Maybe the SacBee should “Lighten Up”

There has been quite a bit of attention from the Sacramento Bee about the John McCrea story, and I’ve got a few things to say about it. I appreciate the attention to the SacRag, positive, negative or neutral, but I feel the need to correct a few details that I feel the Bee got wrong.

I think Rachel Leibrock missed on a few points. Call it poetic license, call it journalistic opinion, but I call foul. You may have noticed that there are many things in her 21Q blog entry in quotation marks, which I said, and other things that are not, but are attributed to me as they are accompanied by the words “so says”.

Her headline was “Lighten Up Sac – or so says Sacrag writer”. Well, that sentence implies that I said those words. I did not. I never said that Sacramento should lighten up, mellow out, take a chill pill, calm down, cool it now, or float on (oops, that last one shows my age). In fact, I acknowledged to her that I knew that I was running the risk of offending people with this story.

Another quote from her story is the implication that I said, “Ya’ll should step off, too.” Again, I never said anything to this effect. In fact, I don’t think I have ever used the words “step off” in my life, and I would expect my friends to punch me square in the face if they ever heard me utter this phrase.

Most offending to me is her claim that I feel that “SacRag readers don’t have a very good sense of humor”. Whoa. Damn. I have all sorts of problems with this statement.

First and most important, I never said that, nor did I say anything that implies it. In fact, the readers of the SacRag crack me up. Some comments to stories bug me, but I am still amused by the interaction that occurs on this site.

Second, please look at the comments that were made by readers. A total of six readers made negative comments about the story. Six. According to StatCounter, we had 1,053 unique visitors and 551 click-throughs to the entire story. I know that we have this level of daily traffic (although this was a bit more than usual), so I would never judge the readers of the Rag based upon negative comments from only six readers.

Third, I am not arrogant enough to think that if I write something humorous that others do not find funny, that this means that the dissenting readers are somehow deficient. Different strokes for different folks.

To conclude, I don’t want anyone to think that this article is “sour grapes”. We at the Rag provide media commentary and criticism, just as Rachel does when she writes her 21Q blog. Blogging is not necessarily journalism, as a blog provides opinions, interpretations and spin with more individual freedom than a piece of journalism that is subject to editorial control and a more stringent demand for neutrality and a consideration for a well-rounded presentation of opinions. We at the Rag have already acknowledged our mistake; I hope that our counterparts at the SacBee are big enough to do the same.

12 thoughts on “Maybe the SacBee should “Lighten Up””

  1. Are you sure that you didn’t sing/say a line from Digital Underground’s Humpty Dance that simply got taken out of context? “Tell him step off I’m doin’ the hump.”


  2. You can’t have it both ways.

    Bloggers get all huffy and declare that they’re “journalists” of some new era, and that the mainstream media is defunct.

    Then, some blogger pulls some peurile prank, demonstrating that just because some juvenile delinquent has a keyboard and internet access, it doesn’t make him a “journalist”.


  3. Nobody here has ever claimed to be a journalist. This blog often links to genuine journalistic sources.


  4. Rah62, some bloggers may claim to be “journalists”, but don’t lump me in with them. I think on this incident alone, I have been clear in making the distinction between the two forms of media and of the fact that I am not a journalist.

    Just to be even clearer, some journalists blog (like the folks at the Bee), but blogging does not make one a journalist.


  5. Stickie for what it’s worth I thought your posted apology took humility and was very gentlemanly, and cool. I wouldn’t sweat this too much – keep posting; there are some of us who think you’re hilarious.


  6. Thanks, HeyMeg. I think it is important to take the high road, and my internal Tom’s of Maine coolness keeps my brain sweat-free in most situations.

    RG— Ya know, I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.


  7. For being a blog written by journalists, 21q seems to post almost exclusively on the goings-on of American Idol or SacRag. I know the folks over at the SacBee have always taken a loose interpretation on journalism but come on, trying to turn a faux death report on April Fool’s into news? Impressive. Not to mention, whether one claims to be a journalist or not, it is an American tradition – better yet, world tradition (ie: France’s poission d’avril) – to pull a prank on the first of April and many venerable news sources have played even more grave pranks on our entire nation. Wikipedia it, sometimes people don’t even believe actual news reported on April 1st (r.i.p. mitch hedberg).. Seriously lighten up SacBee or just stop being so jealous that someone else came up with a better news prank. Don’t worry Leibz, if you start think of something funny now, you’ll get your chance. April Fool’s happens every year.
    p.s. why not title the apology: “stickie note”? Not funny? Poor taste? Too soon, right?


  8. I make negative comments about everything, so mine really can’t count as a negative comment. In fact, given who the comment was from, that was pretty POSITIVE. Now (join in if you know the words): Where’s the Beef?!?


  9. Yeah, I had to look twice at yours (TS) before tallying it in the negative column, but I figured I should be fair to outside observers who may not be familiar with your baseline. I knew deep down that it was your version of praise.

    Scoopdog – Just wait until you see what I have planned for Guy Fawkes Day!


  10. I always review my comments using the automated “good taste o-meter” that can be found at my website. It’s the only way that I can be sure that I will offend absolutely no one.


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