A Note to McClatchy News

TO:       Joe Kieta, Senior Vice President of News and Editor, Modesto Bee
FROM: Mayor Carmen Sabatino
CC:       Craig I. Forman, President and Chief Executive Officer – McClatchy

After reading Mike Dunbar’s shocking Twitter posting insulting a Congressional candidate for District 10, (PRIOR to any editorial endorsement) – I was not surprised, but saddened for our community.

Not only did Mike Dunbar post this quote, blatantly revealing the eventual position the Bee will take, he actually reposted it inside a letter to the editor online.   I don’t know what is worse, the inappropriateness of his action, or the fact that he felt so freely to violate accepted ethical journalism standards.

Mike Dunbar describes some of his duties at the Bee as “… writing newspaper’s official editorial positions, including candidate endorsements… AND …Responsible for choosing op-ed stories and letters to the editor… AND direct contact with various decision-makers and political entities.

First – note the posting (he calls a Legitimate Candidate “desperate” under the logo of the Modesto Bee Editorial”:

Second – being that Mike Dunbar chooses the letters to the Editorial, it is curious that in regards to Michael Eggman, he cherry-picked the following three:

  1. Teri Hines: Democrats shouldn’t try to force Eggman on us; we have Cox
  2. Laura Scarborough: Where has Eggman been while others were running?
  3. Kathy Peixoto: Why does Eggman think third try vs. Denham will be different?


A suggestion for you:

  1. It will save the public the time from reading the editorials and opinions published in the Modesto Bee.
  2. It will also save you the time and expense of writing, editing and publishing editorials and opinions.
  3. It will allow the Bee to drop the facade of actually having an editorial board involved in determining the papers official opinion.
  4. It will allow your readers to understand your actual opinions months ahead of when you actually publish it.
  5. Your will be able to admit that that what you publish is intended to drive a story, not report on a story.

My suggestion is that you drop your Op/Ed section of the Modesto Bee, and just point readers to Mike Dunbar’s Twitter account – as he uses 280 characters to tell the official Bee position without having to leave his chair and smartphone.

It has been said that Journalism is dead… I tend to believe it is being murdered, one character at a time.

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