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Will The Tribune Print This Letter????

Editor –
I was disappointed to read your editorial criticizing a recent No on J flyer where I was quoted at the end of the editorial implying I shared your criticism of the No on J flyer.

Your editorial fails to mention that your reporter contacted me claiming he was on a deadline for a story about campaign flyers. He asked me if I had seen this one and I told him I had not. He claimed your logo had been used to imply support for an issue (he did not say which). Having not seen the flyer I told him it was common practice. I then went on in some detail describing a flyer I was familiar with from the last election. It was sent to registered Democrats (by Republican Jerry Lenthall) encouraging Democrats to vote for Kerry, Boxer, Capps, Jenkins and… ta, da… Lenthall! The local Democratic Party filed a complaint against Lenthall with the state’s Polical Fair Practices commission.

While the Tribune got copies of this complaint, at that time this practice apparently did not merit a full editorial. Wrong ox? I told your reporter that such flyers as Lenthall’s commit the fallacy of composition and are legal but sleazy. I then commended his attention to the work of Prof. Jesse Delia of the Univesity of Illinois who studies persuasion, especially in the political context.

So, next time you get around to brickbats, award yourselves a small one for less than accurate interviewing, and a great big one for putting my comments in the same sentence as the No on J flyer, thereby implying I was commenting on it when in fact I was not, not having seen it. Of course by writing this sentence you yourselves commit the fallacy of composition.
Legal? Maybe. Sleazy? Definitely.

Raymond Zeuschner, PhD
Communication Studies – Cal Poly

    October 15, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    After reading The Tribune’s refreshingly fact-free endorsement of Measure J in Sunday’s paper, do accuracy or objective data even matter anymore?

    Choosing to completely ignore the impartial analysis by CalTrans, SLOCOG, Regional Quality Water Control Board, the city of SLO, the Air Pollution Control District, and the County’s Counsel, The Tribune has decided to side with PR, to tell us to trust ‘good guys’ in our community who only have the greater good at heart (just like The Trib!).

    Very sad living in the reality based community as it grows smaller and smaller.

  2. chuckman
    October 15, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    Amazing “editorial.” Was it written especially for the Trib by Dave Cox himself? I mean, that editorial basically repeated all the Pro J talking points with little, if any, independent analysis.

  3. publisher chip visci
    October 15, 2006 at 7:34 pm

    1/3/06 SLO Tribune, in the editorial spot, page B4:

    “A Letter From The Publisher
    Our goal: to earn your trust daily
    By [Tribune publisher] Chip Visci

    “Today is my one-year anniversary as publisher and president of The Tribune, and that seems like a good time to share some thoughts about out goals and to celebrate what our journalists have accomplished this past year.

    “The good news is that we have more satisfied customers. For the second year in a row, readers say The Tribune has improved in a variety of ways, according to a =n independent public opinion survey conducted by the firm of Clark, Martire & Bartolomeo, Inc.

    “The survey was conducted between August and November, and asked readers to rate how much they agree or disagree with statements about The Tribune, such as, this newspaper:
    •”Is a paper you really trust.”
    • “Does an excellent job investigating claims and statements made by government, civic and business leaders.”
    • “Really cares about people like you.”
    • “Is extremely useful to you personally.”

    “In every key category — credibility, localness, usefulness, ease of use, stories that accurately reflect the communities we serve, investigative journalism — our readers said we have improved.

    “We’re proud of that, and intend to improve again in 2006.

    “How will we go about it?

    “By staying focused on our primary mission of covering what’s important in San Luis Obispo County and by being as fair as possible.

    “It’s by design that nearly every day you will see three or four local stories on the front page, and you will rarely see a national or foreign story in the lead news position.

    “Our mission is to be local and useful. Inside the A section, we have plenty of national and world news, prominently displayed.

