Monday, August 21, 2006

McCaw Killed the Newspaper Star

It's easy to think of potentate of the News-Press Wendy McCaw and editorial page editor Travis Armstrong as the Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers of Santa Barbara--both matching their Simpsons counterparts for mindless evil and shameless toadyism. So when the word came that Starshine Roshell was losing her Sunday column at the N-P, one can only imagine Wendy as Montgomery Burns hissing, "Excellent--now you'll see what it means to have your mouth taped, dearie."

The paper will argue it's only doing what people asked for and separating news from editorial--after all, what's an entertainment/life beat reporter doing opining in a charming way about raising children, men and women getting along (or not), etc. And they will deny it has anything to do with Starshine being a prominent critic of all the recent events at the once admirable paper, including working to help unionize the remaining staff.

Sure. And McCaw has some Hope Ranch property she wants to sell you, since, after all, she was unsuccesful in her suit to keep the riff raff off of it.

Actually, McCaw is desperately trying to make life miserable for anyone left at the paper who might be pro-union. If you fill the building with scabs, then the threat of the Teamsters winning a vote evaporates. You don't want to have to fire anyone, so you just make the job untenable. Figure out what each person does best/enjoys most at the job, and then take that away.

That's not just bad business and poor management, it's flat-out nasty. But such a word would probably be just considered a compliment to Burns/McCaw.


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