Home>Articles>Should Mayor Darrell Steinberg Bail Out the Bankrupt Sacramento Bee?

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. (Photo: youtube)

Should Mayor Darrell Steinberg Bail Out the Bankrupt Sacramento Bee?

Mayor likens effort to save newspaper with fighting for NBA Kings and major league soccer

By Lloyd Billingsley, March 9, 2020 6:59 am

The bankruptcy of the McClatchy newspaper chain has driven Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg to mount a rescue operation. As Ryan Lillis reports, Steinberg is working to “form a local ownership group that could purchase The Sacramento Bee, separating the 163-year-old publication from its parent company and more than two-dozen sister newspapers across the U.S.” The newly reelected mayor is fired up for the cause.

“We’re not going down without a fight on behalf of the community,” the mayor proclaims, “just like we didn’t go down when it came to the Kings, when it came to Major League Soccer, when it came to everything else we are achieving in this city and in this region.”

Residents of the city and the region have cause to wonder about the parallels.

Sacramento functioned well as a city before the Kings of the National Basketball Association set up shop in 1985. In those days, Sacramento was a two-newspaper town, with the Bee and the Sacramento Union. The NBA is not in bankruptcy and the Kings do not stand in need of new ownership.

Regional residents might also strain to find a parallel between the establishment of a major league soccer team and the rescue of a bankrupt newspaper chain. Taxpayer support for privately owned sports teams is a matter of some dispute, and a politician’s efforts to rescue a newspaper might raise some red flags.

“Are we better off in any way if we lose one of the most important voices for independent journalism?” Steinberg wonders, adding, “high caliber, independent journalism is essential for California’s capital city.” Californians might agree with the need for independent journalism but question how the Bee qualifies as an independent voice.

As California Globe noted, the Bee has been a purveyor of fake news in the columns of Diana Griego Erwin, who was allowed to resign when her longstanding fakery was exposed.

The current opinion editor of the Bee is Gil Duran, a former press secretary for California Gov. Jerry Brown and communications director for Sen. Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco Democrat. 

In columns on key events, writers are rarely identified as political appointees, or party operatives.

For his part, Mayor Steinberg appears to ignore political bias and fake news as contributors to the bankrupt newspaper he now sets out to rescue.

“It’s my job to rally and to organize and to help bring forward some real ideas that might, might, might save the day,” the mayor explains. Californians might believe the major’s job is to run the city in a responsible and prudent manner, not to mount a rescue operation for a bankrupt newspaper chain. On the other hand, the mayor is right that the project is a long shot.

According to Lillis, if a judge approves the McClatchy bankruptcy, the Bee’s likely new owner would be Chatham Asset Management LLC, a New Jersey-based hedge fund. Purchasing the Sacramento Bee during bankruptcy proceedings would be “a complicated but not unprecedented maneuver,” and according to news industry analyst Ken Doctor, a new owner “would have to rebuild pretty much from the ground up.”

Any prospective new owner might have ideas different from current McClatchy bosses and Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg. 

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5 thoughts on “Should Mayor Darrell Steinberg Bail Out the Bankrupt Sacramento Bee?

  1. What you are describing about the Sacramento Bee (and the Mayor) is true, not just in Sacramento, but in so many of California’s cities, which doesn’t make it any less damaging and frustrating for Sacramento, I know. (And shame on Steinberg for his relentless nonsense, anyway; just STOP IT already.)

    But all over this state the situation has reached the point where it’s almost impossible to get the straight dope about anything that’s happening anymore. California has very few reporters who report now; it sometimes seems like the number is nearly zero except for those connected to the California Globe and maybe some local TV stations. For many many years we’ve watched helplessly as our own local newspaper reporters have shamelessly served up phony stories that politically help the local Dems, after which the reporters become aides to local Dem politicians, a curious career choice for a reporter if one is ignorant of how this particular reward system works.

    If we could only blast this practice and the useless news that results from it and get back to basics we might have a shot at making the city newspapers thrive again.

  2. I ended my subscription to my local newspaper (Press Enterprise), several years ago. I had a subscription for many years. Got tired of the increasing rates to read pro illegal alien and liberal/leftist sided news stories.
    I go to sites such as this one, for accurate news reports.

  3. Sac Be is a paper of the donks, by the donks, and FOR the donks…any bailout should be paid by donks only…

  4. I left the bee 11years ago after I got disgusted with, could no longer stomach the leftist/statist spin on news and the extremely biased opinions.
    Add to that the increased cost for reduced content/quality, and the decision to cancel was a no brainer.
    If the bee would tack back to the middle, and do some real reporting vs. acting as a cheer squad for the Dem politicians I’d seriously consider subscribing again. But there’s no chance that will happen.
    So flush that rag. Serves them right.

  5. Sac got the kings when online replies were eliminated unless you had paid a fee to the bee..before that there were numerous arguments – most of them well written-often up to 300 a day..Then there were none-currently the bee can make proven lies- and then you see that there are zero replies–example- early articcle pinned blame for school crisis on district officials ie howard fine–thenn a month later-feature writer pinned blame on the unions—feature writer slants to the right not unions–how many replies –zero–not one–democracy depends on news which can replied .. the bee is not a left wing rag-voiced over and over by right wingers.– bee recommended jack tuck- right wing charter school-does that sound like liberal rag—–time has passsed for free expression on critical issues– ie. fake news. where are independent reoorters– on mars?

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