Lack of coverage of Saturday’s rally displays the U-T’s tea-party favoritism and spurs letter-writing campaign.

by on February 27, 2011 · 24 comments

in Civil Rights, Media, Popular, San Diego

The total lack of coverage by the San Diego U-T of Saturday’s 1000-strong demonstration in support of the Wisconsin protests here on the steps of the County Admin Building displays the local daily’s favoritism toward the tea parties.

And it has spurred us to mount a letter-writing campaign to the U-T. (See below.)

Here is the OB Rag’s coverage of the rally from yesterday.

In today’s (Sunday, Feb. 27) Sunday edition of the Union-Tribune and in its online SignOnSanDiego, there is coverage of protests in Libya, of course, and even of nation-wide protests in support of the Madison unions, with a few words of how a thousand people rallied in Denver, CO, and briefly of how there were rallies in New York City and even in Los Angeles.  But still not one word nor one photo of the San Diego Labor Council sponsored event on Saturday the 26th.

The U-T did have coverage of the Black  History Month Parade and that a couple hundred people watched it, but nothing about San Diego’s unions and progressive organizations holding the largest non-electoral demonstration within San Diego in months, and how up to a 1,000 people attended.

Our local daily, historically conservative despite significant demographic changes in its home town and new ownership that vowed to represent the community, did not publish one word, not one tidbit about the demonstration. Yet on last Wednesday of this past week, it carried an article and photo of a local tea party event where less than twenty people attended.  Plus on Friday, they published a reference to that same event, its sponsor and spokesperson.

So the “new” U-T covered a tiny tea party thing but intentionally ignored a labor-sponsored event fifty times the tea party event size. What do you call this, besides favoritism toward a politics that holds onto a radical, far-right agenda?

The U-T is supposed to represent all of us, and inform the community at-large about important news and events. Yet a large progressive event that does not set well with the editorial policies of its owners gets no mention. This must be countered! We must do something!

What to do?

We have something … – please join us …:

We are today mounting a letter-writing campaign to the San Diego U-T !

Write a letter to them complaining of their lack of coverage – and then send us a copy – or leave a comment here below.  Please send us a copy so we can keep track – send it to us at our email:  obragblog@gmail.com

Here is the U-T‘s letter-writing requirements, reprinted verbatim:

San Diego UT
http://www.signonsandiego.com/letters-commentaries/#letters

To be considered for publication, a letter must include a daytime phone number and, if faxed or mailed, be signed. E-mail it to letters@uniontrib.com, or fax it to (619) 260-5081. You can also send it to Letters Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune, P.O. Box 120191, San Diego, CA 92112-0191.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar editordude February 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Here’s our first:

The “New UT” has failed its readers miserably just as the old UT used to do. There was no mention of the large rally that was held yesterday (Saturday, February 26) at the County Administration Bldg. where hundreds of people came out in the rain to support worker justice in Wisconsin and everywhere in these United States. In fact, there were rallies held yesterday all over the United States where tens of thousands showed up in solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin. There was no mention that yesterday in Wisconsin, over 100,000 people showed up in support of workers’ rights and collective bargaining. There was no mention that this outcry is really about the destruction of the middle class by greedy republicans whose middle name is “Profit.” The unions made us strong and must be strengthened — not destroyed.

Shelley Plumb
University City

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avatar editordude February 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

And another:

Just because you don’t like it and won’t cover it doesn’t mean that a thousand San Diegans who rallied on February 26 in support of working and middle class Americans don’t exist. Shame shame.

Anna Daniels
City Heights

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Here’s mine:

Dear Editor of the San Diego U-T:

I deplore the total lack of coverage by the San Diego U-T of Saturday’s 1000-strong demonstration in support of the Wisconsin protests here on the steps of the County Admin Building. By intentionally ignoring this large event the San Diego U-T’s favoritism toward the tea parties is plain.

In today’s (Sunday, Feb. 27) Sunday edition of the Union-Tribune and in its online SignOnSanDiego, there is coverage of protests in Libya, of course, and even some short coverage of nation-wide protests in support of the Madison unions, with a few words of how a thousand people rallied in Denver, CO, and briefly of how there were rallies in New York City and even in Los Angeles. But still not one word nor one photo of the San Diego Labor Council sponsored event on Saturday the 26th.

The U-T did have coverage of the Black History Month Parade and that a couple hundred people watched it, but nothing about San Diego’s unions and progressive organizations holding the largest non-electoral demonstration within San Diego in months, and how up to a 1,000 people attended.

Our local San Diego U-T, historically conservative despite significant demographic changes in its home town and new ownership that vowed to represent the community, did not publish one word, not one tidbit about the demonstration. Yet on last Wednesday of this past week, it carried an article and photo of a local tea party event where less than twenty people attended. Plus on Friday, they published a reference to that same event, its sponsor and spokesperson.

So the “new” U-T covered a tiny tea party thing but intentionally ignored a labor-sponsored event fifty times the tea party event size. What do you call this, besides favoritism toward a politics that holds onto a radical, far-right agenda?

The U-T is supposed to represent all of us, and inform the community at-large about important news and events. Yet a large progressive event that does not set well with the editorial policies of its owners gets no mention. This must be confronted by your editors and the community in general.

Frank Gormlie

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avatar Shelley Plumb February 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Great letter, Frank! Thanks for the rallying call!

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

This total lack of coverage by the “official press” – the U-T, and news from China how the government there blocked people from taking part in any rallies, reminds me of something Herbert Marcuse once said. (I had Marcuse as a prof at UCSD when I was an undergraduate there in the late sixties.) Marcuse loved to tell this story, about how after coming to the West, he used to ask other leftwing intellectuals who stayed behind in the Soviet Union why they stayed. They replied that individuals like he were allowed to speak, write books, and even shout from a street corner, but nobody really listened and was officially ignored. Whereas, those who stayed would whisper, and people crammed in to hear.

