SDUT: Dewey Defeats Truman

Sunshine Sunshine 21 Comments


I’m wrestling with a problem. I like the Union-Tribune, I really do, I just wish it wasn’t completely worthless. Maybe (hopefully) it is just the “reorganization” that is tanking the quality of the reporting and it will recover, but thus far it’s proved this election cycle that the paper is approaching utter pointlessness.

The UT was severely out investigated by CityBeat and dramatically out analyzed by Voice of San Diego, but those publications slightly emphasized quantity over quality, and both have extreme liberal bias. CityBeat is at least honest about its goals and ideals. VoSD had a few hatchet job articles that used the art of subtledy to drive home a clear agenda.

And whoever at DIR the UT used to conduct that Prop D poll should be drug out and shot. What? Expecting 80% turnout?

Finally who could overlook this little gem that has the caption “Howard Wayne, who will replace Donna Frye on the San Diego City Council, celebrated his win at Currant restaurant downtown with his wife Mary Lundberg.” I guess the answer to that is John Gastaldo and the UT.

Get your act together guys, San Diego needs a solid, fair, and detailed major newspaper, not the b#llsh!t of the past year.

tNovember 2, 2010 | Photo by John Gastaldo

Howard Wayne, who will replace Donna Frye on the San Diego City Council, celebrated his win at Currant restaurant downtown with his wife Mary Lundberg.


Comments 21

  1. And SD Rostra ?

    (1) Which broke the story that Ernie Dronenburg would
    run for Assessor/Recorder/Clerk…in December 2009.

    (2) Which reported the Juan Vargas “reversal of
    fortune” vote rally long after other media accepted
    that Mary Salas had beaten Juan Vargas?

    (3) How about ace reporter ‘Sunshine’ calling the
    shot that Lorie Zapf was polling much stronger
    than Conventional Wisdom predicted?

    (4) Rostra, which reported Howard Wayne’s cam-
    paign had accepted a donation from someone
    facing manslaughter charges..with Wayne then
    doing ther right thing by returning the donation?

    Not knocking the other entities you mention,
    Sunshine, but let’s not overlook the San Diego
    Press Club award-winning SD Rostra when
    talking about important local news sources.

    I’m just saying…

  2. I cancelled my subscription about 18 months ago. The paper was worthless then, and it’s getting worse. Endorsing and editorializing day in / day out for Prop D was shameless.

    In today’s competitive media world with news available 24 hours a day from so many sources, the U-T doesn’t seem to be able to keep pace.

    Tom Gores got a good deal picking up the Copley’s real estate at a discount. He’ll unload the paper soon enough.

  3. On 2nd thought, I forgot to salute Sunshine for
    that FANTASTIC find of the U-T photo caption
    saying Lorie Zapf had been defeated.

    That is worthy of the Pulitzer-prize winning
    1948 photo of President Truman holding
    up a Chicago Tribune front page reading,
    ‘ Dewey Defeats Truman.’

  4. We also had a Dewey Defeats Truman moment in the primary, when a Riverside media outlet didn’t get that you have to count the votes in the entire district, just not in your own county…

    A couple of our own bloggers know the math. Mr. Jantz was involved on the corrective end of the Riverside story. Mr. Sills can also testify that when it comes to vote counting in an entire district, not just one’s own county, that the MSM had an extremely difficult time doing so during Juan Vargas’ month long catch up of Mary Salas after the primary. The blog and newsprint history shows that Sills had the numbers updated correctly on a near daily basis, while others couldn’t figure out the real way to do it correctly, mistakenly relying on the SoS site for their numbers, which in fact was running about 24-36 hours late in updating the counts from the three different counties involved.

  5. Hey Sunshine – Thank you for the kind words. While CityBeat is proud of its liberal bias, I would like to come to Voice of San Diego’s defense. I think they’ve been fair and, if anything, leaned a little libertarian. I think the large amount of conservative ads on the site speak to that; you wouldn’t find Zapf or the Lincoln Club or the Republican party supporting CityBeat with ad revenue (though we would welcome it). Liam Dillon’s reporting on Prop D has been excellent and held both sides accountable and Keegan Kyle’s coverage of the Supervisor’s race, while perhaps not as probing as it could’ve been, was balanced.

    As for the U-T, I think they’re settling into their new model. They may not have dug too deeply into the higher profile races, I do think they turned up a few good scoops in the more obscure ones.

    Over all, I have to say that this is the most undermanned election (in terms of media) I’ve ever covered. Of course, this is my first California election and I wasn’t anticipating how friggin’ crazy it would be. Still, though, I encourage all who care about the watchdog role of the press to consider the ways you might support it in the rough times ahead.

    Again, thank you for the kind words. SD Rostra’s reporting has also been informative.

    Dave Maass
    Staff writer
    San Diego CityBeat

  6. Oh, and just one question. What do you mean by quantity over quality at CityBeat. If anything, I think we would’ve liked to cover a lot more races…It was only that one of our strongest freelancers moved to DC and another became our music editor and both have so far proven difficult to replace.

  7. Interesting observation about advertisements on VoSD, which actually plays exactly into my point. Do you know who probably reads VoSD? Downtown types, donor types, and generally those who go out of their way to really keep up on local politics, but probably just a few of your average voters in District 6. Isn’t it funny then that to the voters in D6 Howard Wayne had a scathing hatred for the convention center expansion. He made Zapf’s support for the expansion his primary attack and main focus at two town councils I saw, and two others I saw video clips from. I also saw at least two separate mailers the Wayne campaign sent out attacking Zapf for supporting the expansion. What happens within days of Zapf sending out two fundraising emails pointing out Wayne’s opposition to something very popular with possible mutual donors? VoSD does an article completely refuting Zapf’s claims of opposition and giving him absolute cover to support it.

