capps and the Town Hall Meeting on health care she recently held at First United Methodist Church.

Given the fact that a newspaper editorial ostensibly represents the "institutional" voice of the paper, it strikes me as unusual that an editorial would include letters to the editor. Make that letters to the editor where the author is not identified.

But then again, at the News-Press, editorials never really seem to reflect the opinion of anyone other than a single person: The paper's owner Wendy McCaw.

Wendy is not about to pass up an opportunity to lambaste Lois.

Capps' appearance as a speaker at a March 2007 rally calling for the reinstatement of eight reporters Wendy illegally fired, has earned her a lifetime membership on the News-Press enemies list. In fact, a News-Press editorial that ran last week which also criticized Capps, admitted as much.

I guess it never occurred to Wendy, or her editorial writer Travis Armstrong, that any criticism of Capps might carry a little more cred on the street if it stuck to facts and steered clear of the grudges.

But then again, a News-Press editorial has never stood on principle when there was an opportunity to get personal.

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Thanks to the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara who invited me to give a talk on the topic of Old Media vs. New Media this past Saturday. They were an attentive and inquisitive audience. They have posted pictures of the event.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com