Military File Earns Nathan Fletcher Two Very Nice Stories

Tony Manolatos Tony Manolatos 1 Comment


Politics & Media Mashup: your weekend news aggregator leads off with the most interesting local stories of the week and includes stories about statewide politics, national politics and social media.

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UPDATED DEC. 24, 9:05 A.M.

After Craig Gustafson wrote a very positive piece on San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher he heard from the opposing Republican camps.

“They wanted to know, ‘Are we gonna get a story like that?’” Gustafson said.

They were told profiles were planned for all four candidates — Bonnie Dumanis, Carl DeMaio, Bob Filner and Fletcher — but there wouldn’t be any stories similar to the one on Fletcher’s military background. None of the other candidates served in the military.

“He’s running on his military background,” Gustafson said, who is covering the mayor’s race for The San Diego Union-Tribune.

He asked Fletcher for his military records, which are not available to the public. Fletcher turned over what he said was his complete file and a list of about eight people, including supervisors, he served with in the Marines. Gustafson interviewed two of the people on the list and decided not to use either.

“We didn’t want to write a story that he handed to us,” Gustafson said.

A decision was made to go with a straight story based entirely on Fletcher’s military record.

“I realize it was a positive piece,” said Gustafson, who read everything in Fletcher’s file, most of which was inconsequential. “There was nothing negative in there.”

Liam Dillon, who is covering the mayor’s race for Voice of San Diego, wrote a similar story. Along with the military file, Dillon’s story quotes several people who served alongside Fletcher.

Both pieces drew sharp criticism.

“This piece looks very much like a campaign publication,” said one letter writer in the Union-Tribune.

One of the comments below Dillon’s story: “Disappointed in the Voice of San Diego, which should be called the Voice for Nathan.”

Moving on…When I read Wendy Fry’s story in the Union-Tribune about investigators raiding the homes of South Bay school officials I stopped and read it again. I wanted to make sure I was reading it correctly because Fry wrote the story like she was inside the National City home of Sweetwater Union High School District board member Pearl Quinones.

“I was standing in her doorway looking in” Fry said.

Fry then reported on two additional raids – from the homes of Sweetwater trustees Arlie Ricasa and Bertha Lopez.

She filed her story from the car, texting and emailing her editor back in Mission Valley.

Fry has been covering this story since she started working at the Union-Tribune 1½ years ago as a full-time reporter, she said. She obviously wouldn’t talk about who tipped her off or what it was like to watch search warrants being executed.

She praised her editor and her colleagues, some of whom have worked just as hard at peeling back the layers of South Bay politics.

“The Union-Trib’s coverage of Sweetwater has been superb,” is how the coverage was summed up on San Diego Rostra.

Fry, who is 29, was the editor of her high school and college newspapers.

I met Fry several years ago when the two us were working at the Union-Tribune. She was an intern and gave me my first Twitter lesson. Thanks again, Wendy! You’re a good teacher, and a fine reporter.

In other news…Well-known political columnist and Twitter hold-out Dan Walters of The Sacramento Bee has joined the Twittersphere.

Walters has amassed about 500 followers since sending out his first tweet December 17.

Someone in the Newt Gingrich campaign did not have such a good day Wednesday after the Twittersphere let it be known that was in the hands of an enemy.

POLITICO‘s Dylan Byers retweeted: “Newt Gingrich Probably Wishes He’d Reserved NewtGingrich.Com With GoDaddy.”

The Gingrich campaign uses but no one thought to reserve the other version. So they’re being treated to a site that redirects people to stories, videos and web sites (Tiffany’s, for example) that mock the presidential candidate.

As of the writing of this post, the site redirected to a story from The Atlantic Wire headlined: Gingrich’s Campaign Still Looks an Awful Lot Like a Book Tour.

It could end up being the year’s biggest presidential primary meme.

Then came this headline from The Washington Post: Bush backs Romney, criticizes Gingrich And this on Christmas Eve: Newt booted from Virginia ballot

Not a good week for Team Newt.

Here are some the week’s other top stories:




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Tony Manolatos is a communications strategist. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn Click here to view his business profile.


Comments 1

  1. Much kudos to Nathan Fletcher for willingly turning over all his military files to reporters. He didn’t have to. He could’ve easily hid his records like the other three candidates.

    Perhaps DeMaio’s business records, Dumanis’s executive records, and Filner’s arrest records should see the light of day. Unless, of course, they’d like to hide them.

    Although, the public should have the opportunity to evaluate all the candidate’s claims. All candidates should turn over the same level of information. If records show them as positive, they too will get the same positive stories.

    If not, well, then they’ll have soemthing to answer for. Just like the David Alvarez story I posted earlier, transparency should prevail.

    Fletcher’s team had the Marine Corps send records directly to reporter without any intervention. All it takes is a phone call, or an e-mail.

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