POV: Stop the rhetorical insanity

Roman S. Koenig

Leave Jim Kydd alone.

Some of you might find this statement surprising coming from the editorial director of the North Coast Current, especially those of you who have chosen to use recent coverage in this publication as a passive endorsement of typical Encinitas-style “hate politics.” I found it fascinating in the past couple of weeks how the Current, in its work to cover news and provide civil discourse, had cuffs and chains thrown at it for this town’s mud pit of rhetorical nonsense.

The center of this pit at the moment? Coast News publisher Jim Kydd’s stated desire to separate election-year advocacy from his newspaper through the creation of encinitaselection.com. That desire is not in question nor was it ever, as far as I’m concerned. Issues of political-season transparency and process made the issue newsworthy, however. There were valid questions to be asked on the news side. In light of Douglas Manchester’s newly created monopoly of daily news, there also needed to be an editorial analysis.

The issue of whether Kydd’s website is legal under campaign law will play itself out in the courts, if it goes that far. If it’s legal, move on. If it’s not legal and there are fines to pay, then still move on. My prediction is that as part of First Amendment protected press, Kydd’s website will likely stand.

The newsworthy angle to this, as far as the Current and U-T San Diego were concerned, was transparency and process. The editorial angle to this, as far as the Current was concerned, was again transparency and process. This publication’s editorial never took Jim Kydd to task for speaking out, never said he was evil and should be put out of business, never said he should even be taken to court.

No one’s life is on the line here, nor should it be. People’s recent behavior would seem to have you believe otherwise, in my opinion.

The North Coast Current was sound in judging the story’s news value and civil in its approach to the editorial. This coverage was necessary given the media climate in the region right now.

As of today, look at where we’re at. The North County Times is essentially gone. There is now only one daily newspaper for a county that’s a hub of the state and nation. Media conglomerate America Online is patching itself like a nationwide grocery chain into “community” journalism. Locally owned community weeklies, and for-profit and nonprofit news websites, are working hard to keep the readers who remain. The challenge for all of us is that our collective jobs are at stake, yet we’re in competition with each other as we work at U-T San Diego, Patch, voiceofsandiego.org and various community publications. You think I don’t know that?

So with all that said, leave Jim Kydd alone. He has made choices for his publication, readership and himself that he sees work best for what he believes. Editorially, the Current doesn’t agree with how he handled the website. That’s its editorial opinion. News-wise, the questions local media asked were necessary. There’s nothing more to read into it.

As for those forces inside and outside this community who are using the North Coast Current as their soapbox, leave the North Coast Current alone. The ownership of this publication speaks for itself and appoints no one else.

This whole rhetorical battle over encinitaselection.com certainly has its amusing moments. The most amusing comes from an exchange in comments Oct. 27 between posters Jack Lane and Vikki St. Mary.

Lane accused the “blog” North Coast Current of being part of a leftist conspiracy against Jim Kydd: “This latestest (sic) critique of Jim as a person and his publication is typical of the vitriol that come from the Left and its need to smear and define others.” To which St. Mary replied: “So there is a liberal media conspiracy against the liberal media?? You are confusing please explain.”

St. Mary’s call is right on, although I would say our publications are ultimately more centrist (not to speak for Jim Kydd, though).

The Coast News and North Coast Current are on the same page when it comes to Encinitas City Council endorsements. The Current, like Coast News, supports Lisa Shaffer and Tony Kranz, and does not support conservative incumbents Jerome Stocks and Mark Muir. However, the Current supports Propositions K and L, largely attributed to the council’s conservative majority. Much of the “vitriol,” as Lane puts it, is in the comment sections of the Current, Patch and blogs from supporters of conservative candidates such as Stocks.

All of this goes right to St. Mary’s reply to Lane’s cliché interpretation of recent events.

A leftist plot by one centrist publication against another? I think not.

Roman S. Koenig is editorial director and publisher of the North Coast Current. Columns are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of North Coast Current ownership.