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U-T San Diego’s New TV Show Asks Political Reporter How He Voted

U-T San Diego’s new television show, UT-TV, debuted this morning.

Aired 5/29/12 on KPBS News.

U-T San Diego’s new television show, UT-TV, debuted this morning. And the first guest on the show was a timely one: the paper’s political reporter, Craig Gustafson. He was there to talk about the mayoral election. But the first question posed by host B.R. Smith was unusual, given the normal standards of newspaper objectivity.

UT-TV hosts Scott Kaplan, Amber Mesker and Billy Ray Smith in their first broadcast.
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Above: UT-TV hosts Scott Kaplan, Amber Mesker and Billy Ray Smith in their first broadcast.

And the first guest on the show was a timely one: the paper’s political reporter, Craig Gustafson, who was there to talk about the mayoral election. But the first question posed by host B.R. Smith was unusual, given the normal standards of newspaper objectivity.

"Craig, you’re our expert on this matter, on this subject, and so, I hope this doesn’t come across as me misspeaking, but, who are you voting for?" Smith asked.

Gustafson politely declined to answer the question.

"I have already voted but I’m not going to say who I voted for to be fair to each of the candidates," he said.

Then the show’s co-host, Scott Kaplan, weighed in with a reference to the paper’s endorsement of Carl DeMaio for mayor.

"Well that and the paper has already endorsed a candidate and if you didn’t vote for that candidate, it could be trouble city," Kaplan said. "You know what I’m saying?"

U-T San Diego has come under fire since it was bought by Doug Manchester and John Lynch. Critics suggest they will taint their paper’s news coverage with their editorial views.

The newspaper has run front-page editorials endorsing the owners’ plans for a Convention Center along the waterfront. Audio of the editorial board’s interview with mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher showed editor Jeff Light saying they wanted to defeat candidate Bob Filner.

Journalists in San Diego took to Twitter to comment on the new television show this morning.

San Diego Journalists on Twitter

Even Matt Hall, U-T San Diego's new columnist and former political reporter, weighed in.

Matt Hall on Twitter

The U-T owners have said they plan to expand their television show to a cable channel in the future.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 29, 2012 at 6:51 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

In all seriousness, does Old Man Manchester have **any** limitations to what he will do to monopolize power in San Diego?

I have likened this developer cum political activist cum mistress-keeper cum divorcee cum "news"paper mogul to an octopus - a slithering, slimy, multi-tentacle creature who wants to finish off his senior years by turning San Diego into his own personal palpable playground, slithering one of his tentacles into every sphere of influence in the city.

His purchase of the *PRAVDA UT* put him at the helm of our largest print media source.

He has fingered Carl DeMaio as his personal pick for mayor, knowing a DeMaio Mayor will give him means to slither one of his tentacles into city hall so he can manipulate the operations of our city government.

But this isn't good enough for our multi-tentacled slimy friend.

It's not enough power for Mr. Manchester.

Now this egomaniac needs to penetrate into local television just in case there are a few gullible followers he hasn't reached with his ochred print outlet.

Perhaps the target are some backwoods hillbillys incapable of reading who need dullard-style local television in the fashion of FOX "news" to hypnotize them onto Old Man Mancheter's Papaganda translated via a busty blonde "journalist" with a crucifix dangling between her ample open-blouse bosom.

Slithering, slimy, fondly, tentacle-wielding Manchester is an ego-centric psychopath.

Mussolini from the balcony-style self-glorification and public gratification, Rupert Murdoch-style jaundiced journalistic slander, and cartoon's Mr. Dithers-style loony eccentricity and desire to amass totalitarian, plutocratic power over a region he treats as his personal laboratory.

This man is a dangerous whacko and needs to be halted immediately.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | May 30, 2012 at 7:37 a.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

Even for you that is quite a rant. Would you care to propose a reasonable limit on how many news sources one person should be allowed to own? Would you like to discuss journalistic rules for reporting on voting or elections?

If not, have a good time ranting.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 30, 2012 at 8:57 a.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

A TV show with Kaplan, a bimbette and Billy Ray to round it off? Look out Faux!

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Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | May 30, 2012 at 12:13 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

Ooh, cute pink laptop, Amber!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 30, 2012 at 12:46 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

@Ilk, lol

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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | May 30, 2012 at 1:52 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

I can't imagine why anyone would be surprised.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 30, 2012 at 3:54 p.m. ― 2 years, 3 months ago

Benz,

Something as outrageous as this "news" program gets an outrageous response from me.

I appreciate your desire to discuss what makes good journalism, but this is so far gone it doesn't even warrant a serious discussion.

This "UT-TV" is a big, hot mess.

It's like a real-life episode of *Anchorman*.

But since you asked for specifics, here are a few high-level dont's as far as journalistic standards go:

(1) if a newspaper is bought by a wealthy developer, it's probably not a great idea to put the owner's development agenda in color illustrations right on the front page.

(2) likewise, political endorsements should be reserved for the editorial page, not prominent areas where people expect objective articles.

(3) Manchester stated an objective of his newly purchased print is to "promote San Diego" or be a cheerleader for the city. This is fine if you are a tourism agency, but a newspaper should be reporting the facts regardless of whether or not they champion our city.

(3) the UT's general editor Jeff Light shouldn't be singling out a specific mayoral candidate as someone they want to make sure loses. How can anyone expect anything fair in regards to reporting on Mr. Filner in the *PRAVDA UT* when the editor himself stated this? As far as I'm concerned *ANY* reporting done by the *PRAVDA UT* with regards to the mayoral race can't be trusted, period.

(4) in this very article we read of a "news" program asking a journalist who reports on the mayoral race outright who they voted for. Again, not something most would consider good journalism.

I realize many media outlets are known for political leanings, and there are appropriate avenues for endorsements (i.e. the **editorial page**), but the blatant agenda pushing being done by Manchester is way over the top.

Take KPBS, for example.

Many argue they "lean left" which may be true, but I honestly can't tell from their coverage who they would support for mayor. They are giving Dumanis, Filner, DeMaio, and Fletcher all equal time and equal opportunity from what I've seen.

Bottom line is media outlets are run by people, and people ome with bias. But through good journalistic practices and standards this can be minimized so the public is getting fairly objective reporting.

Manchester and the incompetents he has running his media mogul empire have proven quite firmly that they have no journalistic standards, they have no desire for journalistic standards, and they are going to blaze ahead with unapologetic highly biased, sham "reporting".

With this complete disregard for journalistic standards, it is very frightening that Manchester keeps wanting more influence and more power to control our local media.

Manchester is making a mockery out of our community.

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