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David Carr, media columnist for the New York Times, precisely pinpoints what is wrong with the Union-Tribune's current ownership and management in a column slated to appear tomorrow (June 11). Carr begins, "There is a growing worry that the falling value and failing business models of many American newspapers could lead to a situation where moneyed interests buy papers and use them to prosecute a political and commercial agenda. That future appears to have arrived in San Diego, where the U-T San Diego, the daily newspaper bought by the local developer and hotelier Douglas F. Manchester, often seems like a brochure for his various interests."

Carr goes on to cock an eyebrow at the firing of sports columnist Tim Sullivan, the flaying of public agencies that have not agreed with Manchester's agenda, and "front-page editorials and wraparound sections to promote political allies who share [the paper's] agenda."

John Lynch, chief executive of the U-T, basically blessed what Carr is saying. "We make no apologies," Lynch told Carr. "We are very consistent -- pro-conservative, pro-business, pro-military." This is consistent with Lynch's pronouncement upon taking the job that coverage of local business had to be cheerleading, and any reporter covering the massively subsidized Chargers stadium Lynch is pushing must favor it and denounce any opponent as an "obstructionist." (Under the prior Copley regime, those opposing the 50,000 seat guarantee were declared to be "obstructionists." I thought the word would be retired.)

Oh yes. Carr says, "In San Diego, there's a strong weekly, The San Diego Reader, and a great news Web site, Voice of San Diego."

Comments
13

Just because a NYT writer slams the current ownership doesn't mean a great deal. The consistent biases of that paper can result in most anything. I'd rather reach my own conclusions, and in this case they align with those of the reporter. The UT has gone from a caricature of a big-city daily to that of a caricature of Mad magazine in some instances.

I really resent a claim of Lynch that the paper is pro-conservative. True conservatives don't support giveaways of taxpayer funds to either sports team owners or to public-employee unions. In the case of Lynch, his pro-conservative approach is most selective. One can only wonder just what sort of slant the pro-military support and/or pro-business approaches might also carry. Would they defend Metabolife on the basis of being pro-business? They already love Bridgepoint. What sort of things will the UT conclude are pro-military? I shudder to think.

Actually, much of what is happening is a rerun of the early days of newspapers, when they were unabashedly promoting a particular viewpoint, openly partisan, and cared little for the truth when it undermined their agenda. But in those times, most readers understood all that, and didn't expect impartial reporting or anything like objectivity. Will readers in the near future have to adjust to that sort of thing? Or will they just continue to ignore and reject newspapers altogether? It will be one or the other.

June 10, 2012

You are correct, Visduh, that newspapers a century and two ago were primarily pushing some agenda, usually political. Of course, that was when there were many newspapers in one market, and a member of one political party could pick a paper that reflected his/her views, and a member of a competing party could pick another paper to his/her liking. In the 20th century, there were plenty of slanted papers, such as those run by Hearst, the Chicago Tribune, etc. Still, in recent decades, the more successful papers have confined their opinion pieces to the editorial page and to the realm of columnists.

Another point: when Lynch says he wants the paper to be pro-business, and to lead cheers for local business, he is propounding a fundamentally dishonest agenda that is anti-capitalist. There are good companies and bad companies, bulls and bears, longs and shorts. To slant the news to please only the longs and the bulls is to distort free markets. But Lynch is not alone: it is just that he is foolish enough to admit it. Business Week and its successor Bloomberg/Business Week have been very good publications for several decades. But most of the years I worked there (1964-73) it was not: it featured puffery with few exceptions. The Union-Tribune under the Copley regime wanted fluff business coverage, too. I fought a helluva fight for years over that. Best, Don Bauder

June 10, 2012

Here's the article P.S.: http://nyti.ms/LE9wUi

June 11, 2012

I believe everyone should read it, focusing particularly on Lynch's quotes. Best, Don Bauder

June 11, 2012

thx Reader Andy this is a terrific link and thanks to u Don for posting it

June 11, 2012

I got it up on the site Sunday night. Items that appear in the NY Times have legs. Remember Enron by the Sea! Best, Don Bauder

June 11, 2012

slowly but surely i'm REALLY trying to understand economics Don...ur blogs help immensely

of course i started too late and will probably never really be able to comprehend all that is happening

June 11, 2012

Nan, even the best economists don't understand economics, just as nobody really fully understands the stock and bond markets. Best, Don Bauder

June 11, 2012

with all due respect - i too am pro many things. but as a recently cancelled subscriber i am looking to read news when i purchase a "n e w s p a p e r", not commentary.

i am looking for facts not personal opinions of the ownership.

most readers are capable, when given the facts, to make up their own minds. they do not need to be treated as though the are not capable of dissecting fact and cutting out the fiction.

many i know have recently cancelled. a shame since i have been a subscriber for over 40+ years.

June 11, 2012

I hear of people like you who are canceling their UT subscriptions. What is happening to that paper is a shame -- and self-destructive. Best, Don Bauder

June 12, 2012

i think we are witnessing a change in things, so to speak. more and more persons are beginning to wipe the fog out of their eyes and realize what is going on at many levels.

i am part of the group referred to as 'antagonists' by the sweetwater board. it is important to note that The Reader and the UT did much to help bring to light what has been going on in our District for years, a reporter by the name of Ms. Luzzarro began reporting on the subject long before it became a hot topic so to speak.

the u.t. did much to help expose what we were forced to finally take to the FBI and the DA. in the beginning we tried to work with the district, but soon realized they truly were in it for self. brand came in and once again we tried working with him - soon it became clear we were back to ground zero (such a shame, because i had such high hopes). the ut coverage infuriated him and allegedly he called a meeting with the ut and the reporting changed.

this morning i turned on my computer and went to the Red Flag story regarding the prop o bond monies and noticed that brand had the audacity to DEMAND, DEMAND mind you, an apology from the author of the article. it is apparent that The Reader is truly a news organization - (preferring to report facts and statements vs being allowed to be bullied by an interim superintendent) - and i appreciate the decision makers at The READER for obviously standing their ground, since no apology was attached.

now, daily as my husband and i sip our morning coffee we sit there, lap tops nestled on top of our thighs, sharing opinions over the many interesting articles and comments.

as a side note, i find reading your articles and comments most interesting and thought provoking. how refreshing!!!!!!!!!

June 12, 2012

Susan Luzzarro was on the Sweetwater story before others jumped it. Her coverage has been another feather in the Reader's hat. Best, Don Bauder

June 12, 2012

Oops. It's Luzzaro, not the way I spelled it. Blame age: I realized there was only one r, and thought I had removed one of them. Apparently I hadn't. Best, Don Bauder

June 12, 2012

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