Thursday, May 08, 2014

This thread got too hot for City Beat to handle--City Beat erased my comment


UPDATE 8 AM MAY 8, 2014

I see that my comment about Irwin Jacobs and the firing of Voice of San Diego education report Emily Alpert is back on the City Beat website.

MAURA LARKINS' UPDATE 6 AM MAY 8, 2014

We seem to have a bit of a problem with journalistic ethics in San Diego. Voice of San Diego is so beholden to its donors that its behavior doesn't surprise me. But City Beat? What's your excuse?

A thread about the Randy Dotinga/Aaryn Belfer/Dagmar/Aloha brouhaha got to hot for City Beat to handle. I posted the following comment around 7 pm last night. Then I noticed it suddenly became hidden, and in its place was a message, "View 1 more." When I woke up this morning, I discovered that the comment has disappeared completely. What exactly is it that upset City Beat so much?

"Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

"At the time Emily [Alpert of Voice of San Diego] was fired, her investigation of SDCOE had been stopped in its tracks and VOSD had ended its much vaunted policy of allowing reporters to decide what they would write about.

Can you give a reason for Emily being chosen for layoff? Obviously, there were reasons that VOSD chose Emily, Adrian Florido and Sam Hodgson, but those reasons were unknown at the time.

We have more information now. Do you deny the truth of this statement, "Since then, the VOSD donor trio of Buzz Woolley, Irwin Jacobs and Rod Dammeyer have made clear that they passionately desire to have their money bring about the expansion of arbitrary power for school administrators"?

When we see the enormous passion that these three donors have for bringing about specific changes in schools, it ceases to appear merely a coincidence that VOSD's widely-admired education reporter was terminated."

[If you want to see the context in which this comment appeared, look at the bottom of this post, or go to this page in City Best. Ironically, it comes very shortly after I wrote, "And City Beat is also sometimes a bit too quiet about certain issues." I'd say I was clearly right about that.]

It's lucky I had posted a copy of the comment in my own blog. Otherwise, it would be lost forever--which, I'm sure, is exactly what City Beat--and Voice of San Diego--hoped for. Sorry, you fearless purveyors of truth!

In place of the above comment City Beat has published an extra copy of this comment that I posted this morning:

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

When a pet project of Irwin Jacobs (such as Voice of San Diego) has major financial problems, it's because Irwin Jacobs wants it to have major financial problems.



Irwin Jacobs, net worth $1.9 billion. When a pet project of Irwin Jacobs
(such as Voice of San Diego) has major financial problems, it's because
Irwin Jacobs wants it to have major financial problems.

I'm guessing that the reason VOSD suddenly had a financial crisis
and "laid-off" its widely popular education reporter Emily Alpert
has a lot to do with stories like this one. It should be noted that
Jacobs' fellow SD4GS supporter Rod Dammeyer is also a member of VOSD's
donor trio of Jacobs, Dammeyer and Buzz Woolley.
When the voters of San Diego refused to give up control of the schools
they pay for, SD4GS folded and many of its supporters moved to UPforEd,
which is now a "community partner" of Voice of San Diego.


It looks like Emily Alpert (now Emily Alpert Reyes) was "laid-off"
because she wasn't adequately supporting the agenda of Irwin Jacobs
and other donors. The donor trio didn't hurt Emily; she now has a
better job at the Los Angeles Times. It's the students of San Diego
and California that were harmed. Emily was terminated just months
after writing this story about SD4GS,
an organization that sought to get voters to pack the SDUSD school
board with unelected members. It probably didn't help that she
also wrote about me.

I have to agree with Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis' New Years concerns about his own journalistic integrity. See all posts re Scott Lewis. And I think David Rolland might want to ask himself some of the same questions that Scott Lewis has posed.



HERE IS THE ORIGINAL REMARK THAT GOT THIS THREAD STARTED:


Randy Dotinga

Here is the remark that got Randy Dotinga in big trouble: "A feminist who depicts women as bimbos is no feminist." That's an rule? A feminist is not allowed to discuss the sexual behavior of women? But I think Randy was being rhetorical. He was saying he didn't like the way Aaryn Belfer depicted certain women as wiggly and under-dressed. I, too, didn't like it when Aaryn Belfer used the first names of two local reporters in her critique. That was unnecessary and self-indulgent. My first thought upon reading Aaryn Belfer's column on Randy Dotinga:
Let Randy talk. Dammit, let Randy talk. Especially since he's hilarious. I love reading his stuff.

Aaryn Belfer's criticism of Randy for speaking too much in an academic setting bothered me quite a bit. It disturbs me that anyone, anyone at all, should be pressured to be silent in an academic environment when they are trying to make a rational point. I've seen it happen at SDSU. I've seen cliques of women silencing people in two different creative writing classes with two different professors. In one of those classes, the professor was not involved. In the other class, the professor was the leader.

And then journalist Doug Porter of the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press chimed in on behalf of Aaryn, "Thank you for telling The Truth about a mean and horrible person." Really? For defending Aloha and Dagmar he's a mean and horrible person? At least Randy and Aaryn were talking about specific qualities that they saw in the other. Doug was judging the entire person.

Here's my message to Doug:

Wow, Doug. Let him talk. Dammit, Doug, let Randy talk.

And then Doug's defender David Budin went ballistic. David Budin threw out the word "asshole" at Aaryn. If he had just left out that one word, his comment would have been entirely reasonable.

But I'm thinking that was the response Aaryn was trying to elicit. Why else would she have made comments about Randy's weight, among other attempts to demean him? Randy was quite a bit more gentle with Aaryn than Aaryn was with female reporters. Aaryn is free to criticize women in high-profile positions who contribute to the public's view of women. But if she's going to attack them personally, she should expect a little blowback.

