On Guard: The story behind the Bay Guardian’s new ownership and the departure of Editor-Publisher Tim Redmond

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Tim Redmond's last day as the editor-publisher of the Bay Guardian was June 13.
Luke Thomas


[An abridged version of this article appears in this week's Guardian]

Longtime Bay Guardian Editor Tim Redmond left the newspaper last week in a dispute with its new owners over personnel changes and his autonomy within San Francisco Print Media Company, which also includes the San Francisco Examiner and SF Weekly.

Redmond led the Guardian newsroom for most of his 31 years with the newspaper and engineered last year's sale to Todd Vogt and a Canadian ownership team. As part of that sale — which Redmond cast to staff as saving the Guardian from bankruptcy and closure — Bruce B. Brugmann and Jean Dibble, the couple who founded the Guardian in 1966, retired from the paper, its Potrero Hill office building was sold, and the Guardian moved into the Examiner's downtown office in June 2012.

Redmond was the Guardian editor and publisher, the name at the top of our masthead and the person solely in charge of Guardian operations, and he told staff he had been guaranteed full autonomy by the new ownership, which was important to the Guardian staff. As such, he resisted Vogt's periodic efforts to control the newspaper, including early threats to fire City Editor Steven T. Jones for unspecifed reasons, which Vogt had mentioned to Redmond, directly to Jones, and to Guardian writer Rebecca Bowe prior to her return to the Guardian at the beginning of this year.

Nonetheless, Vogt did make some successful incursions on the Guardian's independence, initially by encouraging layoffs, later by interfering with Guardian endorsements in the November 2012 election.

On Oct. 26, 2012, without consulting Redmond, Vogt named Examiner Editor Stephen Buel to be vice president for editorial overseeing both newspapers, announcing that Buel would "oversee the editorial direction, content, tone and voice of our newspapers and web sites."

Shortly after the purchase of the longtime Guardian rival SF Weekly two months later, Vogt similarly appointed Weekly writer Erin Sherbert to oversee online communications at all three papers.

Neither Buel nor Sherbert directed or reviewed any Guardian editorial content prior to publication, although some stories from the Guardian and the Weekly began to appear in the Examiner's newspaper and website, often edited by Examiner editors but giving credit to their original source.

The Guardian's weekly revenues continued to remain flat or decline, at least partially because of the departure of two of the Guardian's commission-based advertising representatives, positions which remain unfilled. The San Francisco Print Media Company then instituted a new system in which ad reps would try to sell into all three papers, which particularly hurt the Guardian's bottom line during the run-up to the SF Weekly's large Best of San Francisco, published May 29. The Guardian's sales staff remains significantly smaller than that of the other two publications.

Vogt, Buel, and Chief Financial Officer Pat Brown began a conversation with Redmond about the need to cut expenditures, focusing on the newsroom, which until June 14 had seven full-time Guardian staffers and a part-time art director, who also works for the Examiner.

Redmond expressed a willingness to make cuts while also emphasizing the need to hire more ad reps to boost revenue, Redmond and Buel both told us. "He made it very clear that we need more salespeople," said Buel, who also told us that he supported Redmond's stance with Vogt and Brown that he should be allowed to choose where the cuts would be made.

"Todd and I were in the middle of difficult and ongoing negotiations for how to cut costs. My position is that it is entirely appropriate for the owner to ask us to cut costs, and then I would come back with a plan," Redmond told us.

Instead, on June 12, shortly before Redmond left the office to moderate a well-attended forum that he had organized on Plan Bay Area and San Francisco's long-term growth policies (see related story), Vogt called Redmond and Buel into Brown's office and demanded he lay off three specific people in the newsroom (ironically, not including Jones, whose work Vogt has come to publicly praise in recent months) as soon as the current issue is complete. That would have cut in half the number of writers and editors working under Redmond, making it difficult to put out a paper.

"To have me lay off three people by name is not acceptable," Redmond told us, holding firm that he would cut expenses but that he wouldn't let Vogt micromanage the Guardian in that fashion. Redmond informed Buel of his decision on June 13 and sought to meet with Vogt, who wasn't in the office that day.

"Tim told me in no uncertain terms that he couldn't do it," Buel told us. "He was civil and cordial and adult about it, but he was very clear he was going to leave the Guardian" rather than be forced to implement that decision. Buel then conveyed to Vogt that Redmond had offered to resign rather than making the cuts.

