Press and pol­i­tics in Santa Bar­bara

Los Angeles Times - - Opinion -

Re “Santa Bar­bara’s news mess,” Opin­ion, May 13

The very rich sel­dom un­der­stand their lim­i­ta­tions. Santa Bar­bara has its share of bil­lion­aires, but Wendy McCaw is in a league of her own.

She as­sumed that, by buy­ing the News-Press, she also owned the news. Yes, own­ers can run busi­nesses as they see fit, but a news­pa­per is no or­di­nary busi­ness. McCaw de­stroyed an in­sti­tu­tion that added co­he­sive­ness to the civic life of this small city. Sooner or later she will tire of this has­sle, and her yacht, jet and law­suits will be a dis­tant me­mory. And it will not be a day too soon. Thank you for high­light­ing the plight of the ded­i­cated jour­nal­ists who gave life­long ser­vice to our com­mu­nity, only to be re­paid in such a cal­lous man­ner. H. Alexan­der Pujo

Santa Bar­bara

In his ar­ti­cle about the in­ter­nal prob­lems at the Santa Bar­bara News-Press, Lou Can­non pro­vided re­spectabil­ity to a highly curious charge about the John Birch So­ci­ety. He pointed to claims made 46 years ago that mem­bers of our or­ga­ni­za­tion “used anony­mous phone calls” to ha­rass some of Santa Bar­bara’s lo­cal lead­ers.

Ei­ther Can­non is clair­voy­ant or he should be ter­ri­bly red­faced. How can he or any­one know who placed the calls that he ad­mits were made anony­mously? Or how can he be so sure that any­one who made any such call while claim­ing to be a John Birch So­ci­ety mem­ber ac­tu­ally held mem­ber­ship?

Whoever made those of­fend­ing calls has never been identi- fied. That such an ex­pe­ri­enced jour­nal­ist as Can­non would re­peat this long-stand­ing inanity is sur­pris­ing. Per­haps he doesn’t like our or­ga­ni­za­tion enough to ig­nore how ridicu­lous he makes him­self ap­pear.

For the record, the John Birch So­ci­ety has re­peat­edly stressed to all mem­bers that foul means (such as anony­mous phone calls) should never be em­ployed no mat­ter how praise­wor­thy the goal.

As a car­di­nal un­der­pin­ning of our ef­fort, this pol­icy has never changed. John F. McManus

Pres­i­dent John Birch So­ci­ety

Ap­ple­ton, Wis.

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