Home > Uncategorized > A Hard Day’s Night

A Hard Day’s Night

Well, I’m not quite sure how to explain what happened on the radio today. Honestly, I’m trying to sort through it all, still.

From 5:05 to around 5:20, I had a pretty heated exchange with Bob Rucker, the #1 guy at New Times. He called in to defend his paper following comments I made about the new editor Jim Mullin. Again, I don’t enjoy these kind of confrontations and I take no joy in the mud being thrown at New Times. They’re good people who normally do a good job.

But I have two important, and legitimate, questions for New Times. (1) Why did Bob Rucker decline my invitation to come on the show? I don’t believe anyone in media management has the right to turn down a media interview request. They go nuts if someone tries that with them; why should they be exempted? I think the community has a right to hear directly from Mssrs. Rucker and Mullin. I think Bob made a mistake tonight in dodging my question.

But more importantly is (2) Who exactly is Jim Mullin? He’s listed as the new editor of New Times and he came on board in January with zero fanfare. I don’t know Mr. Mullin and I have nothing against him personally, but I believe there are at least three examples that suggest he is a bad fit for the job. Keep in mind that Mullin doesn’t even live on the Central Coast. He lives in MIAMI, FLORIDA and tele-edits.

Anyway, the examples. First, I ask you to go Google “Jim Mullin Miami New Times” and see what you find. Mullin was forced to step down as editor of Miami New Times last August following a PUBLIC UPROAR (sound familiar?) because his paper outted a local public official. Following the publication, the man killed himself. Do the research yourself.

Next, is the NT cover story on the Grover Beach cop who killed himself. I have no objection to the article, but the cover photograph of the widow and children at the funeral bothered me deeply. It’s a clear invasion of privacy. That was Mullin’s call and caused much criticism.

And we all know about the meth story, followed by today’s “non-apology” from Mullin. He doesn’t apologize for the story, doesn’t admit any mistakes, but he only apologizes for the uproar. Oh.

All this in the space of six months??? In my opinion, the guy is a bad match for the job. Why does Bob Rucker need this guy? Could it be that they’re trying to “guss up” the paper a bit and give it more edge to make it easier to sell?

So don’t be surprised if the Shredder comes after me next week. But remember those two important questions: (1) Why won’t Bob Rucker take your phone calls and address your concerns and (2) Who is Jim Mullin and why does New Times need to suddenly embrace controversy?

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  1. Rick in Cayucos
    February 10, 2006 at 7:08 am

    The meth story was really the height of senseless irresponsibility. It just served no point, even more if the recipe is on the Internet. But that’s all well trod ground by now. What I’ve been surprised at is that I haven’t seen anywhere that Mullin is no doubt the same guy who oversaw the story in Miami that led to a guy killing himself the day that the New Times there ran a cover story that included some unproven and unsupported allegations about the guy’s development deals and sexual orientation.

    Seems Mullin is no stranger to charges of irresponsibility. And then this week’s “apology” where he only really apologized that people got upset. All very weak in my book. And then to make matters worse he prints a letter to the editor in which Shannon Peterson declares that her brother-in-law is a meth user! Does anyone else smell a possible law suit?

    Go Dave!

  2. Atascadero Mike
    February 10, 2006 at 7:13 am

    WOW! You had a wildcat by the tail in that woman from Cayucos.

    I had called and was going to express that although I was sympathetic to her opinion ref the degradation of women it was not necessarily proper for her to take all of the copies of that publication.

    It would be akin to a current event involving certain Muslim people who are offended by a certain cartoon. If they were to confiscate all of the papers depicting the cartoon it would also be inappropriate, aside from the fact that those papers are probably sold.

    Some Muslim people are offended by women who are portrayed wearing bikinis. Would it be proper for them to confiscate all publications with advertisements of women in swim wear? Of course not.

    I think that she lost her composure as some of your callers were making valid cases against her behavior and it was ironic that as you reduced her volume she protested, which is the very point of the issue being discussed.

    I thought you handled things quite well so don’t sweat it.

  3. Bob from San Luis
    February 10, 2006 at 7:40 am

    Well Dave, you earned your salary today! One thing I have admired about your on-air interactions is you keep your calm (mostly) no matter how provoked you get. Good on you, keep it up. The lady who was on first may have had a good point about the writing that upset her, but she lost it by being rude and argumentative with you on air. Too bad, she probably could have made her case and rallied support behind her cause. I hope that Bob Rucker accepts your offer to come on the show, I would really like to have him answer some calls from your listeners. If he has the nerve; we’ll see. Oh, and why is it that Republicans for the most part don’t support a living wage, much less even a minimum wage that can give a first time job seeker somewhat of a chance to make their life better? I know, you’ve got to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, but at minimum wage, those bootstraps don’t usually last long enough to bear up to continual pulling. The motivation for Abel’s bill probably is to diffuse the potential ballot measure which would call for a greater increase. Business as usual, no surprise.