The next night, Redmond and Vogt exchanged a series of emails in which Redmond repeatedly offered to leave and help create a smooth leadership transition and Vogt repeatedly insisted that Redmond make the cuts and/or clarify whether he was resigning.

It culminated shortly before midnight with Vogt telling Redmond that his resignation had been accepted — to which Redmond responded the next morning that he hadn't offered his resignation — and that he was barred from returning to the office or speaking for the Guardian.

Vogt's explanation

Guardian staffers arrived to the office earlier than usual as requested, for a 9:30am meeting Vogt had called shortly before midnight, but Vogt was absent. The meeting commenced around 10:15am, with Vogt phoning in from Canada for his first meeting exclusively with Guardian staff.

"I've got a bunch of apologies to make," he began, explaining that he was flying to Canada for his six-year-old son's school assembly. "I'm embarrassed that I'm not there, but I'm more embarrassed that I contemplated missing my son's grade one graduation and school play."

He went on to describe his email exchange with Redmond the night before. "I accepted his resignation as editor of the Guardian, effective immediately," Vogt said. "I didn't ask for his resignation, I didn't want him to resign. But it was Tim's decision."

"For 12 months, we let — I let — Tim run the Guardian pretty much hands off," he said, allowing that on a few seldom occasions, "I actually made demands, some of which Tim listened to, some of which Tim disregarded." Vogt went on to say that he, Redmond, Buel, and Brown had been meeting to discuss "very serious and significant changes" at the paper, which would have included staffing cuts.

"Up until yesterday at 4:30, I was under the impression ... that not only was Tim on side with those changes, Tim had actually recommended some of those changes, both staffing and otherwise," Vogt said. "So I'm not exactly sure what occurred, but whatever occurred yesterday that made Tim have a change of heart is really irrelevant at this point. So, uh, again you all know Tim, and you have known Tim longer than you've know me, and whether you choose to believe what I just said, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter."

Vogt went on to say, "Last month, it became painfully apparent that we had to make some radical changes to the Guardian. Some of the changes ... were going to affect the editorial tone and position of the Guardian. We weren't going to do anything crazy, like Philip Anschutz the Guardian," referring to the Examiner's former right-wing owner, "but we definitely were going to look to make some changes, because obviously what we've been doing ... isn't resonating with advertisers, and I honestly don't believe it's resonating with readers."

He went on: "Whatever you heard yesterday with respect to layoffs, or freelancers no longer writing for the paper, all of those decisions that had been made collectively between Tim, myself, Steve, and Pat are off the table."

Going forward, he said, "I'm going to look to Marke [Bieschke, appointed interim editor], and Dulc [Vice President of Advertising Dulcinea Gonzalez], and Steve [Buel] to quickly come up with a plan of what we need to do ... to get the Guardian back on solid financial and, and sort of ideological footing, in the community. I know some of you heard that certain positions were going to be eliminated and there's likely going to be pissed off people and hard feelings, and for that I'm sorry. And I'm not saying... that there won't be layoffs. There may well indeed be."

Then Vogt opened up the discussion for "Questions, comments, you can tell me to go fuck myself. Whatever it is, now is the time."

Jones asked about how Redmond’s departure would be presented to the community, and what he meant by the change in editorial tone. "No disrespect to Bruce [Brugmann], but I think the editorial changes that need to happen at the paper need to reflect sort of, progressive — the new progressive — movement, the new progressive values," Vogt responded. "The feature that Tim wrote two weeks ago [on the future of planning in San Francisco], that's the kind of stuff that I think the Guardian should be. But if anybody around the table is looking or hoping that I'm the guy who's going to provide the editorial vision of what the Guardian's going to be, we're in serious shit. I've lived in the city for 18 months, and I'm the last guy who should be opining on what the Guardian ought to be."

Shrinking the Guardian

Guardian Culture Editor Caitlin Donohue severed ties to the newspaper shortly after the meeting. "I was just shocked that I was being told by intercom to disbelieve my editor and mentor of four years," Donohue said when asked for her response to the meeting.

In that meeting, Donohue accepted a voluntary layoff. "After the various idiocies of last week, I realized it was time to hit the ejector button, and started putting my energies towards building new media that actually had a chance of success," Donohue explained later via email.

With regard to Redmond's ouster, Donohue said, "Getting rid of Tim, and the others they told him were next, is part and parcel of the company's slice and dice attitude to their acquisitions. You can't run that paper after cutting nearly 50 percent of its editorial staff — or a good one, at least."

