SF Weekly took a drubbing last week from Alex Bennett, the mock shock jock from Live 105. Seems Alex was miffed because our readers had picked him as best local radio talk-show host, and poor Alex hadn't yet received his commemorative plaque. OK, OK, the real reason he was peeved was that another section of the issue detailed the best reason not to listen to Alex Bennett: "You're over 18." Well, after tuning in to Bennett's show last week, we now must concede that an apology is in order. To 18-year-olds.
Journalists often play something we call the Diversion Game. To participate, you take a big stand about a non-issue, and obscure a more important one. Case in point: Last week's Chron piece by Al Agate (oops, that's Mick LaSalle to you) about how Hollywood stars don't deserve their big salaries. Like similar screeds against highly paid sports figures, the charge is puerile. If Jim Carrey's last movie made $200 million, why shouldn't he get $20 million for his next? If that happens to be The Cable Guy, he won't get paid so much for the following picture. What's the problem? You don't see us complaining about the 50-grand-plus the average Newspaper Guild hack makes. And where's LaSalle's indignation about the real moneymakers -- the studio heads, producers, and packagers who make that kind of cash year in and year out? If you think about it, they're the only ones who really have a gripe about star salaries. But of course, that's why it's called the Diversion Game.
With Fear and Favor
It's no secret that news at the San Francisco Independent is sometimes driven by Publisher Ted Fang's political allies. But according to recently canned reporter Jeanette Good, you can now get fired for bucking friends of friends of the publisher. Good wrote a critical story about a developer who is friends with Joe O'Donoghue, a politically connected advocate for residential builders who's tight with Fang. Said developer, Brian Cassidy, refused to return phone calls to Good. Over several weeks, Fang and the editors repeatedly held her story -- which chronicled the alleged trash job Cassidy is doing on a West Portal neighborhood where he is erecting luxury condos. Fang and the editors tried to schedule meetings between O'Donoghue and Good to, ahem, discuss the story. Good objected to a crony of the publisher involving himself in the news. Long story short, Fang fired Good for insubordination several weeks ago. And the Cassidy story still hasn't run. No comment from Fang on the firing, but he insists he's reassigned the story. Keep watching.