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— Similarly, a news article about the candidates' approach to any Chargers' handout omitted the fact that last year, Sanders was listed among 14 "Chargers Champions Leadership Team" members promoting the footballers' interests. That can be found on the Internet and in print. Since former mayor Dick Murphy deceived the public on his pro-sports-subsidy intentions, Sanders's coziness with the Chargers is critical information.

Many people (including me) believe that if the Union-Tribune were a watchdog instead of a cheerleader, the city wouldn't be in such miserable shape. "There is an internal debate within the paper," says city attorney Mike Aguirre. "Some want to be aligned with reform, but there is a contingent that wants to continue painting special-interest programs as public-interest programs."

If the forces of journalistic reform prevail, will circulation improve? Unfortunately, that's a knotty question that has been debated for years. Says Fuson, who disagrees with my characterization of the paper, "If we had known and had reported five years ago what we know and are reporting today, I doubt if it would have had a meaningful impact on our circulation.

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