  4. Rich from Paso
    February 10, 2006 at 8:54 pm

    What I don’t get is why no one asked that one guy why he worked for K-Mart for 15 and a half years, as he reiterated over and over again, if it was so bad. Obviously, either K-Mart did take care of him in those 15 and a half years, or he just got complacent and didn’t improve his skill set or simply didn’t look for a better paying job.

    Raising the minimum wage through government mandate ends up being another tax on consumers because all costs are eventually borne by the consumer. It’s an artificial way of making low-end, entry level job holders, i.e. teenagers, more prosperous. Very, very few people live on the the minimum wage. the K-Mart guy said that after his 15 1/2 years at K-Mart, he was predestined to only make $12/hour because of where the minimum wage was at the time. Lets do this: let’s set the minimum wage at $12/hour and cut out the middle man. If he is able to live on $12/hr, then why is he not advocating that as the minimum wage? Maybe he knows it would cost jobs?

    One last thing: what kind of jobs are available in SLO? If the area had any kind of manufacturing base, wages would naturally be driven up because there would be a business sucking up available labor. This is what happened in Wichita, KS. Boeing expanded production due to large numbers of orders. When the supply of labor became scarce, businesses like banks and flower shops, etc, were suddenly forced to hire more teenage help because most adults were working at Boeing. When the flower shops, etc. took the teenagers, places like McDonald’s were forced to pay more per hour. Last time I saw it, Wichita area McDonald’s were paying $7+/hour and the minimum wage is the national $5.15/hour. If there were businesses bringing capital and jobs into SLO instead of grapes, prisons and the service sector (the Central California staples) then maybe the minimum wage would be higher.

  5. AG
    February 11, 2006 at 12:33 am

    Why is it that a cetain segment of society thinks that anyone wanting to provide living wages to workers is a flaming liberal, socialist, communist. The conservatives don’t understand that we are all in this society together. Certainly, if a person risks his assets and time to develop and own a business, they should have some say in the wages they pay to their employees. But is it fair for business people to profit at the expense of the rest of society? The point that the opponents to a living minimum wage miss is that the entire tax paying population must provide for workers that don’t make a living wage. If this segment of the society denies workers a minimum wage, and also refuses to pay appropiate taxes to support those that need a helping hand to survive, we will quickly become a 2-layer society, with the serfs begging for the royal scraps.

  6. Tony from Pismo
    February 11, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Tough week, Dave, but you’ve certainly given us lots of good shows and stuff to think about. The New Times guy will never make it unless he actually moves here. Too far away.

  7. Rich from Paso
    February 12, 2006 at 4:46 am

    AG,
    People that disagree with you on the merits of minimum wage increase: 1) do have hearts and have genuine concern for their fellow man, and 2) don’t think proponents of minimum wage hikes are flaming liberal, socalist, and/or communists. I think the problem is that people in favor of the wage hike “feel” that it would be the best thing for someone trying to live on the minimum wage. If that person is out of school (HS or college) or supporting more than themselves, they would be better served with asistance programs that aren’t counter-productive. I have relatives that lives with me because they can’t afford their own place. They have four kids and both are employed. The problem is that the State of California says they make too much money for aid or subisidzed housing but they still can’t afford to live in Paso without help. California is just too damn expensive and a pittly $1.00 raise in the minimum wage isn’t going to make rent, gas, food or anything else cheaper in this state or this area. Actually, it may make them more expensive because business just raise prices to offset the additional cost. People need to get their head out of the sand and face the reality that this paradise we call home is an expensive one and we need for our elected representatives in Sacremento to stop giving our hard earned money away to every special interest group with their hand out and reform the way the government spends our money because too much of our money is just plain wasted .

  8. Rob
    February 13, 2006 at 7:39 pm

    Now I remember why I don’t read the Tribune, the New Times, or the BIG newspapers. They spend less time responsibly reporting the “NEWS”, and more time following their agenda.

  9. Anonymous
    February 13, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    That was the best. Don’t lose that segment it should be on the best of Congalton. Brett

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