    Imagine if Zapf, or even someone more hated like Bill Horn, came out against a new stadium, viciously attacking their opponent in the district over it, then immediately switched positions in an interview to cover their ass with their donors, and that publication gave them best of both worlds and let them off with a small explanation.

    It was a very, very subtle move, but possibly the most shameless shilling for a candidate I’ve seen in a while.

  8. And that quantity over quality had an emphasis on slightly and was mainly focused on VoSD and their obsession with an issue (Prop D) that never had a chance of passing. I mean, I understand reporting on the issue is important and it was perhaps the biggest issue in San Diego, but ultimately the outcome was decided before it was placed on the ballot. I would have liked to see a lot more D6/D8 coverage and a lot more coverage on more local candidates.

  9. I don’t overly mind pro-D editorials when they are on the editorial page. It’s just bad to see them portrayed as news articles, in the U-T or anywhere else.

    The U-T’s Watchdog unit did at least one fair story about Prop D., supplying the context for how the city’s unrealistic spending got us in the hole we’re in now. I’m sure there are others. The main problem is institutional timidity, stemming from the real or perceived bias of U-T management. Even though the U-T now has a non-Copley owner, its reporters may still feel constrained at aggressively attacking the Copley’s sacred cows. The laughable pro-D editorials, not to mention the wildly inaccurate U-T poll, reinforced the impression those sacred cows are still there.

    Voice of San Diego has different problems. It isn’t left-leaning like SD CityBeat; but to its credit, CityBeat’s ideology is openly disclosed. VOSD presents itself as non-partisan, and its reporters usually don’t openly disclose their own political bias. CityBeat doesn’t have that problem. Like Rush Limbaugh, we know where they’re coming from. (That’s meant as a compliment, CityBeaters!)

    IMO, VOSD has been mostly fair on Prop. D, much more so than the U-T. However, from what I can tell, those writing on it personally supported it. The undertones are there. I would rather they’d come right out and say it. (In the linked article above, what is not discussed is even more significant than what is, namely, any discussion of the crippling pension burden or exploration of bankruptcy. It’s written from the perspective of the poor city politicians, burdened by voter mistrust generated by previous city leaders, not being able to raise taxes).

    What’s good about VOSD is that it does actual investigations, and often gets the facts well before they appear anywhere else. It also isn’t constrained by the U-T’s political agenda. Stuff like the profile of Sanders’ strategist, Kris Michell, put VOSD ahead of the Union-Tribune.

    What sometimes bothers me about VOSD is when it runs articles with a bias but doesn’t admit to that bias. I’m thinking of VOSD’s “fact checks,” some of which seem to be an excuse to reflect the reporter’s own opinion. Nothing wrong with having an opinion, of course, but VOSD’s fact-checks are sometimes more about the reporter’s subjective opinion than fact. That harms their credibility.

    VOSD should use fact-checks more sparingly, and only when the matter is clear-cut, and not subject to interpretation.

  10. I think the reporting section of the UT is fine, if uninspired in terms of doing the legwork to get really good scoops. The editorial board (Bill Osborne) is a joke. He’s a voice piece for those downtown elites and the Mayor’s office.

    Re: VOSD – I think their factchecks are too infused with their personal bias. I’ve also heard they don’t publish all the factchecks they research, esp. if they end up being true. There was a YES D leaning bias IMO in most of Lewis’s posts and tweets.

  11. To characterize Voice of San Diego as “libertarian leaning” even a little perplexes this Libertarian Lass. Dave M., care to elaborate how you offer such a characterization?

    I concur with my fellow Libertarian in the blogpen Mr. Fikes on the nature of the “Fact Checks” published by Voice. Frequently the verdict is rendered on a difference of opinion, not fact. Reasonable people can come to different conclusions about the same issue based on facts that aren’t in dispute. But if the facts themselves aren’t in dispute, why is a Fact Check published at all?

  12. Dave,
    You’ll find that the great majority of Libertarians are opposed to mandatory military service, or any mandatory government service, on principle. But don’t worry Gayle, we won’t take away your Libertarian card. Say three “Hail Ayns” and you’re forgiven. 😉

    I, too am interesting in knowing on what issues VOSD’s coverage leans Libertarian.

  13. Dave, I don’t pretend to agree with the Libertarian Party in every regard… or rather, I could arrogantly say the Libertarian Party doesn’t always agree with me. I suppose that makes me a Cafeteria Libertarian. Ye Gods!

    I often part ways in matters of law and order, though I struggle with the security vs. civil rights debacle – an area you know well and would like to see you write about more often.

  14. Granted, not many of us Libertarians like the idea of part-time servitude. If it’s for the good of the country, then perhaps we should be drafting police, firefighters, teachers, etc. at subsistence wages. We’d save a bundle! But I’m not too confident of the resulting quality of the service.

    But more important, drafting everyone (universal service) would result in millions of make work “community service” jobs, guaranteed to reduce the productivity of the country — the military simply doesn’t need anywhere all the draft age people in the service. The menial government jobs to meet the service obligation would result in what economists call a “misallocation of resources” — and at astronomical cost for both the useless service and the foregone productivity.

  15. Like I said, maybe I was mistaken. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows. Some folks at CityBeat had slammed Voice for what they perceived to be a bias towards No on D.

    All libertarians should be against mandatory military service. Anyone who’s for it is more a socialist than Dave Rolland is.

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