Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I've Got Nothing to Say about Nothing

As others have reported, including Craig Smith:

Documentary filmmaker Sam Tyler will be rolling his camera at the Santa Barbara Farmers' Market on Cota Street this Saturday, September 15th, from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. His film crew wants to talk with people who support McCaw and the News-Press.

I'll try to avoid the easy snide line like "I guess Tyler won't mind doing nothing for 87 minutes" and ask the question that fascinates me more: Why isn't he interviewing all the people who don't seem to care one way or the other? When we walk the dogs in the morning on our various greyhound-nose-approved routes through San Roque it strike me how many News-Press copies still await what can't be more than a 5 minute read at the end of people's driveways. My guess is the majority of people still taking the paper aren't doing it to support Wendy or give the middle finger to labor. But then why? Here are the possibilities, as I see them:
  1. They really don't know what's going on. We can't flatter ourselves and think everyone is scouring the blogs and the Indy for the inside story of the News-Press melt-down. And if you just read the News-Press, you won't know very much about it, after all. Of course we can easily take this one step further, as 1/5 of Americans can't find their country on a map. Sadly, 4/5 of Americans can find the YouTube video of Miss Teen South Carolina botching a question about the same. And can you personally believe how out of it Britney seemed at the VMAs.....
  2. "It's not my fight, man." To fix this matter, I'm hoping to instate a draft, so every Santa Barbaran learns what's it's like to work for Wendy McCaw. McCaw, of course, will not complain, as of late she's used to having employees who know little about journalism and those forced to work for her can't expect much pay. It's too easy to feel uninvolved when it's other people's children watching their careers and journalistic ethics die there.
  3. Inertia. No doubt the majority of folks got the News-Press and will get the News-Press. Do they care if it's good or bad? Nope, it just has to be at the end of the driveway every morning. They ask for nothing, and they shall receive it in abundance.
OK, now I've depressed myself.

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Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

I've also found myself wondering why some folks still subscribe... I vote for inertia. Just too much work to unsubscribe...

1:39 PM  
Anonymous Righteous Dude said...

I'm one of the probably hundreds of former News-Pravda subscribers who canceled their subscriptions long ago, but to whom the N-P refuses to stop delivering. Unfortunately, I don't have a bird cage or fish to wrap.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

I totally get that some people don't know or care about The News-Press mess, but I guess what confounds me is how they can tolerate the quality.

To be fair, I don't actually read the paper. But I look at the cover every day, and all the main stories are either AP or written by Scott Steepleton. And the few local stories not written by him are from newbies.

I guess my point is that the paper can't possibly be any good, right? I mean, I subscribe to a couple of magazines that I look forward to every week. I might not know or care about internal politics at those publications, but I would certainly notice if the quality was in the toilet. And I would definitely cancel if that was the case.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I confess... I get the paper out of the lack of ability to obtain three things in one, easy to carry, place:
1) local sports scores
2) the funnies
3) dear abby.

Once I can find this together elsewhere, not on a laptop, the subscription ends.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Al Bonowitz said...

I think anonymous hits it right on the head. And I don't blame him.

I'm a serious newspaper reader who demands a serious newspaper. But I also demand those features ... my father taught me to read newspapers by introducing me to the daily comics at a young age.

And for better or for worse (sorry), those features are syndicated. With syndication comes a non-compete clause, so the Sound or the Indy couldn't publish Dear Abby or any of the N-P's current comics lineup even if they wanted.

Most local sports scores are phoned in. It's up to Jeramy to decide if he'd like to set up the infrastructure for that. It would take an early infusion of time and money, but it's just a matter of getting coaches into the habit and providing the space on a daily basis. I would think that any coach who is still upset over the N-P's treatment of Zant et al wouldn't mind making an additional phone call.

In-depth coverage would be another thing, but if someone wanted to hit Wendy in the wallet (I know, she would barely notice), in investment in local sports coverage would be a good place to begin.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all respect to David Letterman I came up with ten things I like about the News Press:

10. No pesky award-winning reporters

9. A co-publisher named "Nipper"

8. It put an end to all the shenanigans at the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce

7. It buys used computers for its editors with child pornography already downloaded

6. It can be read from front to back in 5 minutes

5. Now that Starshine Roshell, Barney Brantingham and John Zant have left I can finally tolerate The Independent

4. When I canceled my subscription I continued to receive it for months thereafter

3. Its lawyers can outbill my lawyers

2. I learned about the basil shortage

1. There really are only 9 good things about the News Press

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Observer said...

