FUE Whining About Editorial Gatekeeping

The Former Editor of the Union (FUE) is whining about gatekeeping by our local newspaper editors, specifically the Union and Auburn Journal, on his blog this morning. Full post is HERE.

One of the main reasons that I am a blogger was, and is, the gatekeeping at The Union. It was especially egregious while the FUE was the the Editor. My letters and Other Voices often just vanished, never to see a printing press. This turn of the screw is more than amusing, it is true schadenfreude.

The FUE writes:

But as an avocation, Gary and I write personal blogs that question the status quo of politics in our foothills communities: The “good old boys/girls network” if you will. Gary is from Chicago; I’ve lived in Chicago but also on “The Coast” as a native Californian. Nobody pays us for this commentary, and it comes at our own peril.

Regular readers are familiar with the contents of this blog, Sierra Foothills Report. Gary’s is titled “The Other Side of Auburn.”

“In a nutshell, you’ll get information about what is happening in Auburn that the local newspapers will not report,” as Gary writes. “I get it that this is a small town and the local media can’t afford to piss off potential advertisers. I get it that there are very few newspaper jobs available, so writers and editors have to toe the corporate line. . .or they’ll be replaced by others who will.”

Yes, the internet is changing how we communicate in small towns — on blogs, on Facebook and on other social media.

It might be “disruption,” to quote a Silicon Valley buzzword. But it is OK for residents to hear a variety of voices rather than a bottleneck of communications that has existed for decades.


My hope is that we can do a better job of embracing diverse voices, locally and nationally.

The trend was identified long ago by a college professor of mine at UC Berkeley named Ben Bagdikian. He wrote a book called the “Media Monopoly,” and it was an eye opening account on the concentration of media.

I wonder how much time the FUE thought about the impact of his gatekeeping when he was the Editor of The Union? My guess he was a good corporate lackey when it come to editorial policy.  Conservative voices in the community have been complaining for years about the gatekeeping and now the left is growing concerned that they are at the gates and no one is paying attention.

Equally interesting it the plea for multiple voices. When a conservative writes a letter to the editor the left does not like, the back stabbing comes out and they flail away, demanding these conservative voices be stilled. A good example is a letter by Norm Sauer which was attacked by the FUE HERE. So much for “embracing diverse voices”. Is he a hypocrite?

Your thoughts?

About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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8 Responses to FUE Whining About Editorial Gatekeeping

  1. Todd Juvinall says:

    There is no reason to give the FUE any more ink time. His blog is a bust and no one listens to his screeds. He is irrelevant in our little community of “good ol’ boys and gals”. Too funny.


  2. Barry Pruett says:

    You can certainly add these items to the plethora of examples that are the yellow journalism of Jeff Pelline.

    “The Union” equals Journalism
    “SFR” (Pelline’s little blog) = the equivalent of Nevada County’s People Magazine or Nevada County MoveOn.org.

    No comparison…and likely an indictation of why Pelline no longer works at the newspaper.


  3. jeffpelline says:

    George summed up his own situation well in his own words: “A clinging barnacle.”


  4. gjrebane says:

    Missed your previous comment (sure wish the comments here had time tags) so wasn’t able to respond to your report of the FUE’s continual stream of yellow journalism. As an example I cite Pelline’s innuendo that I was let go as a Union columnist; here is the fact of the matter –

    The man is simply nasty and a stranger to truth. More examples here –


  5. jeffpelline says:

    If I’m the FUE, you’re the FUC (former Union columnist). LOL.


    • Russ Steele says:


      You are correct. I am a former Union Columnist and I ware the badge with great pride. It was clear that Jeff Ackerman did not want to hear about the real science of climate change. He and/or his wife appeared to be AGW advocates, and there was no room in The Union for the factual science, only the religion of AGW under Amy Goodman’s byline.


  6. gjrebane says:

    The Left 1) never reveals the tenets of their ideology, 2) always opposes the expression of other ideologies and related views, and therefore 3) is never able/willing to debate the aspects and impact of their ideology vs an opposing ideology with respect to any social concern – e.g. healthcare, illegal aliens, America’s world hegemony, role/function of government, tax policy, education, … . They don’t ‘do numbers’ and instead appeal to the ignorant and ill-informed by advocating their policy desiderata through emotionally charged anecdotes, the ubiquity of which they hope is uncritically accepted by their constituencies.


  7. Russ Steele says:

    This is the FUE’s comment on this post:

    Revisionist history:
    Oh no, hard-right political activist and anti-global warming activist Russ Steele, the Former Union Columnist (or FUC), has weighed in with some revisionist history. He was “fired” (to use his own words) by Jeff A. (not me) for a stupid column titled “Are farmers markets better for the environment”? You can read about it in Russ’ own words and the comments below. It’s a hoot: http://ncwatch.typepad.com/media/2010/04/-are-farmers-markets-better-for-the-environment-.html

    [I Never claimed that the FUE Fired me. I wrote 11 columns for Ackerman, 2 were on global warming and he objected to “too much global warming. I have professionals to write about that, Amy Goodman”, he said. Amy Goodman is a global warm. No room for real science in The Union. ]

    When I joined The Union, I invited Russ to lunch to hear his endless stream of “B.S.” I went home just shaking my head, but I organized the lunch.

    After I left, Jeff A. was foolish enough to sign on Russ and George Rebane as regular columnists, caving to the “circle of stupid,” and history has born that out. Now both are Former Union Columnists.

    In this day and age, Swift longtimer Jim Hemig, and “new blood” Dave Schmall before that, are coping with or have coped with the “circle of stupid,” which lives on in our community in greatly diminished numbers. Catering to the “circle of stupid” (about a half dozen angry, entitled white men and some of their nasty activist friends) has not proven to be a growth strategy for The Union since the ’70s and ’80s because it is an aging, declining demographic. It does not reflect our community, only The Union’s readership.

    Meanwhile, the “conversation” is being held in social media, not on The Union’s Op-Ed page. And the “new” The Union columnist is Bored Georgeman. Does history repeat itself? Of course.


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