On Monday, Gonzalez also resigned from the Guardian, effective July 1, further reducing its advertising staff. She had no comment for this story, but Vogt called her departure “a huge blow.”

Vogt still insists that Redmond helped develop the plan to lay off two of the three people they discussed. Buel also said that particular staffers had been discussed in meetings among the four of them, although Buel said only supported two of the three cuts that Vogt insisted upon.

"He fully supported two of the three cuts until Thursday," Vogt said of Redmond. "Suddenly something happened on Thursday. I don't know whether it was a conscience thing, or a change of heart or mind."

Redmond denies that he supported any specific layoffs, telling us that he insisted on being the one to make decisions on who worked for the Guardian and that he wanted to broadly review the Guardian's expenses, including what the company was charging it for rent and printing the paper.

"Tim was simply more interested in the editorial side and the Guardian needed some business leadership," Buel said, noting that he conveyed that assessment to both Redmond and Vogt a couple months ago, not intending to be named publisher of the Guardian himself last week. "I said that not at all envisioning I would be the person to do that."

Redmond said that he was cut out of the loop on decisions that Vogt and other managers made to restructure the advertising sales team to have reps selling into all three products, which sources who have worked in the department say created dysfunction and diverted energies that hurt Guardian ad sales.

"They never asked me how the ad department should be set up," Redmond said.

And while Redmond and Buel both say he strongly advocated for more employees to be dedicated to selling the Guardian, Redmond found himself playing the same role he had played as executive editor under the previous ownership: reacting to the paper's financial fortunes by cutting costs.

The Guardian had seven full-time staff writers when Jones was hired in 2003, which Redmond whittled down to just one by the time the paper was sold, despite the Guardian winning a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the SF Weekly and the chain that owned it, Village Voice Media, for unfair competition and anti-competitive pricing.

"I recognized in May that Guardian sales were down and I was not opposed to the idea that we had to cut costs," Redmond told us, later adding, "I came back with two plans. One, sell me the Guardian, or two, tell me how much I need to cut."

Vogt didn't accept either idea, insisting Redmond lay off the staffers that he had identified. Whether that final standoff is seen as a straight business decision, a personality conflict, or a question of the autonomy of Redmond and the Guardian, it's certainly true that it was the last in a series of conflicts between the two men.

Internal friction

Friction between Vogt and the Guardian's newsroom had been building for some time, centered around a couple of issues: payment of tens of thousands of dollars in debts to freelance writers that Vogt assumed when taking over the Guardian, and Redmond's authority as editor/publisher of the Guardian.

While the terms of the Guardian's sale to Vogt's group haven't been made public, sources say there were a couple areas of disagreement that delayed Vogt's acceptance of his responsibility to pay the freelance debt, although that was settled earlier this year.

Guardian staffers who work directly with the freelancers consistently complained about the unpaid debt and the difficulties it created in working with writers, and Redmond insisted that he was trying to faciltate payment but that there was nothing he could directly do to help. A plan was supposedly developed to pay the debts, but as of today, the bulk of the past freelance debt remains unpaid.

"We didn't have a ton of free money to pay the debt owed under Bruce's leadership," Vogt told us, adding that the company has been slowly paying off that debt, including expediting payments to key freelancers "when Tim said it was important."

Vogt also began complaining to Redmond about specific writers in the paper that he didn't like. "I had made demands about certain freelancers, 'I don't want so and so writing for the paper,' and they were still in the paper."

Redmond maintains that it was his decision what appears in the Guardian, not Vogt's, and that he resisted the owner's suggestions to fire certain writers, including L.E. Leone, the Guardian's longtime Cheap Eats columnist — who often departed from restaurant coverage to touch on an array of social topics, including her own MTF gender reassignment process — who transitioned into a sports columnist earlier this year.

"I think it was the coolest thing in the world that we had a transgender sports columnist who was one of the best writers in San Francisco. Todd strongly disagreed," Redmond told us. In the wake of Redmond's ouster, Leone resigned from the Guardian on June 15.

A perhaps more significant conflict over control of the Guardian came during the fall election when Vogt clashed with Redmond and Jones over the supervisorial endorsement in District 5. First Vogt opposed endorsing Julian Davis, but ultimately made it clear that it was the Guardian's call. After Davis was hit with new sexual misconduct allegations and responded badly to the developments, the Guardian revoked the Davis endorsement.

