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Beneath Contempt

If The SF Chronicle reports on a Santa Barbara News-Press story Sunday that reeks of journalistic malpractice.

A data-recovery company found child-porn images on a computer once used by the former managing editor, Jerry Roberts — as well as all kinds of other people, including whoever previously owned the computer and sold it, used, to the newspaper.

The News-Press has been at war with Roberts since he and several others quit in disgust at the eccentric (to put it mildly) behavior of the owner, Wendy McCaw, who has been Exhibit A on how owners can screw up a news organization. She and her henchmen have fired other staffers, and the National Labor Relations Board — which in recent years has been pro-management in the extreme — found that the papers violated labor laws.

The paper keeps its articles behind a pay-wall, which means I haven’t seen the one described today. But based on several accounts by journalists who read the piece and did more reporting, it appears that the News-Press didn’t bother to get a response from Roberts before running the article. Good grief (to put it mildly).

Roberts is considering a libel suit. Maybe, before this is over, he’ll own the News-Press.

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