My job, as I see it, is to find and manage journalists who write local, unbiased, award-winning news that is relevant to our community and to provide a platform for people to voice their thoughts, ideas or concerns.
One of the reasons I wanted to start a paper in the first place was that my letters to the previous paper were getting edited to the point of changing what I was saying and that upset me. This is why Valley News has never edited letters. It was also the experience of attending events where San Diego Channel 10 news was covering and when I watched the news that evening, what they reported was very different then what I had seen firsthand. It was then that I thought we just need media that is covering the news truthfully – not one that is pushing a narrative or ideology.
Later, I was able to have a conversation with Carol LeBeau who I knew personally and really liked. She was the anchor reporting that erroneous version of the event and she explained to me that they, as the talent, are handed the news from an editor and do not have control of it, something I found to be very interesting. News writers and editors have a lot of power to influence peoples’ ideas and opinions.
On our staff we have people with differing opinions on things, we have both democrats and Republicans and even some independents, all done on purpose to be able to explore and understand those different viewpoints which really sharpens us as a company. I’ve let more than one talented writer go just because their news writing was so biased. It does not matter which side they lean toward, unless it’s an opinion piece it should be unbiased.
We have provided the Sunday Los Angeles Times complimentary to our Village News subscribers for 20 years, and it’s not because we line up ideologically with the Los Angeles Times. It’s because we trust our readers to discern for themselves the news – and believe me we get grief for that too, sometimes even cancellations. Just last week, we had one reader call and cancel their subscription because they saw we were awarded a Facebook Journalism Project grant and they assumed now that they can no longer trust us to be unbiased.
Carrying national news, as I have written before was both a business decision (increases our traffic) and because what happens locally is inherently tied into what is happening at the state, national and even world levels. What has happened with COVID-19 is the perfect example of how what Gov. Newsom declares has a huge effect on all of us. We were also greatly affected by declarations made by President Donald Trump.
We find ourselves affected by the actions of Attorney General Barr and what Congress and the Senate vote on more than ever, whether its Payroll Protection Programs and stimulus money, closing churches, mandatory vaccines or increasing the deficit.
While most of the news we choose is from The Associated Press (just left of center, something I will address in next week’s column,) we also provide national news via The Epoch Times which just happens to be right of center to provide perspective. It does not mean that they do not produce award-winning journalism any more than it means that you can never get a good story from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, etc.
All those organizations, while they are typically, farther left, still have produced some amazing articles and will, I’m sure, continue to do so.
Right now, there is so much happening in the world, and we as a country have to figure out some extremely complicated issues which reach beyond the scope of local news. The things we face transcend political parties. These are issues of freedom, individual, inalienable rights versus the greater good. It is states’ rights versus national rights and figuring out legalities of the expanded rights of governors over the legislature and presidential executive orders outside of Congress.
We have sheriffs, elected by the voters all across the country declaring they won’t enforce edicts from their governors. Is that legal? They took an oath to uphold the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. We are taking a deeper look into that phenomenon and are unraveling it now.
Speaking of the rule of law, we have three years of investigations that now the FBI and the Department of Justice are finding had no predicate to start in the first place and that some 2,000 people around the president have been spied on, investigated and sometimes worse, just to try and find some dirt on our president. Dirt, which actually never existed, according to many sources and recently released documentation. Lt. Col. Flynn, after 30 years of service to his country, was targeted criminally just like the Internal Revenue Service did to groups a few years back.
I watched the entire Senate hearing of former President Obama appointee Inspector General Michael Horowitz where he outlined the FISA abuses, the “mistakes” that were made while purposely trampling on peoples freedoms, including changing 302 reports to reflect Carter Page was not in Russia working as a CIA asset when the CIA wrote that he clearly was working for them. These are our agencies who are supposed to uphold the rule of law. So why is this important locally? It’s important because if the agencies who are supposed to be at the top of the food chain are corrupt, someone needs to be talking about it and too many of the bad actors are in bed with the TV networks.
I power through days of hearings. I listen every day to press conferences. Then I see how the media portrays what was said. I can clearly and unwavering tell you that what people hear on the nightly news is typically not a good representation of the event. When I see a good piece that lays out the facts after an event, it is just easier to get permission to use it whether it is from The Associated Press, City News or The Epoch Times, which I believe has been misrepresented.
I have researched and followed the accusations against The Epoch Times, and I encourage all readers to find my podcast with Siyamak Khorrami and listen to their story for yourself. Just because some of them are a different religion and have had firsthand terrible experiences with the Communist Chinese government does not mean they are not creating great journalism. They should not be discriminated against. They have been on the forefront of exposing many travesties.
I was just talking to staff about that because our best and most enlightening discussions are with people whom we politically disagree within the office. When the calm and rational discussion has ended, we all have learned something which causes us to revisit and sometimes even adapt our own ideas and positions. I think it would be good to have those discussions and broadcast them to everyone. The free exchange of ideas is one of our most powerful freedoms and assets as it is the way we communicate and argue to protect the rest of our freedoms.
National news is just too important right now to not report on it.