Steve Moss’ misleading ad

Political endorsement or tongue-in-cheek ad?

If you live in Potrero Hill, chances are you read the Potrero View, a neighborhood paper that’s been in existence for 40 years. Five years ago, Steve Moss took over as the View’s publisher and editor. And last year, when Moss filed papers in the D. 10 supervisor race, he stated in an editorial that “running for office and running a paper aren’t necessarily incompatible, but the two activities, undertaken simultaneously, prompts the need to adhere to ethical and legal standards.”

In that same editorial, Moss noted that, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission, a newspaper columnist seeking political office can continue to write columns.
“What they can’t do is advocate for their election, denigrate other candidates, or engage in direct politicking,” Moss wrote.

He also promised that, "The paper will not endorse any of the contenders. And we’ll offer all who’ve filed for the race a 50 percent discount on print and online advertisements—a fee my campaign committee will similarly have to pay.”

So, imagine this reporter’s surprise when I opened up the August 2010 special 40th anniversary issue of the View—and found an almost full-page advertisement, paid for the Steve Moss for D. 10 campaign, that claimed Moss got the View’s endorsement.

Titled ‘Five Things You Should Know About Steve Moss,” the advertisement features a photo of Moss and family. And the first thing that View readers should know, according to his ad, is that Moss “edits and publishes this very paper (but got its endorsement on his own merits).”

Reached by phone, Moss claimed that his ad was intended as a joke.
“It was meant tongue-in-cheek,” Moss said. “It was meant to be a joke.”

But nowhere in Moss' ad is there any disclaimer that says that the View endorsement is a joke.

" Well, maybe it wasn’t funny," Moss replied. "But you’re British. You should understand.”

Moss said so far the only call/complaint about his ad has come from me. But he added that perhaps in a future issue, he’d clarify that the View will not make any endorsements.

Moss followed up on my call with an email:

“I talked to my wife, Debbie, about the View advertisement, and she reminded me that she had warned me that some folks wouldn't understand that the endorsement was a joke," Moss wrote. "So, at minimum, you have made my wife correct.  Again. I think she's still going to vote for me, though.”

While I appreciate Moss' willingness to answer difficult questions from reporters, including those hailing from the British Isles, it seems that Moss is trying to argue that black is white. So, in the spirit of British humor, may I humbly suggest that Moss watch Monty Python’s “The Argument" skit. And then call me for a five-minute argument about his misleading ad.


I just can't imagine, you must be mortified, the horror, the indignity. Words can not express the surprise you must have felt.

You were clearly compelled to tell us all.

I can only sympathize and hope that all is well in the world tomorrow.

Posted by Chris Pratt on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

So, you want to argue about it, too, Pratt?

Posted by sarah on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

argue about what? I am offering empathy to the indignity you have suffered on receiving the mailer

Posted by Chris Pratt on Sep. 01, 2010 @ 12:45 am

Well I never. I'm British as well, and I'm mortified. Such balderdash. How typical of the privileged classes. Snotty buggers. Typified in Monty Python's " A lesson in Anarcho-Syndicated Commune Living".

Posted by Guest Patrick Monk on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

At what point dose a paper go from been a paper to a mouth piece for a particular "side"

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

Uh, it was a paid advertisement, not an article or editorial...

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 7:08 pm

A political endorsement "joke" that was hand delivered to ALL of Potrero Hill? 40th Anniversary my arse - I think it was his slimy way of having the View pay for a political advertisement / endorsement announcement to all of Potrero Hill.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

Well, well, well, Mr. Moss. You're a clever chap, but not entirely honest about your motives and the resultant increase in name recognition benefit.

Posted by Luke Thomas on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 8:43 pm

As you are not honest about your motives in reporting for the Fog City Journal, Luke. Objective is the word, I believe :-)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 01, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

If i was a candidate for election, I probably would seek to distance myself from "the view" as much as I enjoy it. Its like a bunch of forgetful fuddy-duddys (that'll annoy them for sure) publishing sentimental articles and photos of "the hill" when it wasn't part of "district 10" (may as well be "district 9" for some of them)

The money is so alluring in district 10 with maxwell gone, everyone's doing it. Funny to think that the most neglected and ignored neighborhoods like Bayview and Hunters point will shape San Francisco's economic politics for the next 10-20 years.

Posted by Frank McGee on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 9:57 pm

The BG is not a news paper, it did report anything on Sandra Cantu or when the 4 cops were shot in Oakland (just to mention a few articles), it is a political publication, it should have to report political expenditures, according to the S.O.S. regulations, as other groups do, but it dose not and the fucking hypocrites (The BG) will cry fowl when things happen that "they" don't like.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 31, 2010 @ 10:21 pm

If he's claiming that it was 'a joke' -- what other parts of the advertisement were also 'a joke'?

If the other 4 bullet points were intended as humorous, I'd give it to him. But the other 4 points appear to be legitimate claims to why you should vote for him-- and therefore, it's pretty obvious it was a sneaky attempt.

(All that said, I don't have a horse in this race... I just don't like dishonesty covered up by bold-faced lies...)

Posted by mcas on Sep. 01, 2010 @ 11:15 am

Ohhh, good piece.

Also, you're British?! I had no idea.

Posted by Brock Keeling on Sep. 01, 2010 @ 11:35 am

I figured everyone knew I was British from my funny sounding accent, but I guess I've been here long enough that it's perhaps becoming less obvious.

Posted by sarah on Sep. 01, 2010 @ 2:52 pm's an absolutely lovely accent my dear.

Posted by Guest Patrick Monk on Sep. 03, 2010 @ 8:44 am

Joke? He is the joke.

Posted by Native SF Girl on Sep. 09, 2010 @ 11:00 am

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