We then contemplated endorsing Christina Olague — who had regained progressive favor after defying Mayor Ed Lee on a couple of high-profile issues — but Vogt refused to allow it.

"He told me his newspapers would not be endorsing Christina Olague," Redmond said, a point that Vogt confirmed, explaining only that he didn't want to revisit the D5 endorsement after the Davis debacle.

Redmond said that Vogt then "threatened to fire me" for running a pro-Olague op-ed from longtime queer activist Cleve Jones, despite Redmond's explanation that the Guardian oftens runs guest editorials during election season supporting candidates other than those endorsed by the Guardian.

In fairness, Vogt wouldn't be the first Guardian owner to buck the newsroom on a political endorsement. In the 2003 mayor's race, Brugmann at the last minute overrode the consensus endorsement choice of Tom Ammiano, instead insisting the paper endorse Angela Alioto, although an apologetic Redmond allowed staff to print a dissenting endorsement in favor of Ammiano.

Meanwhile, both Vogt and Buel have issued public statements following Redmond's ouster pledging to keep the Guardian operating as it always has.

Buel insists that he and Vogt have both allowed the Guardian to remain an independent, progressive voice throughout their tenure — something that he said is clear from the Guardian's strong and critical coverage of corporate power this year — and they intend to maintain that approach going forward.

"I think its editorial independence has remained intact," Buel told us, assuring Guardian readers that would continue even without Redmond at the helm. "All I'm saying is keep reading and see if we live up to what I'm saying."

Tim's San Francisco

The day news of Redmond's firing hit the Guardian newsroom, the ousted editor created a website titled "Tim's San Francisco" on blogspot.com and posted a statement about what had happened.

"Hi, my friends, all the people I love and care about in this city. I'm sad to announce that after 30 years, I have left the Bay Guardian," he wrote. "I am proud of all the work that we did over those years, but sadly, it has come to an end."

After briefly explaining the details of his departure, he added, "The good news is that Blogger is free, and I will fancy up this blog in the next couple days, and I will continue to present perspectives and news about progressive San Francisco."

In the days that followed, online comments on Facebook, sfbg.com, and Redmond's new blog demonstrated an outpouring of support from community members.

"The Bay Guardian has been a venerable source for progressive talk (and organizing) in San Francisco and the Bay Area for years," Media Alliance wrote. "Despite the paper's shrinking physical presence, it maintained an influential role in City Hall politics and the Bay Area progressive movement, largely thanks to Redmond's editorial presence."

Christopher Cook, a progressive journalist and former city editor at the Bay Guardian, expressed his outrage over Redmond's ouster in a Facebook post and had issued a call to action, writing, "As the paper would say, let's give them hell." Later, he wrote, "Folks, a critical progressive institution has been bought out and now gutted by this aggressive media corporation. Where's the protest and uproar?"

Brugmann also offered this statement to the Guardian: "Tim came to the Guardian 30 years ago as a reporter, specializing in politics and investigative reporting. Tim soon developed, in my estimation, into one of the finest all around editors in the country. He was largely responsible for making the Guardian the major progressive voice in San Francisco, a major force in Freedom of Information and public access issues throughout the state, and a national model for the alternative press throughout the country."

Redmond said he's been engaging in lots of discussions with the Guardian's community in recent days, exploring whether Vogt may still be persuaded to sell the paper, or looking at ways to start a new media vehicle for the Guardian's community.

"I do have to give Todd credit for buying the Guardian and keeping it alive this year," Redmond said, adding that he was disappointed that Vogt chose to "basically destroy the newsroom" rather than taking him up on his offer to buy back the newspaper or explore other ideas for making the Guardian sustainable.

As Redmond told us, "I'm looking at my options for ensuring progressive, independent journalism is alive in San Francisco."

 

Comments

loser who punctuates badly with bizarre justifications.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

an apostrophe.

So it is "heroes" not "hero's" but "typo's" not" typoes".

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

They are shorter versions of other words.

Common abbreviations include CD (for Compact Disk), RBI (for Runs Batted In) an MD (Medical Doctor), or, in your case, DA (for dumbass).

Third grade calls out for you and Billy Madison.

I notice that the it's and its conundrum still baffles you.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

"Cafe" is short for cafeteria.

