Once again Union-Tribune ignores large labor rally in San Diego

by on April 5, 2011 · 17 comments

in Civil Rights, Labor, Media, Popular, San Diego

It happened again this morning (Tuesday, April 5).  The San Diego Union-Tribune ignored a large labor rally in downtown San Diego.

Last night in Civic Center Plaza, 400 to 500 people rallied and held a candle-lit vigil (see our posts here and here), and once again the main newspaper for San Diego did not run one article, not one picture with caption, not one word about it.

I say “once again” because it happened very recently ago on February 26th when a thousand San Diegans rallied in the rain in support of the working people of Wisconsin.  And back then we made a little stink about the lack of coverage and championed a letter-writing campaign to the U-T.  When one of our bloggers Doug Porter personally contacted the U-T about this, he even received a half-hearted apology from the editor, and one newsroom manager said they didn’t know how it was missed and hinted that because that rally was held on a weekend that somehow it was overlooked.

U-T editor Jeff Light wrote:

“I’m not sure how we missed covering Saturday’s event. I am looking into it.”

Nancy Wyld, the Newsroom Operations Manager said:

“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.”

So, the U-T has done it again.  Yesterday’s rally, “overlooked” again, was on a workday. No excuses – except ideological.

Many people, particularly working people, are not surprised.  One Teamster member told me at last night’s rally, when I told him that the daily had missed the rally in late February, his reply was “we should sue them to make them take out the word ‘union’.”

Back in late February, we compared the U-T‘s lack of covering the large demonstration by unions in front of the County Admin Building with how the newspaper gave one very small gathering of tea partiers (under 20 people) double coverage in one week, with photo.

We could mount another letter-writing campaign – many who receive and read the daily actually go to the “letters section” first – or we could simply chalk it up as another failure of our major daily to be a newspaper for all San Diego, and be satisfied in our knowledge and understanding that the San Diego U-T is STILL the mouthpiece for the Republican establishment in this eighth largest city in a country that champions “free speech” and “freedom of the press”.  What do you think?

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

mr fresh April 5, 2011 at 10:31 am

the UT has never championed free speech. except for the forty of so families that pull the strings behind these scenes here.


Gary Ghirardi April 5, 2011 at 10:47 am

Frank, What were the size of the protest rallies in San Diego in the sixties and early seventies. Also the rallies in the early eighties during Reagan’s missile defense initiatives?
How did the Union cover this period?


Frank Gormlie April 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

I do know that San Diego’s very first city-wide anti-Vietnam war demonstration was in 1969, there was a 10,000-strong march down Broadway and up 6th to a rally in Balboa Park. And the then SD Union was forced to cover it, I believe.

I do recall very vividly, that as we rounded one corner, there was San Diego’s own Harold Keen – one of the very few liberal media talking heads in town, and I led a chant of “Tell the truth, Harold Keen! Tell the truth!”

But, yes your implication is correct, the SD Union and all its permutations over the years have given very scant coverage of anything that threatened or dissed the Establishment.


Dickie April 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

I think this is why we need the obrag and other media outlets like it to tell other sides of the story. Maybe an “obrag” for all of SD, or even all of California. When I lived in OB, from 1972-79, in addition to the Rag there was the Door, an alternative paper for the whole city . . . and they raked the muck well [kudos to Doug who was a yeoman in that era], and even before my time there was the SD Free Press which I learned blew the lid off the long-time goodol’boy thing that was called SD city government.

Not only doesn’t the U-T deserve “Union” but it ain’t much of a triobune either . . .


Frank Gormlie April 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Dickie, without tooting our horn too much, I think the OB Rag has become the most progressive website in town, with nearly 50,000 visitors a month, 2900 posts, and 25 writers. And truth be told, most of our readers come from outside OB. So, it’s very tempting to think about broadening our coverage and to include more from the City and County. Dickie, thanks dude for the kudos and plug.


Shane Finneran April 6, 2011 at 7:27 am

Dickie is right, we need more alternative news choices. And hell yes, the OB Rag is an awesome example!


annagrace April 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

Not only did the U-T ignore the rally- no surprise there, but my city councilman Todd Gloria was MIA. No Tony Young- who recently threw the city sanitation workers under the trash truck. No David Alvarez. No Marti Emerald- the only council member who entertained the thought of supporting a resolution to affirm the city workers’ right to collective bargaining. Not a one of them stood beside the city workforce and their constituents. I find it as puzzling as it is distressing.


Frank Gormlie April 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

Has anyone seen any TV coverage of last night’s rally? I’d be interested in whether anyone else saw ANY media coverage. As we approached the rally along 3rd Ave, we saw one TV truck. But I have not seen any television of the vigil and rally. Has anyone else?


Tom Cairns April 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

In Humboldt County, at the Eureka courthouse, over 200 teachers, nurses and public workers rallied, then marched 5 blocks through the city to the Labor Temple. The Times-Standard has a 5 x 7 photo of the courthouse rally, plus two smaller pictures of the marchers making their way to the Labor Temple. All on page 2.


dave rice April 5, 2011 at 9:07 pm

While I’m not trying to insinuate the U/T is anything short of a conservative mouthpiece that’s rapidly declining in relevance, even in a town that has no other significant daily print edition other than the one most of us in the city never see that thinks northern San Diego is more properly Los Angeles del Sur, I’ve got to think that 200 Eurekans is a lot more than 400-500 San Diegans…


ss April 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm

didn’t even know there was a rally My bad. No press of any kind other than this one


ss April 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm

the UT did cover the opening of Hodad’s two


Rick Ward aka mr.rick April 6, 2011 at 7:04 am

Frank, easy buddy, The most progressive publication in San Diego? Surely S.D. isn’t exactly a bastion of liberal thought. For real, I’ve always thought San Diego was fairly liberal. You can’t judge the people by their largest newspaper. The stats you mention in your comment are what caught my interest.50,000 readers a month! When we’re discovered we’ll all be famous. The big paper is never going to cover our causes. And even if they did, we wouldn’t believe them.We’d have to depend on ourselves(the Rag) to tell it like it is. As for most of your readers not living in O.B. goes. “You can take the boy out of Ocean Beach,but, you can’t take Ocean Beach out of the boy.


Frank Gormlie April 6, 2011 at 8:34 am

Right on Rick! I think I said “the most progressive website…” – which I maintain is still true. We certainly have friends in publications such as CityBeat, Voice of San Diego, and even at the Reader, the East County Magazine, but in terms of content and readership, that statement still stands.


tj April 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

“Newspapers” (& the media in general) are largely just Propaganda machines for their very affluent owners.

The fact that people will actually pay to be influenced is the amazing thing.

“Brainwash me, here’s my $$$” …


annagrace April 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm

The letters section today included one that was critical of the U-T for not covering the We Are One Rally. The letter was followed by what was essentially a free ad for a tea party event. The slime factor is not limited to online commentators. Who is the letters editor?


Frank Gormlie April 7, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Also saw those today, thanks annagrace. I also saw one from someone in OB decrying the blaming of the economic mess on public workers and their unions.


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