Sound Off

Sunday, Oct 28 2012 03:00 AM

SOUND OFF: Political posting isn't partisan, we say

By The Bakersfield Californian

A reader with a web handle of nathan9999 posted this comment on an Oct. 24 article entitled: "McCarthy, other top politicos throw weight behind Gleason:"


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READER: TBC's coverage seems a bit skewed by their endorsement of Mr. (Roy) Ashburn.

When Mr. Thomas, et. al., endorsed Mr. Ashburn at an announced event the morning of October 6, (The Bakersfield Californian's) story was posted on their website, with pictures of the event, at 1:10 PM the same day. Quick response team in action!

When public employee unions endorsed Mr. Ashburn at an announced event the morning of October 11, TBC's story posted, again with an accompanying photo of the event, at 1:32 PM the same day. Jolly on the spot!

[Wednesday] morning Congressman McCarthy and other notable conservatives endorsed Mr. Gleason. TBC's story, with one closeup photo of Mr. Gleason's head (no photo of the event itself) posted that evening at 7:07 PM.

I am not by nature prone to belief in conspiracy theories. It does, however, appear that TBC's decisions about their coverage of this race is being influenced by their endorsement for Mr. Ashburn.

One can appreciate that TBC is more familiar with Mr. Ashburn, but in this case familiarity does not seem to have bred contempt. On the contrary, their familiarity seems to have bred just the opposite.

Given the fact that Mr. Gleason polled 30% of the primary vote (to Mr. Ashburn's 17%) one would think TBC would afford Mr. Gleason more professional, if not preferential, respect.

Oh, and another bit of suspect (biased?) journalism. Four of the first five paragraphs of this story describe an unintentional infraction concerning distances to a polling place. The story was actually about an endorsement, and yet TBC seemed to be more intent on framing the story about this infraction at the beginning of the story. TBC then compounded this by mentioning that three speakers addressed their comments "from beyond the 100-foot barrier". This added bit of information was not only unnecessary, it was five paragraphs after the poorly placed topic had been previously concluded.

Finally, TBC has to include a quote from Mr. Ashburn concerning Mr. Abernathy's involvement in the campaign. Now we can all agree that Mr. Abernathy is a polarizing figure in local politics, but why in the world does TBC see fit to seek out this sort of comment if not to subtly cast an indirect aspersion on Mr. Gleason's campaign? In the first two stories referenced above I don't see TBC doing the same thing.

I appreciate TBC. We as a community are better off for their work. But in this campaign they are acting as a promoter for Mr. Ashburn. Endorse Mr. Ashburn, fine and well. But leave it at that and return to journalism. Please keep your editorial preferences out of your news coverage.


ARTHUR: It may look suspicious but I caution you to not make too much about when stories are posted online.

We endeavor to post breaking news as soon as possible. Political press conferences are breaking news but not treated with the same urgency as, say, a brush fire.

In the case of the Gleason endorsements, the delay was due to reporter James Burger's busy schedule. He had to leave the Gleason press conference and proceed directly to a county animal control meeting. He wasn't able to return to the office and write the Gleason story until later.

Why the focus on the fact that the press conference was told to move? Well, that was pretty unusual. A candidate illegally holds a press conference too close to a polling place? That just doesn't happen every day.

And why did we seek a comment from Mick Gleason's opponent, Roy Ashburn? Well, that's what we do. When Ashburn held a big press conference to announce his endorsements, we called Gleason for comment.

You can look it up, right here:




Lois Henry's Oct. 17 column on a new facility in town that will offer pet spaying and neutering drew this response from a manger there:


READER: Never let it be said that print media is dead. The phone has been ringing nearly non-stop all day long since your column appeared this morning . Thank you so much for such a positive piece on our clinic. We are beyond excited at the response and are looking forward to many happy surgeries in the days to come.

Kind regards,

Vicky Thrasher

Executive Director

Critters Without Litters


ARTHUR: Henry wrote a followup column mentioning similar services offered elsewhere. You can read it at




READER: Just last week I read an article about the Obesity epidemic in America. Today (Sunday, Oct. 14) I can't even find a mention of almost 2,000 people in Bakersfield challenging their fitness in the Volkslauf.

The Volkslauf is an event many local people use as a goal to prove they are succeeding in their weight loss. It is also a tool to help them push their fitness to new levels. In addition... it is a fundraiser for the Marine's Toys for Tots.

This year was another successful event. Well organized, well attended and well run! Lets start promoting and cheering on local attempts to help people improve their health and fitness.

Nicola Wright



ARTHUR: Thanks for your note. We have covered the Volkslauf run almost every year since it began. Somehow this year's event fell through the cracks.

Several people wondered by we didn't cover it, along with the great photos of people up to their necks in mud. For reasons that are unclear, our assigning editors simply were not aware that it was taking place that weekend. This was an oversight. We like to cover it. Apologies. This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about news coverage. Your questions -- which may be edited for space -- are answered each Sunday by Executive Editor John Arthur. Follow John Arthur on Twitter @BakoEditor Sound off

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