The Unnecessary Parts of the ‘Chargers Are Going to Leave’ Narrative

by on February 24, 2015 · 1 comment

in Culture, Economy, History, Media, Politics, San Diego, Sports

end is near

By Doug Porter

The prospect of San Diego losing its beloved football team provides an opportunity to examine the worst of what the local media does in terms of misleading people about the relative importance of news.

Many stories in the local news media outlets seem based upon the belief this potential business decision (by an entity dependent on taxpayer largess for its profitability) is of critical importance for San Diegans. While I certainly appreciate the emotional connection between fans and sporting organizations, much of what I’ve read in the last few days is simply not connected to any reality that I’m aware of.

Putting this in perspective, the Chargers “fan base” ranks in the bottom half of National Football League, according to data compiled by Nielsen Scarborough, who looked at the percentage of adults who have watched, attended or listened to the NFL team in that market in the past year. Despite what team boosters say, San Diegans are decidedly lukewarm about most pro sports.

Polling paid for by UT-San Diego and 10News says less than one in three adults would even care to support the beloved Bolts if they flee the market. The team itself has long known there wasn’t enough support for any ballot measure enabling new stadium construction.

The End of the World as We Know It

Let’s look at two stories of the Chargers-leaving-as-a-horror-story genre: UT-San Diego sports writer Kevin Acee’s claim that the break-up would “be the biggest story in our city’s history” and Matt Potter’s Reader story linking the Bolts bolting to the imminent downfall of the Daily Fishwrap.

I have no problem with writing about the impending departure of the football team. But I see no need to get hysterical about it. After all, it’s not like the Spanos family is struggling to put food on the table, as opposed to the TWO THIRDS of students in San Diego Unified who qualify for free or reduced price lunches.

Acee’s column at UT-San Diego is so over-the-top, I initially dismissed it. Lo and behold, it’s being taken seriously, at least amongst the faithful in social media.

….We’re forever grateful to Juan Cabrillo for sailing into San Diego Bay in the 16th Century. We live in admiration of Alonzo Horton’s good eye for location. There were a couple international expositions here in the early 20th Century that essentially gave birth to Balboa Park, including our pioneering zoo. We can’t forget the 144 people who perished on PSA Flight 182. We’ll never live down Enron by the Bay.

But losing the team we so often rally around — a billion-dollar business with all its history and personalities and charitable contributions and the connections you all have made with the team and with each other through the team — would be bigger.

The Black Helicopters of the Local Bourgeoisie

Over at the San Diego Reader we learn:

News that the team is partnering with the Oakland Raiders on an L.A. stadium in case San Diego taxpayers don’t come up with enough scratch for one here could spell the beginning of the end for the U-T, already struggling under the ownership of voluble real estate mogul Douglas Manchester.

We’re told that the amount of advertising relating to the Chargers at the daily paper is:

…a tightly held secret, but is believed by some to be one of the operation’s last dependable streams of cash.

I have no doubt that UT-San Diego is but a shell of what it once was. I have no doubt that the economics of the modern day news business make a daily paper an ever-increasingly iffy proposition.

I can also tell you that “some” writers who used to work for the Reader sat in my living room Friday night and told me about how writer pay and pages published at San Diego’s Sort-of-Alt-Weekly have rapidly declined.

But wait! It gets better.

eye-of-providence-dollar-billFrom the imminent collapse of the UT, the Reader story moves on to the Grand Plan afoot to reconstitute the daily as a non-profit by “Malin Burnham and his yet-to-be-identified backers” including potentially one of whom “may” have an interest.

One in particular who may have an interest in the fate of the once-proud GOP journal is Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, the La Jolla Democratic billionaire who is rooting for Hillary Clinton in next year’s presidential derby. He already has helped finance San Diego State University’s public broadcasting operation and the non-profit Voice of San Diego news and opinion website.

From there we’re led to the smoke-filled back room of the restaurant formerly known as The Bamboo Lounge…

Like Burnham a supporter of Republican-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher for mayor in 2013, Jacobs is helping to stage what is billed as the first annual fundraiser for the California Young Democrats of the San Diego Region, featuring a galaxy of Democratic office holders and putative candidates.

So all that’s left is the connection with the Illuminati and the United Nations’ Agenda 21. And if you hadn’t noticed already, Irwin (Jacobs) and Illuminati both start with the letter “I.”

While I’ll (See? Another “I” word) be the first to admit that following the money is a good method of reporting, especially when it comes to wealthy people and politics, I also believe that excessive conspiracism is both a waste of time and leads to people feeling helpless.

Winning from the ground up in politics and society is hard enough without this kind of crap.

ESPN Sports ranter Keith Oberman has, by the way, announced he’ll support the concept of a football stadium in Carson, provided that one of teams involved is willing to change its name to the Carson Johnnies.


This is an excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at our online media partner, San Diego Free Press.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

OB Dude February 27, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Personally, I do not care what the Chargers do as long as they do not get one penny from the people of San Diego…no corporate welfare.

I had to post this and add to the Chargers saga…a great piece from the READER


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