Happy to help.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

@Guest - You're correct, but there's generally no need to use an apostrophe for abbreviations that are all capital letters: CDs, RBIs, and MDs are acceptable (and IMHO preferable, since the other form confuses DAs).

I'm thinking this particular DA is confused by style guides that recommend using the apostrophe for abbreviations that have lowercase letters, such as PhD's.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 10:35 pm

@anon - Completely wrong. When a word is shortened down to initials, an apostrophe may be used for a plural form, but that's not true of shorter versions of words. At all.

Posted by Jym Dyer on Jun. 21, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

The brand here was designed to advance almost exclusively a narrow sliver of progressive politics, the same handfuls of individuals and their nonprofit and labor institutions.

Calibrating the content to address the concerns of the rest of progressive and liberal San Francisco is not diluting the brand, it is expanding the scope.

The contradiction that Redmond did not have the gonads to resolve is the fact that the problem that most San Franciscans have with government is that corruption takes our money and delivers it to others. Most of those others are downtown corporate and developer interests. But a few of those others are the same handfuls of individuals whose income is from claims staked on the corruption of the general fund.

If corruption is identified as the root of the progressive and liberal critique of the neoliberal regime and policies are promoted to root that corruption out, then the protection rackets of the SEIU and nonprofits might be put at risk.

At the end of the day, and the sun has indeed set, Redmond prioritized his friendships over the best interests of progressive and liberal San Franciscans and the readership returned the favor by abandoning the Guardian.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:58 am

every indication is that the majority of people do not. That's why Americans are so anti-tax - we just don't trust bureaucrats with our money.

Tim's faith in bureaucrats was touching, adorable even, but ultimately doomed.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:42 am

The people who picked it up to see what was going on in the city now have the Internet.

The demographic who read it for the agitprop have left the city, the demographic who wanted to see whats up don't read the Guardian.

You make the Coulter like argument that more purity will lead to a win.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

Hopefully this will result in a Guardian that has a broad appeal to liberal and progressive San Franciscans above and beyond the poverty nonprofits, SEIU and the SFBC.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Describe how that will happen.

Posted by anon on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

The corporate masters sure are off to a great start.

Not.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

prescience as indicating that I think your brand of naivety and blind faith is any more effective than marcos's endless carping from the gallery.

The SFBG is failing because it's constituency is failing, and not because of any specific problem with Bruce, Tim, Steven or Vogt.

The city is changing and the SFBG is mired in the 1960's.

Posted by anon on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:05 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

You cannot extinguish her light. Anymore than you can extinguish the sun, the moon or the stars.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

I'll miss the Guardian, it was definitely my favorite local paper and I highly valued it as a source of information and analysis from the progressive point of view, and I read it every week, eagerly. I won't be following it, for a while at least, being nauseated by the manner in which it now appears to conduct its business, but since I'm not wealthy who cares what I do. I'll be happy to avoid having to read the juvenile nastiness of the comments of The Guardians detractors, who gleefully rejoice in the loss of something uniquely San Franciscan, and was clearly the product of an enormous amount of work by many committed, dedicated journalists who understood what integrity meant. What a sad, engineered ending to a paper with a great legacy.

Posted by Guest David Faulk on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

those of us who offered constructive criticism thru these comments is a self-defeating strategy?

SF has changed and the SFBG did not change with it having, at it's heart, a bunch of ageing hippies who did not adapt and thought they would never need to grow up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:48 am

Your incessant commentary is just evidence that you are a fucking loser, and has no impact on the business model of the SFBG.

I suggest you take a reading comprehension and critical thinking class at CCSF so that you can interact with real people in the real world outside of your internet fantasy land.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:42 am

Maybe you need to attend CCSF although, personally, I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than go there.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:40 am

"...demanded he lay off three specific people in the newsroom (ironically, not including Jones, whose work Vogt has come to publicly praise in recent months)."

Steve Jones gets praised, and he's stocking around, for now. Stalin let people stick around for awhile, too.

"I'm embarassed [sic] that I'm not there, but I'm more embarassed [sic] that I contemplated missing my son's grade one graduation and school play."

The kiddie play-time excuse has been covered already above. What about the misspellings? No editorial direction, and no copy editor either. And the boat sinks...
"The Guardian had seven full-time staff writers when Jones was hired in 2003, which Redmond whittled down to just one by the time the paper was sold, despite the Guardian winning a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the SF Weekly and the chain that owned it, Village Voice Media, for unfair competition and anti-competitive pricing."