    “We know we can’t please all of the people all of the time. Case in point: Morro Bay reader Kerrigan Mahan wrote to me the day after Christmas registering his dissatisfaction on a number of issues The trigger, however, was our Christmas Day front page, which featured the headline “Peace on Earth, good will to all” and a lighted candle resembling Earth. We published the day’s top news inside the newspaper that day.

    “Who’s minding the store over there?” Mr. Mahan asked. “Let’s please try to think these things through before we go to press.”

    “Of course, we do think things through before we go to press — it’s just that we don’t always reach the conclusion some readers would prefer.

    “Mr. Mahan urged us to “get tougher with everything and everybody. … Promise that you’re not pulling any punches on any level. If a story is great and unpopular, you’re going to print it. Get people excited, and back it up with commitment. Write from the heart and mean it. Write the truth and believe it. Don’t sugarcoat it, because sugarcoated is not interesting.”

    “I assure you, our journalists are more than capable of doing the tough story, and they are allergic to sugarcoating. They are passionate about their work and deeply committed to fairness and balance. They also are sensitive people who know that the definition of news encompasses the good as well as the bad, the nuanced as well as the clear-cut. And when we err, we’ll admit our errors.

    “I believe The Tribune’s role is to be a good friend to this community. Good friends tell each other the truth. They help solve problems. They engender trust.

    “To continue to earn your trust, at the very core of everything we do will these values:
    • A commitment to fairness and accuracy.
    • A respect for differences of opinion.
    • Affection for what makes the Central Coast such a wonderful place to live.

    “Every morning, when our presses roll, we will be working hard to do right by all of you.

    “Let us know what you think of our work. We may not always agree, but we can always learn from each other.”

  4. joseph pulitzer
    October 15, 2006 at 7:44 pm

    “…Nothing less than the highest ideals, the most scrupulous anxiety to do right, the most accurate knowledge of the problems it has to meet, and a sincere sense of moral responsibility will save jourrnalism from a subservience to business interests, seeking selfish ends, antagonistic to public welfare.”

    Joseph Pulitzer; The College of Journalism, contribution, North American Review, May, 1904

  5. canons of journalism
    October 15, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    ” …Partisanship, in editorial comment which knowingly departs from the truth, does violence to the best spirit of American journalism; in the news columns it is subversive of a fundamental principle of the profession.”

    from Canons of Journalism, 1923; the chief author was H. J. Wright, founder of the New York Globe

  6. spj code of ethics
    October 15, 2006 at 8:17 pm

    ” … Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

    Journalists should:
    • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
    • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
    • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
    • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
    • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.”

    from: Code of Ethics; Society of Professional Journalism, http://www.spj.org/ethicscode

  7. chuckman
    October 16, 2006 at 3:03 am

    Why should anyone be surprised by any of this? The Tribune is a business rapidly losing readers to the Internet. They want Measure J to pass so they can get the advertising dollars from al those big Box stores.

    And the Trib screwed up in its reporting — is that what the Poly professor is claiming? It’s just a bunch of kids over there, still learning as they go.


  8. joseph pulitzer
    October 16, 2006 at 3:28 am

    The high ideals that I have is why it was voted to have Dan Rather and Mary Mapes win an award for their great piece of fiction about the Bush awol story that used forged documents. And Rather’s courage to still stand by the story because he thinks it probably is true, even thought it is plain to all that it was totally false.

  9. Anonymous
    October 16, 2006 at 6:10 am

    I read and reread the Tribune editorial and can’t find anytihng to disagree with. Besides, it doesn’t matter anyway, not with this mysterious “No on J” campaign. WHO ARE THESE DONORS???? Who are the people giving money to defeat Measure J? Can someone please explain how you can donate money and not be identified? I thought it was required by the law. I would never vote for any campaign who refused to identify key players.

  10. Anonymous
    October 16, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    “I read and reread the Tribune editorial and can’t find anytihng to disagree with. Besides, it doesn’t matter anyway….”

    Ernie is that you?. Glad to see you found Dave’s Blog.

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