Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Scathing report on U-T San Diego
U-T a "corporate shill," says respected media publication
"The Fall of the San Diego Union-Tribune" is the headline in a story today (Dec. 6) in the publication Media Matters for America, a politically progressive media watchdog. The year since "Papa Doug" Manchester took over the paper has been the worst year in the paper's multi-decade history, says Media Matters. Manchester and his chief executive John Lynch, who spent most of his career in sports radio, have transformed the paper "into a front for Manchester's 'cheerleading' for business interests and right-wing politics," says Media Matters.
This is an observation few could disagree with. Manchester announced as soon as he took over that business coverage henceforth would be cheerleading. (This in one of the scam havens of the U.S.) The paper listed George W. Bush as one of America's greatest presidents, notes Media Matters contemptuously. Front page editorials pumped up Republican mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, who went on to lose. His opponent, Democrat Bob Filner, the winner, used the U-T's snug relationship with DeMaio in pro-Filner ads. The paper has shamelessly touted downtown projects that would line Manchester's pockets indirectly.
Dean Nelson, director of journalism at Point Loma Nazarene University, is quoted saying, "The only way the paper will survive is if people trust it to give the news of their community. If people get the sense it is just whoring for the leadership's business enterprises, they are done." Then Media Matters cites many other examples of such self-serving prostitution. Media Matters points out that the U-T not only touts its own projects, but attacks institutions such as the port that express opposition to the Manchester/Lynch ideas. Media Matters stresses that Manchester has no background in the media business. "Doug Manchester Doesn't Know Anything About Running a Newspaper," says a subhead. Amen.
Full disclosure: I am one of several journalists quoted in the piece. I am quoted saying the U-T is an embarrassment to San Diego. In retrospect, I should have expressed that more strongly.