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Reporters are used to hearing endless conspiracy theories. We get phone calls, e-mails, strange unsigned letters in the mail with lots of capital letters. And, of course, we dream up our own. Sometimes, we do research on them and see if they pan out. Most of the time, they don’t. Once in a while, they do, and you have a great story. Like Watergate.
Nowadays – in the bizarre, hypersensitive climate that has engulfed City Hall – we’ve become the subject of conspiracy theories.
Here’s an idea of just how poisoned things have become: In one recent week, we got accused by multiple people in the “reform” camp of actively working on behalf of former Mayor Dick Murphy and Council President Scott Peters to defeat the efforts of City Attorney Mike Aguirre. Why? A new board member of ours was an attorney in the same large law firm that was representing Murphy and Peters.
That same week, we received an e-mail questioning our character and professionalism from someone in the anti-Aguirre camp. It read:
You guys need to stop the trip down the primrose path and listen to someone other than Aguirre and his friends or your going to become the “Farce of San Diego” instead of the voice, or is it the “Vice of San Diego”?
This same angry soul also said the following:
You are not telling the public the truth about what happened, but I gather it makes no difference to point that out.
I point these anecdotes out not to vent. You learn to get thick skin very quickly as a reporter.
I tell these anecdotes because they illustrate a larger story about today’s City Hall. It’s not about truth, it’s about viewpoints. Nothing is seen objectively; it’s all seen from a viewpoint. Anything that doesn’t fit the viewpoint of the individual observer can’t possibly be true.
(And as an aside, the best conspiracy theory I’ve heard from City Hall: That I’m positioning myself for a job at the U-T.)
((And as another aside, I’ll be hosting all day so please write me if you have any questions about covering City Hall you want answered. Otherwise I’m likely to go off in a million different directions. It’s not often a news guy gets a free forum like this.))