So, we know that Her Bruce made millions from the lawsuit and also from the sale of the Guardian property. Has anybody asked Millionaire Bruce to put some money back into the paper and prevent layoffs? Is Bruce no more than a happy rich man, happily wallowing in memories of past deeds?

"Guardian staffers who work directly with the freelancers consistently complained about the unpaid debt and the difficulties it created in working with writers, and Redmond insisted that he was trying to faciltate [sic again] payment but that there was nothing he could directly do to help."

Yes, Tim is an idea man. A true ideologue. Money is beneath him. Sorry, you freelance writers.

"In the 2003 mayor's race, Brugmann at the last minute overrode the consensus endorsement choice of Tom Ammiano, instead insisting the paper endorse Angela Alioto, although an apologetic Redmond allowed staff to print a dissenting endorsement in favor of Ammiano."

I always wondered about that bonehead endorsement. It was Herr Bruce all along. The owner exerting dictatorial rights.

Posted by Candy on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 9:08 pm

He who owns the gold, makes the rules.

There is little point in buying a newspaper and then not having any say in either editorial content or political direction.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 5:46 am

Nobody would read the Guardian if they thought everything we wrote was aimed at making money or catering to our advertisers. The model of newspapers (flawed as it apparently may be in this brave new world we live in) was to have a firewall between editorial and advertising. Editorial needs to speak bold and interesting truths to create a loyal reader base, and those readers then see the ads and support their events, products, and services. Increasingly, under competition from the Internet and the fact that Americans in general aren't reading or engaged in civic affairs like they used to be, newspaper readership declined. The Guardian and most newspapers responded by increasingly catering more editorial content to currying favor with certain communities of advertisers (ie our old weekly pot column), an approach that I never agreed with, as I've said for years, although I understand the arguments for it. Whether that approach hastened or slowed our decline in revenues and readership, it's impossible to know for sure, but decline we did. And that decline fed itself as we lost writers (and yes, Candy, our copy editor as well, who got laid off a couple years ago, leaving us to proof one another's work with obviously mixed results) and had less overall quality content to offer. But we're now reevaluating everything we do, and we will soon be announcing ways for our community to help shape the Guardian going forward, so please stay tuned.

Posted by steven on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:43 am

Murdoch is an interesting example. He owns both the London Times and the Sun in the UK. That's interesting because the former is widely regarded as the most objective and neutral quality paper on the planet, while the latter is a turgid tabloid that routinely uses naked women pics to sell it's copies.

Murdoch does not micro-manage content on the Times, for the reasons you cited, and it would be killing the golden goose. But he will fire it's editor if he doesn't like the direction.

You sacrifice battles but you never sacrifice the war.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:19 am

As soon as I heard this story, those 2012 D5 endorsements were the first thing on my mind. Now it all makes perfect plutocratic sense:

"A perhaps more significant conflict over control of the Guardian came during the fall election when Vogt clashed with Redmond and Jones over the supervisorial endorsement in District 5. First Vogt opposed endorsing Julian Davis, but ultimately made it clear that it was the Guardian's call. After Davis was hit with new sexual misconduct allegations and responded badly to the developments, the Guardian revoked the Davis endorsement.

We then contemplated endorsing Christina Olague — who had regained progressive favor after defying Mayor Ed Lee on a couple of high-profile issues — but Vogt refused to allow it.

"He told me his newspapers would not be endorsing Christina Olague," Redmond said, a point that Vogt confirmed, explaining only that he didn't want to revisit the D5 endorsement after the Davis debacle.

Redmond said that Vogt then 'threatened to fire me' for running a pro-Olague op-ed from longtime queer activist Cleve Jones, despite Redmond's explanation that the Guardian oftens runs guest editorials during election season supporting candidates other than those endorsed by the Guardian."

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 6:31 am

and so Vogt's judgement was correct in that case.

And as the owner, I would have been pretty pissed by being undermined with an obviously contrived "guest editorial". Either allow a "guest editorial" for every candidate, which they did not, or else stick with only the endorsed candidates.

More recently, a SFBG endorsement has been a kiss of death anyway, most notably when the appalling Debra Walker got her clock cleaned by Jane Kim.

