Douglas Manchester and Kevin Faulconer
  • Douglas Manchester and Kevin Faulconer
  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Are San Diego’s big media owners working together to build a virtually impregnable political machine?

It’s a question being asked more and more frequently among longtime city hall observers in the wake of political plays by a trio of the city's major newspaper and broadcasting magnates.

Two of the moguls have just cut large checks to Republican causes, which in turn are spreading their substantial wealth to two city-council candidates and incumbent district attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

U-T San Diego owner and real estate developer Douglas Manchester, long a major player in back-room money deals, gave yet another $20,000 to local Republicans on May 15, according to a filing with the state secretary of state's office.

Michael McKinnon and his wife

The same day, Michael McKinnon, owner of KUSI TV, gave $5000 each to the Neighborhood Coalition Supporting Chris Cate for Council 2014 and Neighbors United for a Better City Government Supporting Lorie Zapf for Council 2014.

Both of those efforts are operated and bankrolled by the GOP Lincoln Club, responsible for the barrage of hit pieces that helped destroy the mayoral hopes of Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher and Democrat David Alvarez.

Complained Paul Jacobs, who at the time was CEO of Qualcomm, for which Fletcher works, "Is the Lincoln Club so desperate and out of constructive ideas that they are resorting to attacks on private employers, forsaking their supposed principles and lying to serve a political agenda?”

Elisabeth Kimmel

Besides Manchester and McKinnon, Elisabeth Kimmel, the mega-millionaire owner of the KFMB TV and radio stations, and a monetary backer of Koch brothers causes through her family foundation, has been accused of banning GOP congressional hopeful Kirk Jorgensen, a rival of fellow Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio, from her stations’ broadcasts.

Kimmel helped bankroll DeMaio’s failed mayoral campaign. Like Kimmel, Manchester uses the editorial services of Roger Hedgecock and is a close friend and longtime financial supporter of DeMaio. U-T San Diego has also been aligned with Koch causes.

Last year, U-T San Diego hired Steven Greenhut, then vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, to be its California columnist. Manchester also retained the services of two other Koch-linked editorial employees.

Before departing the Franklin Center to work for Manchester, Greenhut defended its donor-secrecy policy, saying, "Yes, Franklin Center is funded by donors and, no, we do not publish their names to respect their privacy."

"Left-wing journalism enterprises also are funded by donors and often do not publish the names of their donors, but we haven’t seen any reports from [the Columbia Journalism Review] on those groups."

"If you believe that conservative donors undermine our journalism, then surely you must believe that liberal donors undermine the journalism done by those outfits."

Manchester, who is seeking city approval to build a giant condominium and commercial complex on the site of U-T San Diego’s Mission Valley headquarters, sank at least at least $356,000 into the GOP's successful effort to elect Kevin Faulconer mayor earlier this year.

The county Republican Party has been a major donor to the campaigns of Zapf and Cate. In addition, on May 14 the GOP funneled $130,000 into the reelection bid of Dumanis, who is facing off against attorney Robert Brewer in next month's primary election.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Comments

HonestGovernment May 16, 2014 @ 2:35 p.m.

I'd say the machine is already up, running, and impregnable. Over the past decade, KFMB has slowly but surely shown increasingly biased reporting. In an obvious way. I wonder how the anchors feel about it.

A few years ago my neighbor sent a complaint to one of KFMB's anchors about a blatantly biased (and useless and uninformative) anti-Obama "funny human-interest" segment. The reporter replied that the story was from a "national news feed" and that the story was done by a reporter out of Pennsylvania, not a local San Diego reporter. As if that mattered.

Recently, a friend pointed out that if you read the crawls across local Channel 8's screen while the anchors are talking, you might think you were watching Fox or KUSI.

I do "believe that conservative donors undermine our journalism" - they turn journalism and reporting into propaganda. There are no "liberal donors" with the national agenda and setup of the Kochs. And "liberals" have a tendency to reject misinformation and lies, so liberal propaganda wouldn't be likely to work, even if it existed at the organizational scope seen for the Koch groups and allies.

0

monaghan May 16, 2014 @ 8:20 p.m.

If this cabal of monied right-wingers manages to shoehorn carpetbagger Chris Cate into the District 6 City Council seat, it will be a great pity for residents of those communities. Cate was Kevin Faulconer's callow office staffer -- the better to follow directions, I guess.

In contrast to Cate is Independent candidate MITZ LEE, an experienced community leader and longtime Mira Mesa resident. Lee was the first Filipina elected to the San Diego Board of Education ten years ago. There she stood for parental inclusion in decision-making, strong academics, high standards, fiscal prudence and for voting to dispatch uber-controversial Superintendent Alan Bersin into early retirement.

Lee has lived in San Diego for more than 30 years, has worked tirelessly on voter education and participation and she was instrumental in the redistricting process that drew the lines for present-day District 6. She is a member of the San Diego Human Relations Commission, the only community-based candidate in this race and the only moderate. Neither the GOP Lincoln Club nor the County Democratic Party are propping up Mitz Lee: she is her own person and in it for the public's interest.

0

CaptD May 17, 2014 @ 2:41 p.m.

SD is with the exception of the San Diego Reader with any MSM that is positioned to counter the daily bias blast by the UT, the TV stations and or the VoSD...

Is their no even one Wealthy San Diego resident that has the financial ability to fund those that want to present another viewpoint, so that everyone will know what is happening in America's Finest City?

Until someone steps up and drops a few coins into the plate, we will all spiral ever downward, drowning in a sea of propaganda!

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close