Return of the Shrew

Fresh off a month’s sabbatical as “Acting Publisher,” Travis Armstrong broke his silence …

It’s nice to see Travis hasn’t lost his touch.

Fresh off a month’s sabbatical as “Acting Publisher,” Travis Armstrong broke his silence with four editorial topics covered in two days, once again anointed as “Editorial Page Editor.” I sorely underestimated the stamina of our intrepid News-Press editorialist, figuring he’d be exhausted after flinging gasoline all throughout the newsroom and De La Guerra Plaza since the morning of July 7.

By Paul Wellman

Travis Armstrong, 2006

But Friday morning’s top of the page Opinion piece is another Molotov cocktail for those folks still subscribing and following this NewsPressMess. Sayeth the valiant Armstrong, “A cabal aims to silence us while rival media exploit,” setting the stage for the unmasking of the dark forces who “tried mightily over the last month to silence the independent voices on these pages.”

Arms flailing in all directions, Armstrong seems to have run into a spider web – half defense, the rest attack.

Who is this cabal? Let me give you the names per Armstrong’s column: High density development interests, Mary Blum, Susan Rose, “SBCANT,” KEYT, Clear Channel radio, the LA Times, a local freebie, Channel 17, LA Times writers James Rainey, Catherine Saillant, Steven Chawkins, Jane Hulse, LA Times Assistant Managing Editor John Arthur, Steven Amerikaner, Lois Capps, the Coastal Housing Partnership, the Coastal Housing Coalition, Bud Laurent, Janet Wolf, Mickey Flacks, Mary O’Gorman, David Pritchett, Cathy Murillo.

I can’t help but think he’s left someone off the list

For those folks who wondered if it was Travis peering down from the News-Press tower (and taking notes) during the demonstrations of early July, we may have our answer.

Beyond the unhinged finger pointing what of the substance of the article? Armstrong says “the cabal latched onto the resignations of some News-Press editors as a pretext to try to stifle community debate.” One of the pervasive raps on Armstrong’s reign over the Editorial pages is his common practice of not printing letters contrary to News-Press editorial opinion This allegation will never be proved one way or the other, but perception is reality in this instance, and it don’t look good for my man T.

But no matter, for two paragraphs later Armstrong vaguely threatens to call for an end to community debate on cable access Channel 17 because they had the temerity to broadcast a forum in which the dust-up at the News-Press was discussed. Hypocrisy alert!

The rest of the column remains vintage Armstrong, heavy on the lurid affiliations and bilious personal snipes and light on the actual facts. Armstrong rests the bulk of his argument on the premise that any involvement with a subject taints the commentator – sort of an Uncertainty Principle of Politics. Because Rose/Wolf/Capps knows Laurent/Flacks/Amerikaner, they must forever still their tongue. Please read the article to get the true gist.

I now believe, however, since Mr. Armstrong is a “member of a federally recognized Indian tribe in Minnesota,” he must recuse himself from any Indian related commentary, lest we think ill of him.

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