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It was billled as a U-T columnist's rally to return the Padres to cable TV, and Matthew Hall, bullhorn in hand, worked the crowd like a pro, but congressman and mayoral candidate Bob Filner was clearly the hit of the show with many of the 150 or so people who gathered in front of Petco Park yesterday morning.

"The Padres get our money, our taxpayers' money," said Filner. "The cable has a public franchise. We can put leverage on them. The mayor should sit down with them and get it done."

"The city has leverage, but they're all bought off by the, you know, cable guys and everything else."

Though Filner's presence at the hour-long event significantly enlived Hall's rally (watch our video report above), an online gallery of 13 photos of the rally subsequently posted by the U-T omitted any images of the liberal Democrat, except for a virtually unidentifiable shot of his distant, unidentified face in the crowd.

The U-T, of course, owned by La Jolla multi-millionaire Republican Doug Manchester, has endorsed Filner's opponent, GOP city councilman Carl DeMaio, and Jeff Light, the newspaper's editor has been heard on tape discussing ways to undermine the congressman's political chances.

“I think we, as an editorial board, do not want to see Bob Filner make it through to the general election,” Light said during an editorial board interview with then-mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher. “Because the environment around the general election is going to be far more favorable to Filner… so, you know, we certainly want to keep that from happening.”

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Comments

LauraE July 23, 2012 @ 10:23 a.m.

So glad I cancelled my U-T subscription today.

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MatthewTHall July 23, 2012 @ 11:21 a.m.

Matt, Appreciate your coverage of the issue, your characterization of me working the crowd like a pro and the video you shared of the event.

But I'd respectfully disagree with you (without any disrespect to Mr. Filner) and suggest that the show's hit was the entire crowd itself, and all 14 who spoke, many straight from their heart, about the fact that they and their family members are unable to watch the Padres on TV. Many of these people are elderly and anticipate televised baseball games the way a hungry man approaches a steak. They can't afford to switch TV providers or they live somewhere that makes that impossible.

Mr. Filner's promise to hold public hearings and pressure the TV executives to get a deal done was a welcome surprise Sunday. We'll hold him to it if he gets elected. But I'd humbly suggest that Harry the Heckler got the most applause and that the more emotional pleas got the warmest receptions. In short, everyone's remarks contributed equally to a successful event. To read my column, which featured many of these voices, please click here: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/22/padres-fans-demand-tv-coverage-at-petco-rally/

Not to stray off-base myself, Matt, but you'll see that I quoted Mr. Filner extensively in my coverage. Our rally had nothing to do with the newspaper's owner or the political leanings or endorsement of its editorial page. This rally had everything to do with bringing Padres to the people. The fact that Mr. Filner and every other speaker were omitted from a slide show means nothing. We covered the entire event in words and pictures. It's how I'll continue to cover this particular issue and approach all my columns going forward.

Thanks again for covering it yourself. Matt

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monaghan July 23, 2012 @ 12:54 p.m.

Wow, Two Matts are in touch. Even the Reader is now moving to different "platforms" to cover events. Should we expect a Reader TV program like the U-Ts or a voice-like Fact-Check en espanol in collaboration with Univision?

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Visduh July 23, 2012 @ 4:34 p.m.

All of Hall's front-page exhortations to come out for the rally get 150? Methinks the U-T has already had it, if after all that campaigning it had him do for the rally got such a tiny turnout. The county has about 3 million people and mustered 150, meaning that one out of every 20,000 residents was sufficiently outraged to attend. If you ever wanted to see local indifference in action, this was it.

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