Posted by anon on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 6:55 am

The Guardian endorsement has long been one of the most valuable in town, as even conservative political analysts like David Latterman can attest, particularly in down ticket races (school board, DCCC, etc) where people rely on our research or where the left is divided (yes, Kim narrowly beat Walker, but that was for lots of complicated reasons. Our controversial endorsements of Leno over Migden and Campos over two solid progressive competitors were more telling of our impact).

In D5, Vogt certainly proved to be right in trying to dissuade our Davis endorsement, but I've heard many in the progressive community argue that our endorsement of Olague might have helped her win that race and I think that's possible. Whether that outcome was good or bad, people can decide for themselves. Personally, I think Olague would have been a better match to the values of that progressive district, but time will tell whether the election of London Breed pushes the board to the right. She ended up supporting tenants on the recent condo conversion vote, but only after getting a little squirrely toward the end, so I think the jury is still out.

Posted by steven on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:57 am

endorsements?

Marcos claims it's worth 50,000 votes but I see no evidence to substantiate that. Anecdotally it seems much less to me. What does Latterman think?

I'd agree that you have more influence where you least want it, in the less important positions and propositions. For instance, where you have to vote for five folks for some committee, chances are that voters haven't heard of any of them, and care even less, so some guidance can be helpful.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:15 am

Once again, if the publisher of the Guardian - not its top editorial staff - have the final say on political endorsements, I think its important that you make that clear in future political endorsements.

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:24 am

The generals define the strategic objectives and then the captains and corporals implement the tactics.

Without an overall high-level direction, how can the editor operate viably?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:32 am

Vogt's. He gave the order. No paper of mine will be endorsing Christina Olague.

He may let Jones and whoever is on the staff make a decision here and there, but clearly, when the rubber hits the road, he's going to make the call.

The Guardian audience should understand that. Period.

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Do you seriously think that Bruce didn't express any influence over the endorsements that Tim made?

On what planet? WTF is the point of owning a paper and then not caring about what it publishes? Do you own anything? Why?

Posted by anon on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

Guardian endorsements have always been made by the consensus of the editorial board, which includes all the news staff writers. The only exceptions during my 10-year tenure were the two I mentioned in the story: Todd blocking an Olague endorsement last year and Bruce pulling rank in 2003. It is my fond hope that those will remain the exceptions to the rule of endorsements being made by newsroom consensus.

Posted by steven on Jun. 25, 2013 @ 10:28 am

In the same way that Redmond enjoyed backhanding progressives, endorsing them while damning them with faint praise to be used against them, Redmond also would not pull the trigger on nixing the troll factor from this comment area.

One way that propaganda prevails is for the endless repeating of the Big Lies to go on uncontested. Redmond allowed what he said was a community space, a progressive forum, to be colonized by oppressors spouting the dominant ideology.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:28 am

welcome critical commentary is stillborn.

Historically the left has been damned by it's tendency to try and suppression opposition. Thereby it sows the seeds of it's own failure.

Redmond was right to welcome all here, and ultimately failed despite that and not because of it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:41 am

"It's" is the contraction of it is.

"Its" is the possessive pronoun of it, which is the word you should use.

Extra credit: Are you and your troll comrades idiots or idiot's?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 8:30 am

And since when is a incessant reiteration of the dominant ideology now classified as an endangered species of dissent?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:10 am

and voters than the ideology that you just happen to prefer is no reason to seek to suppress expression of it.

You are free to post your ideas and others are free to express theirs.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:38 am

It's obvious, but yes, the Guardian comments section has long been so heavily trolled by the dominant ideology - I call it the privatization of everything existing - that it's no longer a worthwhile community space.

Posted by Ann Garrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

are both intolerant and narrow-minded. Sadly this is often the mistake the elft makes, as was readily seen during the 20th centruty failed attempt at communism in various countries.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 20, 2013 @ 6:13 am

apostrophes.

You're still wrong on the debate, of course, otherwise you wouldn't go all grammar Nazi on him. But it's a start.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:39 am

Guardian comments did become a troll site for the dominant ideology. But how would you have proposed "pulling the trigger" on the trolls?

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:11 am

It immediately sends out the message that the party line must be followed at all times and no dissent or criticism is tolerated.

How did suppression of free speech work out in the communist countries of the 1900's?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:15 am

Everyone knows what trolling is, Guest. Trolls generally do not identify themselves or use fake names.

The constant trolling on the Bay Guardian has long served to prevent any serious discussion among those who identify as progressive or left, unless they simply ignore the trolls here to waste their energies in pointless argument.

