Main | Monday, June 11, 2012

SAN DIEGO: Anti-Gay Activist Turns Local Newspaper Into Wingnut Mouthpiece

San Diego hotel magnate and Proposition 8 backer Doug Manchester bought the local daily newspaper last year. And since then the paper has become a relentless shill for anti-gay and anti-progressive causes. The New York Times observes:
Mr. Manchester is anti-big government, anti-tax and anti-gay marriage. And he’s in favor of a remade San Diego centered around a new downtown waterfront stadium and arena. Public agencies that have not gotten the hint have found themselves investigated in the news pages of The U-T. A sports columnist who was skeptical of the plans found himself out of a job, and the newspaper has published front-page editorials and wraparound sections to promote political allies who share its agenda. According to several employees at the paper, a feature called “Making a Difference” has included flattering profiles of many of Mr. Manchester’s associates. The oddest part? Mr. Manchester and the chief executive, John T. Lynch, who also owns part of the paper, are completely open about their motives. “We make no apologies,” Mr. Lynch said by telephone on Friday. “We are doing what a newspaper ought to do, which is to take positions. We are very consistent — pro-conservative, pro-business, pro-military — and we are trying to make a newspaper that gets people excited about this city and its future.”
BACKGROUND: After Manchester's $125,000 donation to Protect Marriage was made public, a boycott of his San Diego hotels was launched, costing the properties millions in lost convention business. Manchester then offered LGBT groups blocks of free hotel rooms with a value that equaled his Prop 8 donation, an olive branch that was refused. In 2009 Manchester's wife of 43 years launched an ugly divorce proceeding that included claims that he had forged her name on an $8M tax refund check. In 2010 his hotel hosted the wedding of Ladyfingers Prejean. Manchester has been lauded by GOProud, who broke the boycott and hosted an event at one of his hotels.

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