Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cancel Your "Contra Costa Times" Subscription Now

The times are changing. It is time newspapers stayed with truth and facts. If you believe that, then you should cancel your subscription to the Contra Costa Times, aka The Valley Times, aka West County Times, aka East County Times published by the Bay Area News Group – East Bay. Why? The full page U.S. Citizen Association ad on page AA3 of the August 26, 2009 issue of The Valley Times is the most offensive and lying deceptions I’ve ever seen a newspaper publish. The ad, well, is simply an offensive, lying piece of crap. Click this link or copy it to your browser to see the offensive ad:

I’m not the only one who’s pissed. I notice that the Daily Kos is as well. In fact, he’s so bent out of shape by the face-slap that he wrote a blog entry so quick he didn’t have time to use capital letters; here it is. And, the comments on the blog say people are canceling their subscriptions to newspapers that run the ad and I am too. The ad is intended to deceive and it tells all the lies it can think of to do that. The most offensive part of the ad, however, is a “sign up” form for people to join the ignorance campaign. Here is my letter to The Valley Times:

August 26, 2009

The Valley Times

P.O. Box 5088

Walnut Creek, CA 94596-1087

Re: Subscription Account *****94

Dear Valley Times,

Please cancel my subscription immediately. Your newspaper is straying from honest and truthful presentation of current issues and news. I find the full page ad on page AA3 in the August 26, 2009 issue offensive in every fiber of my being; it presents a lying, bold deceit and it offers the most vulnerable and ignorant in our society a method to spread the deception by joining a revolt against our government.

If your newspaper wishes to sell papers by being controversial, then present facts and broadly held truths about issues. But, you cross the line when you sell your paper to deceptive advertisers. I will not pay you to do that.



Here is my email exchange with David Rounds, Bay Area News Group publisher and a few of his staff. Their email addresses are Rounds, David (publisher), Turpin, Michael (marketing) and Gust, Kelly (editor). As with all email exchanges, the top is response to the one below it.

Dear Mr. Rounds,

I appreciate your position and your response. I'm suggesting that you be a truth police. As I responded to Mr. Turpin, all sides should include factual arguments on the issues. I would add that facts and truths learned from investigative reports, which you see on a daily basis, should be included in any argument or presentation of the truth and attempts to find the truth. But, the ad is none of those. It is clearly deception and misrepresents all known facts about the issues it addresses. It is false advertising. It promotes ignorance. It is selling a deceptive product. At some point in time, your newspaper will have to stand for honesty in the press and on that principal; a line in the sand. I'd say that even two standard deviations on either side of your average ad wouldn't include this particular ad. It's extreme. I'll bet that a good reporter could expose this ad as false on your front page.

It's one thing for opinions, such as those expressed by Thomas Sowell, to preach the extreme right-wing mantra on the opinion page, but quiet another for a paid advertiser to offer a "sign up" form with the intent to deceive and promote ignorance for the sole purpose of defeating a government reform initiative.

No, there's no need to publish my comments.



----- Original Message -----

From: Rounds, David

To: Dave Clark ; Turpin, Michael ; Gust, Kelly

Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 10:11 AM

Subject: RE: Subscription Cancellation

Mr. Clark:

Let me say that I am concerned about every subscription we have and would be very sorry to lose you because of this advertisement. I personally disagree with all of the statements and content of this ad by the U.S. Citizens Association. However I am very reluctant to put our newspapers in the position of becoming the “truth police” around politically based advertisements unless there are clear issues of liable or calls for direct violence against another. If we started to do this we would very quickly find ourselves on a slippery slope of only publishing political advertising for those issues and candidates whose views aligned with our own. I believe that the newspaper has done good work providing balanced coverage of issues that are important to all of us. In any event, thank you for sharing your opinion. I was wondering if you had intended your note for publication in the letters section of the newspaper. If so, please let me know.


David Rounds

From: Dave
Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 8:08 AM
To: Rounds, David; Turpin, Michael; Gust, Kelly
Subject: Subscription Cancellation

Dear Mr. Rounds, Mr. Turpin and Ms. Gust,

I'm sending this to notify you that I'm canceling my subscription to "The Valley Times" by a separate letter. I'm sure that you are not usually concerned with cancellations, but in this case I want you to know why. The ad on page AA3, a full page ad by U. S. Citizens Association, in the August 26, 2009 issue is a lie and probably sedition. There is no reason for such an ad except to turn citizens against the U. S. Congress and the U. S. President and in fact against the U. S. Government. There is no factual basis behind the ad and it is clearly fear mongering.

The fact that your paper was paid to publish it says a lot more about your own attitude toward our country than any other action you might personally take. You are clearly more interested with revenue than truth or the country you live in. I will not contribute to the existence of your paper through subscribing to it for one more day than it takes to process my cancellation.

I also have a web blog where I also will post my dissatisfaction with your paper. It is not a well known blog, but it has a few readers. Perhaps those readers will find the ad equally offensive and take similar action.



P.S. Also watch Sick Around the World, at PBS.

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