This Will End Badly


I’m a union member and a union supporter, but this is not good at all. The Los Angeles Police Union has a $30 million investment in the group that just bought the San Diego Union-Tribune. (We can discuss the wisdom of that investment strategy later.) The Union-Tribune has been calling for cutbacks on salaries and benefits for public employees in order to help close gaping budget deficits. The police union doesn’t like that, so what do they want?

“Since the very public employees they continually criticize are now their owners, we strongly believe that those who currently run the editorial pages should be replaced,” Weber wrote in a March 26 letter to Platinum CEO Tom Gores.

I understand their frustration, and share it, but firing editorial writers because they criticize you is bad journalism and bad citizenship. Demand equal time on the editorial page instead.

A newspaper that caves to the demands of investors or advertisers loses all its credibility, and will fail (unless it’s being backstopped by a rich owner who doesn’t care about losing money). If nothing else, the Police Union should back down from this demand because they’re putting their own already shaky investment at even greater risk.

Brian Spears's first collection of poetry, A Witness in Exile, is now available through Louisiana Literature Press, and at his personal website. He is the Poetry Editor for The Rumpus, and teaches poetry at Drake University. More from this author →