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National media commentators are writing about how "Papa Doug" Manchester, owner of the UT, is using the publication for his personal propaganda purposes. Another example showed up in the May 25-27 weekend edition of Counterpunch. Thomas Larson, a Reader contributor, relates how the UT book editor, Lisa Sullivan, asked him to review "Capitalist at Large: Reflections of an International Entrepreneur," by James Jameson. Larson's review was negative. Jameson's book was "poorly conceived and unengaging, too often a list of his triumphs," Larson writes in Counterpunch. "It is almost entirely self-congratulatory and unreflective." Editor Jeff Light would not publish Larson's review because it reflected negatively on a local author, according to Sullivan. Say what? You can't write negatively about a book written by a local author? Larson looked in the index and saw there were four references to Manchester, "all glowing." Hmm. Larson doesn't have to say more. The rejected review is printed in the Counterpunch article.

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Comments

Don Bauder May 27, 2012 @ 9:28 a.m.

In a way one has to feel sorry for Light. The orders are coming from the top -- from Lynch and Manchester. Light has a choice: 1. Fight for honest journalism or 2. Get fired. It's a tough dilemma. I have been in the business press almost 50 years and believe me, I have been in that dilemma almost all the time. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya May 27, 2012 @ 9:53 a.m.

Well, I can certainly relate to that, having gone up against the (Copley) machine in the 70's when I refused to state in writing what I knew to be a fabrication regarding another employee's firing. Because I was the sole witness to the incident in question, I postulated what I knew to be true. I was told "This isn't what we had in mind. Mull it over and see what you can come up with." I left it as written, the employee was reinstated, and I was soon demoted from my managerial position. I'm guessing that Light might not have envisioned becoming a hatchet man.

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Don Bauder May 27, 2012 @ 4:22 p.m.

Talk about a gun to the head! "Mull it over and see what you come up with." In other words, do you think it is helping your career to tell the truth? Sounds like the old place where I worked. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya May 28, 2012 @ 5:15 a.m.

Don, I've been reminded of that quote many times during the years since it was made, usually when facing workplace issues demanding integrity. I resigned soon after the demotion, but won a reprieve of sorts two years later. I caught on with Copley News Service, then near the U-T on the eastern side of 163. One of my functions was to visit the U-T twice daily to pick up and deliver copy, photos and mail. On my third or fourth visit there, I ran into the Personnel director, who actually uttered, "I thought I had you banned from this building". He immediately called the CNS chief at the time, John Pinkerman, to inform him of that pronouncement. Pinkerman was livid, to say the least, and went to bat for me, well aware of the entire saga. I'm not sure if he called in a favor, or if principle finally won out, but I carried on in that capacity (and as one man's personal thorn in the side) for three more years.

By the way, Feliz Cumpleaños, Señor Bauder!

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Don Bauder May 28, 2012 @ 7:07 a.m.

I remember John Pinkerman. Good man. Glad to see he came to your defense. Congratulations for hanging on for three more years. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya May 28, 2012 @ 2:37 p.m.

Pinkerton definitely was "a newpaperman's newspaperman". I was fortunate to work with both him and another venerable sage, Frank Macomber, and learned a lot from each man.

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Don Bauder May 28, 2012 @ 8:44 p.m.

Yes, Frank Macomber was a good man, too. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan May 27, 2012 @ 11:50 a.m.

You forget that U-T editor Jeff Light was not involved in "honest journalism" when he was on the payroll of the previous U-T owners, Platinum Equity of Beverly Hills -- a slasher-downsizer organization focused only on monetary profits, handsomely realized in the sale to present owner Doug Manchester.

Light has another honorable choice: he could quit. I don't feel "sorry" for him. The Los Angeles Times in recent years has lost many editors with integrity who quit before they would compromise their journalist's standards.

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Don Bauder May 27, 2012 @ 4:30 p.m.

Before heading the U-T under Platinum, he worked for the Orange County Register. It might have been just as bad, although when the LA Times invaded Orange County, the newspaper remade itself -- under duress, and kicking and screaming, because it was either start telling the truth or get walloped in your own back yard. Best, Don Bauder

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nosralmat May 27, 2012 @ 8:38 a.m.