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avatar John Rippo February 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

The Union hasn’t been on my radar in many years. Its coverage of local news hasn’t matured in decades and there is simply no reason to spend money for it anymore.

That’s because he Union hasn’t changed since 1963, when JFK came to speak at SDSU. The Union didn’t even cover the story then. It makes no difference who owns it now, or what they claim their vision is. It’s irrelevant to the media needs of most San Diegans and that is why it is on its way out. It won’t be missed, either.

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 27, 2011 at 8:34 pm

John, I was there – I saw Kennedy when he whipped by in his open-air limo while I and many San Diegans stood on the sidewalks along University Avenue in North Park. I had taken off from junior high school and I remember thinking that he had too much make-up on. I hadn’t realized that the U-T didn’t cover it.

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avatar Molly February 27, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Yes, but … the u-t is still our daily and it still – despite everything else – is the best source for local news and what’s going on in ol’ San Dango. You cannot deny that, truthfully. We’ve all come to read between the lines over the decades. But there was this ever so slight optimism that with new owners there would be new attitudes in the editorial room. But it hasn’t come to be.

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avatar Marisag February 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

Oh Dear GOD, no it’s not! The TV stations websites are better sources of daily news….and that’s not saying a lot.

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avatar Molly February 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Oh, I forgot … please everybody write your letters. Don’t put it off. Do it now.

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avatar Rick Ward February 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Aint this why Da OB RAG was concieved and started in the first place?Twenty years removed from O.B (I’ve been in Northeast Tennesse since ’91) this crap is why I looked up the RAG as soon I bought my first computer last November!

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avatar Frank Gormlie February 28, 2011 at 9:42 am

Welcome Rick! Yes, you’re right, there dude. We began the OB Rag (both times) because of lack of fair news coverage. But when something like this happens, we got to push back.

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avatar Rick Ward February 28, 2011 at 2:49 am

Is the Sunshine on your staff aka Patty?

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avatar Patty Jones February 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

Hi Rick, the only AKA Patty has is “tech desk”! Can I help you with something?

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avatar Marisag February 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

The UT has a long history of trying to break unions at it’s own plants. They aren’t going to cover this fairly.

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avatar Jeff Light February 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I’m not sure how we missed covering Saturday’s event. I am looking into it.
Here is the editorial position we have taken:

Failures of leadership

The political theater being staged day after day in Wisconsin over the state budget and public-employee bargaining rights constitutes a horrendous failure of leadership all around.

The Republican governor and legislators have shown they are not just trying to balance the budget, but to also emasculate the power of public-employee unions overnight and without compromise. The Democratic senators, by fleeing the state for Illinois where they are out of reach of the state troopers sent by the governor to corral them back to Madison, have shown their real interest is obstructionism and not negotiation or compromise to resolve a very real budget crisis. And the unions, by not agreeing to financial concessions until very recently, demonstrated their opposition to shared sacrifice. Even President Barack Obama gets ticketed in our book for unnecessarily jumping into a state issue.

After two weeks, Wisconsin appears no closer to resolution. Republicans used parliamentary trickery to push the anti-union bill through the Assembly in the wee hours Friday, but the stalemate remains in the Senate. In days, the state will lose its ability to refinance its debt and will fall $165 million further into its $3.6 billion hole.

In the meantime, this fine mess has spread to Indiana and Ohio, where everyone is behaving equally badly.

This is not leadership. This is confrontation for the sake of ideology, not problem-solving.

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avatar Ken February 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

No mention of the break down around Walker’s inflexibility around denying collective bargaining rights nor coverage of every other point labor was willing to compromise and share sacrifice. Despite what ever the U-T is ticketing him for, President Obama isn’t honoring a campaign promise to join the picket line.

Because of the content omitted from that editorial along with that which was invented, Herb Klein would approve of it.

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avatar doug porter February 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm

i sent two emails to the UT regarding this. Jeff Light (editor) has responded above, and here’s another follow up from the news editor person:

Dear Mr. Porter,
We blew it. No simpler way to put it. I am told there was discussion that we would have something on the rally. The editor in charge that day is not in yet for me to find out what happened but this was in error.
Sincerely
Nancy Wyld
Newsroom Operations Manager

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avatar Donald Fournier February 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm

If the U-T won’t cover it, We will have to do it ourselves, grassroots stylie! I was there and I have lots of video from the Rally. Feel free to message me for copies of the speeches.

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avatar Frank Gormlie March 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

Today (Tuesday 3-1-11) the U-T did publish Carl Manaster’s letter to the editor about San Diego’s Saturday rally, edited of course, but they did leave in this: “I am disappointed with the U-T’s failure to cover this important demonstration of San Diego’s solidarity with Wisconsin’s workers.”

This was the first letter printed involved in our letter-writing campaign and the first letter to acknowledge Saturday’s rally of a thousand San Diegans rallying in the rain.

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avatar doug porter March 1, 2011 at 12:35 pm

perhaps it was all just a screw up on their part. they forgot to run today’s (tuesday) comics in the paper (yesterdays ran over again). nothing on facebook or their website about it so i guess they haven’t noticed.

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avatar Jackie Martin March 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Shame, shame, shame on the new owners of the Union Tribune.

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avatar Joan March 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

This is a FYI, not a copy of a letter to the UnTribune as a friend refers to it. Today, 3/6, they are covering a counterprotest rally in WI to counter the 3 weeks of union rallies. THAT they can cover! I can’t provide the link because I utterly refuse to give them another reader count on the article.

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avatar Patty Jones March 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Joan, we did see one letter earlier this week, but only after this campaign and Jeff Light’s visit to this page.

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