Posted by AnnGarrison on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:30 am

And many people here post as "guest" simply because it is the default, and to avoid being stalked or risk others picking on the messenger rather than the message.

Moreover, there is no way of knowing whether your real name is AnnGarrison, or whether it is someone else imp'ing you, or whether you also post under other names.

Back when RossGate was going on, there were maybe a dozen women posting here under various different names and it turned out they were all the same woman - some whackjob who didn't even live in SF.

Someone expressing an opinion you disagree with isn't "trolling".

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 11:41 am

Suggested to Tim a long time ago that they find a registration system so that posters could ignore either unregistered or certain registered users. He took no action on that. At the very least the SFBG should adopt the Examiner's comment system and take away the regular supply of red meat for those who are eating our lunch too.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:32 am

1) There is no way to restrict people to just one registered handle. (Since you're an IT guy, you'll know that IP addresses are useless now to identify people, due to mobile computing, proxy servers etc.)

2) An onerous registration system deters people from registering and posting, which means the audience here will be even smaller than it already is.

3) It encourages an attitude of "play the man, not the ball" where the focus is too much on WHO is saying something rather than WHAT they are saying

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:42 am

I think that much of the problem editorially can be summed up in this statement from Tim,

"As I think you know, what I tried to do at the Guardian was support and work with ANYONE who was sincerely trying to make this city a better place. That's nonprofits, progressive politicians, unions, crazy radicals, protesters, squatters, tenant lawyers, grassroots organizations, socialists, POOR Magazine folks, homeless people, homeless activists, liberal Democrats, elected officials, people who don't trust elected officials ..."

Nowhere in the list of entities/persons are businesspersons, tech workers, small landlords, middle class homeowners/tenants, families or others who call SF home and wish to make this city a better place. Ignoring or actively opposing a large and growing portion of the population is not the way to engage people if you wish to actually affect change (and it certainly doesn't "resonate" with advertisers.)

Posted by Guest666 on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 9:48 am

of fraternizing with the enemy too much, my perception is the exact opposite, i.e. that he'd talk to tenants but not landlords, and then wonder why he could establish no winning consensus.

It's always a problem for the left to avoid factionalization and the imposition of a battle between different classes, but a true consensus-builder must talk to his enemies. Avalos made the same mistake in the last election - he appealed only to his powerbase and there were, quite simply, not enough of them.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:02 am

There are viable progressive and liberal messages that arise outside and independent of "nonprofits, progressive politicians, unions, crazy radicals, protesters, squatters, tenant lawyers, grassroots organizations, socialists, POOR Magazine folks, homeless people, homeless activists, liberal Democrats, elected officials, people who don't trust elected officials" and appeal to them as well as "businesspersons, tech workers, small landlords, middle class homeowners/tenants, families or others who call SF home and wish to make this city a better place" and oppose the neoliberal fleecing of the City.

It is just that "nonprofits, progressive politicians, unions, crazy radicals, protesters, squatters, tenant lawyers, grassroots organizations, socialists, POOR Magazine folks, homeless people, homeless activists, liberal Democrats, elected officials, people who don't trust elected officials" and by extension the SFBG haven't trusted people who don't agree with them that the 1) primary point of government is to serve as a job program while providing services as an optional afterthought and that 2) there are no lengths to the corrupt deals to be cut so that "the most vulnerable" can get crumbs while the 1% make off with the City, screwing most everyone else.

To even make such a statement is viewed as horribly anti-labor and asserting white male middle class privilege over the poor. These linear thinkers can't see that sometimes a political bank shot is required to sink your ball and not your opponent's, that the politically successful route is rarely the most direct.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:23 am

talk to it's opponents but that they should also defeat their opponents.

Any talk of victory and defeat risks being classified as a class warrior - always an effective criticism. The best solutions ensure that everyone gets something and nobody gets everything or gets shafted.

Rent control was a perfect example. The tenant lobby pushed for rent control to be so restrictive and punitive on landlords that the law of unintended consequences kicked in giving us, in rapid succession, Ellis and Costa-Hawkins. The effect of those two State laws was to dramatically reduce the scope of buildings subject to rent control.

Wouldn't it have been better to have worked with the landlords, given them some of what they wanted, and now we would not see all these evictions?

I hope the new SFBG works with those whose views they disagree with, instead of constantly striving for total victory and, in so doing, failing most of the time to get anything.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 19, 2013 @ 10:39 am