Don, Thanks so much for this notice of my sordid dealings with the U-T. I know you yourself have been there before. If readers want to read my article-cum-review, please go here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/25/book-critic-censored-by-san-diego-newspaper/

Love your column. Tom

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Don Bauder May 27, 2012 @ 9:35 a.m.

I suggest reading the entire Counterpunch article by Tom Larson. He goes into detail that I left out for brevity's sake. There is a copy of the rejected review he wrote for the UT. This was a case of out-and-out prostitution at the UT. There have been many such cases through the years, but they have escalated under current ownership. Tom and I both write for the Reader, which encourages -- not punishes -- tough journalism. For me, writing for the Reader has been a liberation. Best, Don Bauder

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nosralmat May 27, 2012 @ 8:58 p.m.

I want to add my voice to the chorus, celebrating the Reader’s integrity over the years with its writers. The paper has published my work consistently for 12 years. My pieces have been superbly edited, rigorously fact-checked, intelligently trimmed, and permitted a depth that few news/feature publications allow. The editorial staff over the years has encouraged me to take chances, established clear guidelines between opinion and journalism, and been thoroughly professional with pay and deadlines. Given an assignment, I’ve never had it censored at the Reader. Don is right. It’s liberation for a writer from the tyranny of corporate journalism. Tom

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Don Bauder May 28, 2012 @ 7:15 a.m.

I have always been amazed by the detailed editing at the Reader. I worked for a national business weekly (Business Week) for 9 years and the editing and fact-checking were not as good as they now are at the Reader. (In my 30 years with U-T, the editing was not as good, partly because it was a daily.) In my opinion, the Reader is THE counterbalance to establishment propaganda which has a stranglehold over most of the local press. Best, Don Bauder

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monaghan May 27, 2012 @ 4:24 p.m.

Thanks to Don Bauder for his important testimonial to the hands-off editorial policy of Reader publisher Jim Holman who sometimes takes flak for his personal support of a pro-life political agenda. Holman runs a genuine newspaper and follows his Catholic conscience in his private time. I disagree with those who would damn one for the other by conflating the two aspects of Holman's life. We are lucky to have the Reader.

The San Diego Reader newspaper under Holman's personal direction has come full circle and is an important source of investigative news reporting in this beleaguered city. The Reader also is a viable business. It's not dependent on vacillating sugar-daddies or burdened by an ever-shifting focus like the voiceofsandiego; not dominated by an eccentric ignorant egotist like "Papa" Doug Manchester; not battered by the vicissitudes of being Alternative Number 2 like struggling CityBeat.

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Don Bauder May 27, 2012 @ 4:42 p.m.

I can't disagree with what you say. If you want the real poop in San Diego, you have to go to the Reader. Others are afraid to print it because of a bullying establishment which happens to buy advertising and make donations to those that don't run advertising. Best, Don Bauder

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BlueSouthPark May 28, 2012 @ 2:31 p.m.

Yes, so true.

Any San Diego resident who has ever needed help shining a light on an issue with the City, when the City acts questionably, has had only The Reader as a voice. If the issue involved a battle, legal or not, and a resident ultimately prevailed, you'll read an honest account of the details and the victory only in Reader.

Those of us who have relied on Reader's journalism have learned along the way that Reader's editors do very careful fact-checking. Sometimes things are more complex than Reader's format and timeframe allow, and so the multi-level details are omitted, but never do Reader journalists or editors skew the truth or purposefully omit facts so as to distort the truth.

Thank you, all Reader staff!

Note to Jan Goldsmith: Reader is a real newspaper, not a "blog," as you condescendingly called it in the May 8 Council meeting vote to approve a new municipal ordinance that prohibits groups of residents from filing class claims for tax refunds. You continually tweet and talk to staff of a real blog, the local online-only nonprofit publishing arm of your office and other donors, so why the condescension to Reader?

On the bright side, the people working for the City DO read Reader, you betcha.

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Don Bauder May 28, 2012 @ 8:51 p.m.

Jerry Sanders claims he doesn't read the Reader and has told City employees not to talk with the Reader. His staff, of course, won't talk to us. Another with the same troglodytic PR attitude is Sempra Energy. It only talks with media that massage it. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Best, Don Bauder

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