Dec. 4 2013 08:02 AM

Doug Manchester is now a secessionist

Photo by David Rolland

Every once in a while, U-T San Diego, the region's dominant print news outlet that's gradually tightening its stranglehold on the market by buying up smaller media companies, produces an editorial that reminds us who we're dealing with in U-T publisher Doug Manchester and CEO John Lynch.

In September 2012 it was an editorial called "Obama in 2016? A choice for America!," which among other nutty things, predicted that by the end of the current administration, there would be "an effort to get ‘In God we Trust' removed from U.S. symbols, including our money." This past weekend, it was a couple of editorials that demanded a new stadium for the Chargers and longed for California to be split into two states.

Urging for a new stadium isn't, in itself, completely wacky. Plenty of folks want to settle the issue of the Chargers' perpetual possible departure by building the team a new arena, and some don't even mind if taxpayer money is used, although CityBeat isn't among them. No, it was the way the editorial was written that struck us— particularly one sentence near the beginning: "Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley has merely gotten 14 years older, and the Spanoses' patience no doubt a little thinner."

The sentence was referring to the time since Chargers owner Alex Spanos first said he needed a new joint, and the sentiment is that he and his family have likely become fed up with our collective dithering and our refusal to give them exactly what they want: upwards of half a billion dollars in taxpayer money to help erect a new headquarters for their private, for-profit business. Shame on us.

The editorial—which went on to warn readers that they'll be subjected to weeks' worth of commentaries on why they should help build the Spanoses a new stadium, and warn the next mayor that the paper will harangue him constantly on the issue—shows how obscenely rich, conservative men stick together when it comes to promoting corporate welfare.

But the pièce de résistance was the U-T's editorial on blowing up California, titled "Fixing California: The 51st State," which begins with this calming sentence: "It may not be necessary to destroy California in order to fix it." However, the relief—as well as the sanity—is short lived, because the next sentence begins thusly: "But it may be necessary to cut it in two…."

After acknowledging that blowing up California would be a "monstrous political task," the optimistic U-T concludes that "it could happen." Sure it could. But, as our friend Jeff Johnson said on Twitter, "There is more of a chance of Miley Cyrus riding the Death Star into the Nat'l Mall than there is of any of that hap'ng."

The purpose, of course, would be to create a state that, politically, is slightly to the right of Mississippi. All it would take is getting the vast right-wing rural areas away from the liberals of Los Angeles, the Bay Area and the northern coast. Obviously, San Diego County would be part of "New California," making it the Xanadu-to-be's most liberal area; surely, Manchester and Co. know that our county is trending leftward.

The new state would be free of unions, income taxes and business regulations, a place where all manner of energy-resource extraction would thrive without environmental constraints, vouchers for private-school education would be handed out like candy and standardized testing would— once and for all!—take its place as the supreme barometer of teacher performance.

As another Twitter friend, Andy Kopp, put it, "Shorter U.T.: "Kick-ass idea: Let's cede the tax revenue of Silicon Valley & San Fran, and make our water flammable!" 

"The U-T San Diego ownership thinks secessionist proponents are onto something," the editorial noted.

U-T editorial / opinion director William Osborne insisted on Twitter that attributing this crackpottery to Manchester ("ownership") was simply emphasizing that the idea for the editorial came from the top and that we shouldn't try to read too much into it. But Osbourne's a fairly reasonable conservative who we doubt would never choose to waste his time on this sort of silliness, so, we think it's possible that the editorial writer actively attempted to distance the editorial board from the nutters in the publisher's and CEO's offices.

This is your daily newspaper, folks.

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