1. While the NP is a shadow of its former self as regards local coverage, I simply continue to subscribe while hoping that the ship will eventually right itself.

2. The comics are an indispensible start to my day.

3. I also read the Daily Sound, Independent, Blogabarbara, Edhat, Craig Smith and George among other things for the local take.

The diverse and varied points-of-view regarding a specific subject from these sources put me in mind of the seven blind men asked to describe the elephant or the film "Rashomon."

Somewhere within it all resides the "truth."

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Starshine said...

This is brilliantly written, smartly argued. It was a pleasure to read. Thanks, George.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous city watcher said...

I gave up my subscription months ago, but I am constantly sorry about it. As "Observer", I think it important to have all points of view, including those with which one disagrees.

As a result, I go to the library once a week or so and catch up (quickly!) on the local news — and editorials.

Today, I was lucky to find a copy left on top of the rack by the LAT. Interesting to read the editorial on the Makah whale killing that gave no mention of tribal rights and the truly big issue of the conflict between tribal rights and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Few things, I think, are truly one-sided, exept perhaps Flatland.

8:37 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

Slightly off topic George, but someone mentioned Jeramy from the Sound, and I wonder what any of you folks think about his opinion piece yesterday introducing the Conservative Turtle? Is he trying to be MC Confrontation Light?

I'm actually surprised none of your pack has tried to completely demolish the Sound for its metamorphosis into a right wing mouthpiece. I know there's been some grousing about John Stossel and Robert Novak being printed in there, but this comes from the heart and soul of the paper itself. Are you guys going to boycott his paper like you have the News-Press?

8:48 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

still get the paper for the comics?!? Really?

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still take it (and feel guilty), not only because I read the comics first every morning but also for the obituaries. Those are the only real news in the paper!

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still get the News Press because:
1) My dog is trained to get the paper from the end of the driveway. He would be lost without his 'job' to do every morning
` 2) I enjoy reading 'unbiased' (ha ha) coverage in the NP, and comparing them to the real story from Craig Smith, the Indy and others. It makes for some laughs every morning.

9:54 AM  
Blogger George said...

McC, it seems the Conservative Turtle is some group from which Jeramy Gordon is willing to publish editorials. I have no problem with everyone having a voice. I do wish papers ran a mix from left to right, and I mean from really left (MoDo doesn't count, say) to right. But as far as I can tell, Gordon's obviously more conservative slant on the editorial page has not spilled over into news coverage. That's the problem with the News-Press. Wendy and Travis can write all the odd rants they want on the editorial page if they didn't pollute the news stories and the way they got covered. It might be nice if they ran a few dissenting letters to the editor every once in awhile, too. The Sound seems willing to do that, and they even have a blog with comments, of all things.

As for the Conservative Turtle, first, they play that same "woe is us" card that drives me nuts--the conservative movement hasn't ruled the roost since Newt's ascendancy in 1994? (Forget Clinton, who got neutered politically by what he did sexually.) Please. If us "politically correct" folks were so powerful, there never would have been an Iraq War.

Second, read this passage and tell me it's not frightening: "We are now immune to names like 'homophobic,' 'sexist,' 'racist,' 'hater,' 'right winger,' 'hate monger,' 'war monger,' or any other kind of 'monger'....We now consider these names a badge of honor."

I guess you can't be a Conservative Turtle and be gay, a woman, a person of color, a Democrat, full of love, or pro-peace. But you can stand tall with the KKK and some other fine American traditionalists....

10:06 AM  
Anonymous wingnut said...

Hey, the NP is a fine newspaper for one and only one thing. It tells you exactly what Wendy, Scott, and Travis, have determined you should know. Every article, story, editorial, letter and even the ads are selected to reflect their bias.

