Jeff “Podunk” Pelline never tires of reminding the local yokels that he’s a former big time newspaper guy. Too bad he still doesn’t have editors who make sure what he writes is truthful and accurate.
Those two elements of good journalism are lacking when he uses his blog, Sierra Foothills Report, to education Nevada County’s bumpkins on why they should abandon their ways and implement his progressive ideas.
He provides these lectures when he isn’t find faulting with The Union newspaper, tooting his own horn, promoting his magazine, or giving free plugs to advertisers in his magazine (Trattoria Milano has finally decided to buy an ad). His writing tends to be what a former boss of mine called a “workman-like effort,” what you would expect from a promising student in an Introduction to News Writing class.
Pelline has no use for dissenting opinions, and is quick to pull the rug out from under anybody who sharply disagrees with his opinion of the day. (Full disclosure: I quit commenting on his blog when he routinely rejected any comment I made. The final straw came when he complained about something and I replied: “Would you like some whine with those sour grapes?”)
He also has no use for what I call intellectual honesty–a fair representation of what he’s about the criticize. Pelline generally creates a highly selective summary of an article or comment he doesn’t like in a manner designed to make the author look stupid or ignorant, then proceeds to criticize what he summarized.
He banks on the fact that most readers are too lazy to seek out the original material, and comments from his regulars suggest he knows his readers. An excellent example of what I’m talking about can be found now near the top of his blog, a picture of Melanie Trump’s “assets” you’ll also find here by scrolling down to the next post.
Note that one key element is missing from Pelline’s representation: My headline over the front page of the New York Post that reads, “Is this what social conservatives, evangelicals signed up for?” Pelline edited it out because it didn’t create the impression he wanted to leave with his readers.
This is part of his continuing criticism of one of my posts that can be found by scrolling down, “YubaNet: All the news that fits…its political agenda.” Pelline has proclaimed his support of YubaNet and took offense at my criticism of this community resource. The assault started with a comment entitled “Union columnist Boardman’s uncalled for attack on YubaNet.”
“YubaNet mostly republishes press releases…”–Jeff Pelline, blogging on Feb. 28, 2009
In his summation of what I wrote, Pelline wrote that “Boardman claims that YubaNet is ‘smoke and mirrors’ when it comes to being a genuine news source. The real issue is that Boardman can’t stand that YubaNet won’t agree with own views, so he belittles them.”
Pelline didn’t bother to quote the paragraph that followed the “smoke and mirrors” comment, which reads:
“What passes for news at the web site is basically press releases and opinion pieces picked up from other sources.” (I’m late to the party, because here’s what Pelline wrote in 2009: “YubaNet mostly republishes press releases…”)
“And as we saw earlier this week, the news it runs is heavily influenced by the political leanings of its owners.”
That led to the reason I wrote the post: A “news story” announcing the Nevada City Council called a special meeting to express support for police agencies, but didn’t explain the meeting was called to counter criticism generated by Council member Reinette Senum’s incendiary remarks that essentially called police paid assassins. Clearly, YubaNet was protecting Senum.
Podunk didn’t bother to mention any of that in his summary of what I wrote. As for Pelline’s claim that I disagreed with YubaNet’s views so I belittle them, here’s how I ended the post:
“I have no problem with YubaNet taking any position it wants. But if it’s going to let its political bias infect its news coverage, it should at least publish a disclaimer at the top of its ‘news’ section.” Pelline must have confused my post with something else because his summary bears no relation to reality.
He continued his criticism on July 26, when he had a chance to take a shot at both me and The Union with “Wise up Boardman! YubaNet scoops The Union and NCTV on big Supes vote.”
Pelline was referring to the Board of Supervisors’ passage of a temporary medical marijuana growing ordinance. YubaNet “scooped” The Union by announcing the action at 7:07 p.m., one minute before the paper did. (Personally, I was doing something more interesting by then, but I won’t dismiss the possibility that some people wanted the news one minute before they could get it from The Union.)
People who were monitoring the proceedings earlier witnessed a classic example of how Pelline operates. The Union reported that six marijuana plants would be allowed on 2-5 acres in certain areas, while YubaNet reported 3-5 acres. Pelline immediately jumped on this, implying The Union was wrong and YubaNet was right.
Then YubaNet (to its credit) admitted it was wrong. Faster than you can say “Podunk Pelline,” his criticism of The Union disappeared. (You didn’t expect him to give the paper credit for getting it right, did you?)
“I’ve advocated (paywalls) for a long time, for papers ranging from The Chronicle to The Union.”–Jeff Pelline, blogging Feb. 28, 2009.
This is a continuation of Pelline’s criticism of the paper, something that started almost eight years ago when he was let go as editor of The Union–some people apparently can never let go. He mixes occasional legitimate criticism with an endless stream of cheap shots. Pelline will even contradict himself when it suits his purpose.
Regular readers of Pelline’s blog know he routinely criticizes the paper for erecting a paywall around the online version of The Union. But that wasn’t his position in 2009 when he had this to say about paywalls:
“I’ve advocated this for a long time, for papers ranging from The Chronicle to The Union. In a small market such as ours, it’s a ‘no brainer’ to charge for some local content, because it is more ‘unique’ and less ‘commodity’ news.”
YubaNet republishes press releases. Paywalls are a no brainer. I call those good examples of hypocrisy.