Tools of the man

Who would Jesus vandalize? Local print-media coverage of last Thursday’s Sacramento City Unified School District meeting—at which the board approved a resolution in support of the “Day of Silence” to combat harassment of gay and lesbian students—neglected to mention activities outside the meeting room. Among the hundreds of people who showed up for the meeting were a large number of opponents of the resolution, who lined the streets outside with signs and chants.

Tina Reynolds, owner of Uptown Studios, who spoke in favor of the resolution, told Bites that “people were feigning spitting on us.”

“One 18-year-old high-school senior was handed a note telling him that he was an abomination and was going to hell,” Reynolds said. “This kid was terrified that he’d been followed home from the meeting.” When she went into the restroom, a small girl “about 6 years old came up to me, put her hands on her hips and said, ’Gay P.U.’ I asked her what that meant, and she didn’t know.” Nice.

Richard Perry, who lives in Oak Park, had come to the meeting with his wife because of another issue on that evening’s agenda. He said that someone from the group of resolution opponents “threw something that broke out the rear passenger window” of his car. Perry made a police report and told Bites, “It’s ironic that they’re claiming there’s no need to teach tolerance, when their actions show something altogether different.”

Now, Bites never could swallow the strain of Christian doctrine that says loving who you want is a sin. It makes about as much sense as the Scientologists’ belief in a malevolent extraterrestrial named Xenu.

But, for any believers out there, isn’t there something in the Christian handbook about casting the first stone?

Dead soldiers: By the time you read this, the McClatchy Corp. may already have finalized a deal selling four newspapers, including the prestigious San Jose Mercury News, to the Denver-based MediaNews Group. The Bee has dutifully reported the basic facts of the merger, the sell-off and Moody’s downgrading of McClatchy’s stock to “junk” status.

What Team Scoopy hasn’t bothered to tell you is that McClatchy probably will end up junking the Merc to save its share price.

That’s because MediaNews Group and its owner, “Lean” Dean Singleton, have a reputation for destroying papers.

The Contra Costa Times reports that MediaNews’ strategy is to centralize its operations, and quotes an annual report promising “to increase operating cash flows at acquired newspapers by reducing labor costs.”

According to a profile in the Columbia Journalism Review, “In 1981, [Singleton] gutted the Trenton Times, prompting its editor to tell CJR ‘The public has lost a watchdog and gained a bulletin board.’”

But Bites’ favorite anecdote: “After a brief, inglorious run, he closed The Fort Worth Press, the city’s second daily, which inspired reporters to hurl beer cans at him.” Merc reporters might want to make a run to the local BevMo pretty soon.

Indy-er than thou: Of course, some people see the paper you are holding in your hand as another corporate tool of the man, just as bad as McClatchy or Singleton.

Check out this recent Craigslist posting, calling for the founding of an Independent Media Center (Indymedia or IMC) here in Sacramento: “If you’re sick of a ‘certain’ publication that considers itself as an alternative and you want to write for one that is truly nonprofit/noncorporate, this is for you.” Check out if you’re not familiar with the IMC idea.

The poster doesn’t let on that there’s been an Indymedia chapter here in town for at least a couple of years now. Sadly, the Sacramento group doesn’t seem to have caught on the way it has in places like Portland or San Francisco.

Bites is all for a thriving Indymedia because, among other things, it’ll give Bites more places to steal ideas from. And now that real media villains in this town have been exposed, Bites is sure a local IMC will finally take off.