I continue to be amazed that America’s finest city can, amongst its plethora of blessing (sound municipal fiscal management, alas, not being one of these) that stalwart bastion of non-partisan journalistic excellence, the Union Tribune. When CityBeat published my piece on Mike Aguirre this week I included, amidst all of his trials and travails this fall, how the UT had slammed him for having taken illegal, unethical, immoral and just really as rotten as an overripe avacado left to mold and fester for a month under a San Diego sun campaign contributions.
It remained for my own intrepid editor, Dave Rolland, to insert into my final draft that the UT had, in fact, done the honorable thing and published a retraction of the accusation of the original editorial in which UT editorial honcho Bowtie Bob Kittle had not only accused Aguirre of impropriety but had also basically demanded Aguirre’s immediate deportation from the planet.
That was news to me. The retraction thing — not the Kittle wanting to deport Aguirre thing. But our Editor, my lord and liege, is seldom wrong about such things and, once again, right he was.
It was also news to our fellow alternative media source, The Voice of San Diego, as Scott Lewis’ piece pointed out Thursday.
You see, it seems that, even though the UT felt so confident about their accusation that they were willing to publish it directly in the editorial pages (as opposed, to, say, running it as a news story and then waiting a news cycle or two to get all sides of the story on the record before shifting from statement of possible fact to righteous demands based on absolute certainty) and that, after words, just about every competent legal authority on the matter scratched their heads and said Kittle better loosen that bow tie because it seemed to be cutting off the flow of O2 to his brain because there was pretty much absolutely nothing to the charges leveled and that, even after BTBK spent days working the media trying to justify his bogus brouhaha, no-one was buying, the UT powers-that-be, in their infinite professional wisdom, finally decided to man up and do the Spike Lee right thing.
They published a full and fair retraction. Just a scant three weeks after the allegation was made, published brazenly right out there for all to see on page B-2,347 of the local news. (I’m so excited by this new outburst of journalistic responsibility that I’m checking Le Monde to see if they’re issuing a retraction any time soon about the Dreyfus affair!)
I think it was Gertrude Stein who once remarked, when asking a porter for a newspaper and having been brought a Los Angeles Times, “I’m sorry but you misunderstood me. I asked for a newspaper.” That was back in the notorious Otis Chandler days. Living now in the Kittle days of San Diego journalism, I begin to empathize with her.