The problem of course is what they think I should know is not actually news in any way I understand the notion; it isn't interesting because they don't have that much to say; and it's vaguely insulting if that's what they think about their readers.

Sometimes the paper used to make my blood boil about local issues so I subscribed, but now it's just plain inconsequential. It just isn't a business worth caring about anymore. I've moved on.

10:34 AM  
Blogger GF said...

I know someone who won't cancel the NP because it's been there on the driveway for the past 30 years; any other "traditionalists" out there?
I'm amazed that some have said it would take all of five whole minutes to read that rag -- they must include every single classified ad in their perusal, is all I can figure.

11:13 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

Two things in response to your comment George:

If us "politically correct" folks were so powerful, there never would have been an Iraq War.

Many of your PC idols in office right now that had a say on granting the President authority to go to war voted FOR it. Even John Kerry, who voted for it before he voted against it, or something.

I guess you can't be a Conservative Turtle and be gay, a woman, a person of color, a Democrat, full of love, or pro-peace. But you can stand tall with the KKK and some other fine American traditionalists....

C'mon George. You're falling into his trap. It's the labeling that he's professing not to cower or bow to, and you go and back him right up by labeling his group exclusionary. You're better than that.

I already told the guy in an email that I'm not backing his site until he cleans it up. He's got code coming through, it's got some spelling/grammatical errors, and it plain doesn't look good to throw a site out there that's not finished. Just one guys opinion.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

Anonymous (9:54 AM) - The dog comment is the best I've heard yet for keeping the News-Press. Between you and me, though, I bet he wouldn't notice if you switched to the LA Times.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course he would.LA Times is a "heavy weight".

4:00 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

Conservative Turtle response to George -

You did indeed fall into the trap and thank you for providing an example of what we were talking about for all to see. The commentary that appeared in the Daily Sound can be seen verbatim at www.conservativeturtle.com, for those who would like to go to the source instead of seeing your selective out of context quote.

You did exactly what we predicted from the "slanderous name-calling left". You took our words out of context in a sorry attempt to discredit us, slander us and call us names. Here is the accuate quote with the part put back in that you substituted dots for:

"We have had enough, and we are now immune to names like “homophobic”, “sexist”, “racist”, “hater”, “right winger”, “hate monger”, “war monger”, or any and every other kind of monger. We are confident enough in our self beliefs to know that these names do not reflect reality, but are used by special interest groups in an attempt to intimidate us, and to discount what we have to say if we resist their agendas. We now consider these names badges of honor, because they show that we have successfully irritated another socialist political opportunist."

We will accept the KKK insinuation as our first badge of honor. Bravo! One for the Turtles.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

For the record, you most certainly can be a Conservative Turtle and be gay, a woman, a person of color, a Democrat, full of love, or pro-peace.

In fact, every one of us turtles fits into at least one of those categories. The only requirement is that you hold a conservative viewpoint.

It is interesting to see how George makes the automatic association of "sexist" with "anti-woman", "racist " with "anti-person of color", and "hate-monger" with "conservatives". This is the exactly stereotype we are referring to in the commentary.

I hate to be the first to point this out, but there are female "sexists", there are racists "of color", there are liberal "haters".

Despite the insinuation, we as turtles pay no attention to sexual orientation, race, party affiliation. And what genuine American is not pro-peace?

Both liberal and conservative Americans have this same goal, it is the approach that my differ. We believe that weakness invites aggression, as it has throughout history, beginning in the elementary school yard. Unfortunately, it is human nature for evil people to take advantage of the weak.

We believe in the successful Reagan philosophy of "Peace through Strength", and the Theodore Roosevelt policy of "Speak softly and carry a Big Stick". We also believe that since the re-election, El Presidente Bush has turned into a liberal and decided to begin enacting his corporate globalist policy, rather than doing all that can be done to protect America and end the war, so I think we can all agree to disassociate from Bush.

Remember, there is a difference between a conservative and a Republican. Many Republicans are liberals, including Bush. Many Democrats are conservative, such as Joe Lieberman. Turtles are not Republicans, nor are they Democrats. Turtles support whichever party acts the most conservative. Traditionally this has been Republicans, since Bush, we are not so sure.

1:53 PM  

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