Get Riehl: Censorship Comes to Town

by Richard J. Riehl on September 20, 2012

Screen Shot 2012-09-20 At 3.56.35 PmBeginning in October Carlsbadians will get only Papa Doug Manchester’s (right) slant on the daily news.

Who’s Papa Doug (his preferred first name) and why should we care? The hotelier-turned-media mogul bought the North County Times [for $11.95 million]. Added to his acquisition and name change to the San Diego Union Tribune two years ago, he’s hellbent on creating a Hearst-like media empire in San Diego County.

And why should we care? He’s declared an editorial war on government employees, unions, President Obama, writers who don’t help promote the community, and anyone who walks, talks or acts like a Democrat. My last North County Times column critical of the empty boosterism of Carlsbad’s latest State of the City video would not see the light of day in a Manchester newspaper.I experienced Papa Doug’s reign of terror for journalists when I submitted what was intended to be my last The Riehl World column scheduled for publication tomorrow. Here’s the part that was deemed too hot to handle, followed by Editor Kent Davy’s explanation.

“After being able to rant on this page for nine years, often at odds with editorial board positions, my homework assignments for the NCT end with this, my last column. I made that decision after learning the newspaper had been sold. Not that the new owners would have welcomed my prickly presence on their opinion pages.

In a KPBS interview on September 11 Doug Manchester said he hadn’t yet decided on the “brand” of the North County Times. But he left little doubt it will be a virtual clone of UT San Diego, given his primary goal to “salute what’s right and good about San Diego,” with a special pro-military, pro-business, and pro-Padres and Chargers focus.

NCT Editor Kent Davy, on the same KPBS show, described the newspaper’s mission: “We don’t work for corporate masters. We work for readers and the notion of doing good work,” to “hold a mirror up to the community,” to “show the community its successes and failures” and to “right wrongs.”

Asked if the new NCT will keep its own editorial board, Manchester replied, “We will definitely get editorial input from the North County area.” He didn’t promise editorial independence. But he did promise that the NCT, like its big brother in San Diego, will carry front page editorials advancing his conservative political agenda.

I’ll be rooting from the sidelines for the survival of NCT’s journalistic integrity, but I’m not holding my breath.”

And here’s Davy’s explanation of why the column was rejected:

“Richard: I am not willing to let you tee off on Manchester this way. There are people here who will have to work for him even if you don’t.” — Kent R. Davy | Editor | North County Times

It’s a sad day, not only for journalists, but for Carlsbad residents who will need to find sources other than their daily newspaper to find a diversity of opinions about issues they care about.

Richard Riehl writes from La Costa. Contact him at

Rick Myhre September 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I agree with your analysis and conclusions. Three weeks ago, I cancelled my subscription to the paper after 22.5 years. I’d made the decision to let the paper lapse when the current subscription went out in June. They kept throwing it into my driveway until I called them (after two months) and said I didn’t want the rag in my driveway and why. I’ll get my local news from online sources like VOSD and continue to get national and world news from the New York Times and other reliable outlets. Best of luck in future!

Crunch Hammer September 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

See Kent Davy fall in line for hopes of not becoming a newspaper delivery boy.

The decline of the NCT in recent years has his filthy hands on it and you know he was the first person to slip to his knees in front of Papa Doug. (Maybe the second if sports editor Eric Breier was in the building).

How many strangled kittens will occur in the Papa Doug era? How many real stories will be ignored?

And how bad will the good folks of the North County feel with no valid newspaper in the region?

JC October 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

I’ll join the growing crowd who will steer around these boulders in the stream.
Online news sources allow instant access to great diversity in worldview and I intend to continue to take advantage of it. Papa Doug and his troop of angry Ayn Randers can rant and rave in their personal political playground and banter about sports all they want and post vicious attacks on one another in the comment section while the rest of us drift away in search of actual description of and insight into world developments.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: