The man who drove the Chronicle nuts


Stephen Barnett, prominent UC-Berkeley law professor and noted First Amendment and antitrust scholar and activist, 1935-2009

Photo by Jim Block

By Bruce B. Brugmann

(Special note: read Barnett's scathing indictment of Examiner/Chronicle/JOA news coverage in the San Francisco Bay Guardian (9/31/1970)

Steve Barnett would have been highly amused with the way the Associated Press and the San Francisco Chronicle handled the obituary of his death on Oct. 13 of cardiac arrest. He was 73.

The AP and the Chronicle ran respectful obituaries of his illustrious career as a UC Berkeley law professor, prominent First Amendment advocate, critic of the California Supreme Court, a director of the California First Amendment Coalition, and widely published legal scholar on media, antitrust, and First Amendment law.

The Chronicle even tossed in a couple of paragraphs pointing out that Barnett was "a frequent commentator on the Newspaper Preservation Act, the 1970 federal law that allowed papers in the same market to cut costs by merging some of their operations."