What really happened at the Clint Reilly press conference on the settlement of the Hearst/Singleton lawsuit
By Bruce B. Brugmann
Okay, okay, after getting a note from my Contra Costa source who follows Singleton news coverage for me in the East Bay, I realized I better explain what happened to me after the Clint Reilly press conference Wednesday morning. My source said he saw my whacked up face in the blog below and "thought Phil Bronstein was up to his old tricks."
This was a reference to the famous incident in l993 when Reilly, then a political consultant, was invited to the old Hearst Examiner by then publisher Will Hearst to advise the Examiner on how to grow its circulation.
As the three sat in the Hearst conference room, an argument ensued between Bronstein and Riley and Reilly was soon taken out of the Examiner on a stretcher with a broken ankle. He sued the Examiner for assault and battery and collected a reported $600,000 in an out of court settlement. |Guess what: Hearst/Examiner/Bronstein have had it in for Riley ever since and have treated him shabbily in their news and editorial columns.
No, no, I explained to my source. I am a Ft.Carson-trained advanced infantryman and a Korea veteran (cold war), and I could handle Bronstein. I explained that I was walking back to the parking garage from the Merchants Exchange Building, where Reilly held the press conference, with my associate Paula Connelly and G. W. Schulz, the Guardian reporter on the story. Just as we were approaching the garage, I tripped on a rise in a grate on the sidewalk. I fell ingloriously face first on the hardest and most unyielding sidewalk north of the Tehachapis and whacked both knees and my face and started a nice shiner on my right eye. I must have looked as if I were staggering into the street after a barroom brawl.
Anyway, coming into the garage, limping and cursing myself, blood flowing profusely from my face, I ran into Jim Lazarus, a former deputy mayor to Diane Feinstein and a political insider now working for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. "Bruce," he said, obviously shocked, "what happened to you?" The only thing I could think to say was, "Jim, things just got out of control at the Reilly press conference." His eyes popped and his jaw dropped to his knees.
I told him to give a full report to Steve Falk, the former Chronicle publisher under Hearst who is now the executive director of the Chamber. "Tell him the Chronicle needs him desperately but I recommend that he not go back."
I did finally tell Lazarus what happened and I drove Paula and GW back to the Guardian. I then headed to the Bay Medical Center, the medical oasis at the bottom of Potrero Hill.
The good folks there took good care of me. Rona Haertel patched me up, and I headed for the Connecticut Yankee restaurant and bar for my Potrero Hill martini.
Obviously, lots happened during and after the Relly press conference and we are doing our best to report it in the Guardian and in the Bruce blog. Please note the difference between the Guardian coverage, reporting from our position of an independent alternative, and the coverage of the Hearst/Singleton/Gannett/Stephens press, fighting hard to kill competition and monopolize the Bay Area press. And note that the chains are doing their fighting with buried, blacked out, and/or slanted coverage and in secret agreements, including the settlement agreement, that they are fighting ferociously to keep secret. This difference confirms once again the critical journalistic and public policy point: the absolute necessity for real newspaper competition. Further confirmation: the absolute necessity for sunshine-in-the-courts, particularly when it involves the monopolizing press.
Thanks again, Clint, for taking on this Mission Impossible lawsuit that nobody else would touch, including the Bill Lockyer/ Jerry Brown Attorney General's Office and the George Bush/\lberto Gonzales U.S. Department of Justice. You helped insure there was some real investigation and real debate on this critical issue and that there will be some semblance of daily competition between Hearst and Singleton papers for the duration. We all owe you some Potrero Hill martinis. Next assignment: reform the antirust laws. Much more to come, B3, back on the monopoly press beat
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