Women in television news face a quandary: should they object to pressure from their bosses to dress in a certain way--and risk getting fired? They'd likely be replaced by women who were willing to play the titilate-the-viewers game.

I wish journalists were more devoted to getting the whole truth out in front of the public. But journalists are similar to those women on TV: they have bosses that want to control them. I think both Randy and Aaryn should speak out about more important things--like the stories their bosses aren't covering.


AAARYN BELFER'S MAY 5, 2014 STORY ABOUT RANDY DOTINGA



Nobody puts Baby in a corner
On feminism and who gets to define my brand of it
By Aaryn Belfer
City Beat
May 05, 2014

"Oh, we all know that guy," my friend Heather said to me on the phone. "He's the dude who took a women's-studies course in college and knew it all. He wore a 'Free Tibet' T-shirt and monopolized every conversation."

Heather and I were talking about a non-vagina-having, self-important troll named Randy Dotinga who told me via Twitter that I'm no feminist. This bloviating nitwit, who likes to police me when I criticize other women, apparently suffered apoplectic seizures after reading part of one sentence in my last column. The offending 13 words referencing a pair of local meteorologists and their painted-on clothing had him stomping his feet. It was pretty darned cute.

"A feminist who depicts women as bimbos is no feminist," he fired off, with the back-patting superiority of a third-grade know-it-all.

Of course, I didn't depict any women as bimbos or even use such language. Nor did I "dehumanize women on tv" as he put it, which is impossible since that's totally redundant. Kudos, though, to him for taking up the banner on behalf of the poor, demeaned television ladies among us...



RANDY DOTINGA HUMOROUSLY DEFLECTS THE ATTACK

Here's Randy's mention of the issue in Voice of San Diego's Morning Report (probably the most gracious and humorous response of all):

"Not everyone’s a fan of your Morning Report scribe. That’s the word from a CityBeat columnist who calls me a “dough-faced,” “self-important troll” with “the back-patting superiority of a third-grade know-it-all.” So? What’s your point?



COMMENTS FROM THE CITY BEAT WEBPAGE ON THIS STORY:

Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

The issue in the Randy Dotinga/Aaryn Belfer tizzy is whether certain things should be said. I'm glad the issue is being discussed.

Whether or not things should be said. Isn't this the basic question underlying every decision by media outlets, including Randy Dotinga's Voice of San Diego and Aaryn Belfer's City Beat, as to what's going to be published? Sadly, San Diego seems to be a place where media outlets leave too many things unsaid about serious issues, including the one we're looking at here: free speech.

I believe it's better to err on the side of discussing more issues rather than fewer issues. As Matt Taibbi says, the job of a journalist isn't to be nice. It's to tell the truth. What bothers me more than anything said by Randy or Aaryn is the manner in which Randy's employer, Voice of San Diego, seems to write what it's paid to write. Voice of San Diego seems to be developing an increasingly rigid culture that is largely based on the belief that certain people shouldn't be part of the public discourse. (Irony is everywhere in journalism, isn't it?) And City Beat is also sometimes a bit too quiet about certain issues.



Randy Dotinga · Works at Freelance Writer

"Randy's employer, Voice of San Diego, seems to write what it's paid to write." I'm not sure what you mean.



Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

At the time Emily Alpert was fired from Voice of San Diego, the reasons were mysterious.

Since then, the VOSD donor trio of Buzz Woolley, Irwin Jacobs and Rod Dammeyer have made clear that they passionately desire to have their money bring about the expansion of arbitrary power for school administrators.

It wouldn't do to have an education reporter who knew her way around the school system and wanted to share her knowledge.

VOSD now produces stories about education that appear to be balanced, but in fact only present the opinions of the very powerful: the moguls, the administration, and the teachers union. There is no voice for those who are interested only in students rather than advancing themselves or their personal agendas. I believe that Emily Alpert would have given those people a voice.


Randy Dotinga · Works at Freelance Writer

Maura Larkins To clarify, Emily was laid off along with 2 other staffers when VOSD had major financial problems. I'm not aware of pressure coming from donors regarding her position. Neither are you.



Maura Larkins · Top Commenter · UCLA

At the time Emily was fired, her investigation of SDCOE had been stopped in its tracks and VOSD had ended its much vaunted policy of allowing reporters to decide what they would write about. Can you give a reason for Emily being chosen for layoff? Obviously, there were reasons that VOSD chose Emily, Adrian Florido and Sam Hodgson, but those reasons were unknown at the time.

We have more information now.

Do you deny the truth of this statement, "Since then, the VOSD donor trio of Buzz Woolley, Irwin Jacobs and Rod Dammeyer have made clear that they passionately desire to have their money bring about the expansion of arbitrary power for school administrators"?

When we see the enormous passion that these three donors have for bringing about specific changes in schools, it ceases to appear merely a coincidence that VOSD's widely-admired education reporter was terminated.



The above comment was erased by City Beat! Unbelievable! It just disappeared. Why?



Perhaps the following message on City Beat's website explains it:

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It appears that City Beat editor David Rolland is trying to become Scott Lewis of Voice of San Diego, which is a very sad thing. My conclusion is that Rolland got pressured to remove my comment by someone who supports Voice of San Diego. Perhaps a donor? Perhaps a very recent donor? Like, maybe, a donor who got generous last night? Or was it merely professional courtesy among journalists--working together to keep the public ignorant?


David Rolland

I do agree with most of Rolland's ballot recommendations.

Here are my responses to Rolland's assessment of the State Superintendent of Education race.

2 comments:

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