Jan. 12 2005 12:00 AM

Bowtied U-T editor administers anesthesia


By appearances, Bob Kittle attempted to sedate his audience, perhaps to limit the depth and intensity of its questions about the Union-Tribune's editorial positions.

Kittle, who's in charge of the U-T's editorial page, lulled a crowd at last Friday's meeting of the Catfish Club at the Channel 10 studios with a roughly 20-minute recitation of the history of the U-T and its publishers. However, one attendee, educator Ernie McCray, came to life, groaning audibly when Kittle described the paper's editorial slant as "moderate Republican."

Despite Kittle's best efforts, when it came time for Q&A, a few mildly interesting tidbits revealed themselves, such as publisher David Copley's influence on the paper's editorial stances.

"The newspaper reflects the views of the publisher," Kittle said. "That is the case at every newspaper.... The publisher has the right and, in my view, the obligation to make sure that his editorial page reflects his view of the world."

He said Copley, despite rumors that he's gravely ill, meets with the editorial board once a week, and Copley's say drowns out all other voices.

As an example, when someone asked whether the potential for a Donna Frye mayoral victory had changed the paper's mind on Proposition F, the "strong-mayor" initiative, Kittle said no, Frye wasn't the impetus for the about-face in the paper's position, which had historically favored the strong-mayor system of government.

"I can answer our change of position with two words: the publisher," he said.

"As the election approached, the publisher told me that he supported the idea of a strong mayor," Kittle said, "but he thought the times were wrong. He was concerned with all of the chaos at City Hall." Kittle said he "gulped more than once. I discussed it a bit with him. In the end, it's his newspaper, so we said, editorially, vote no-this is not the right time for it."

Though he disagreed with Copley, Kittle said, "I didn't quit over this issue"-a jab at former columnist Jim Goldsborough, who quit recently after Copley refused to publish a strikingly inoffensive column by Goldsborough because the publisher considered the piece potentially offensive to Jews. ("Jim had written a number of columns in the past that had offended, at the very least, Jewish leaders in San Diego, who were constantly at our doorstep, unhappy with his columns," Kittle said.)

But the highlight of Kittle's talk was a tasty Freudian slip. He said the U-T published Goldsborough's columns "because they ran counter to the general view of the paper much of the time. But, you know, that's life. That's our job, to prevent all points of view."

He meant to say their job is to present all points of view. Or did he?

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28