Remembering Bob Kittle’s ‘Editors Roundtable’ tantrum
In light of the news of Bob Kittle’s layoff from the Union-Tribune, I thought I’d share an oldie-but-goody: an e-mail Kittle sent to Pam Hardy, then the senior producer of KPBS’ Editors Roundtable show, and others back in 2003, when Hardy decided to put me on the show. Astonishingly, Kittle copied me in his e-mail, and I dutifully published it in CityBeat. I’ve now been on the show semi-regularly for the last six years, and KPBS has yet to go down the crapper because of it. I still regret not creating a CityBeat T-shirt emblazoned with the timeless question “Pam, do you know what ‘cornholed’ means?” Enjoy:
Editor’s note: For background on the following letter please see “Editor’s Note.”
Pam [Hardy, senior producer, These Days, KPBS],
This is to express my very grave reservations about your decision to have CityBeat represented on The Editors Roundtable [program] on Friday morning. If you view CityBeat as a mainstream journal, consider what it published in just one article [“San Diego Munch” by Ms. Beak] in the June 4 issue:
“First off, let’s deal with the issue of San Diego State University President Stephen Weber’s cajones…. But it turns out Weber has plumper balls than anyone could have guessed…. ol’ Stevo decided to kick a little jock butt…. there was no attempt to come up with some happy horse-shit…. if Bay hadn’t resigned, he was going to bitch slap him…. you won’t have to listen to any weenie crap anymore…. the basketball team still sucks, a snot rag for the mighty…. every time they get primed to give UCLA or BYU a real battle, gosh darn it, they get cornholed by the warden.”
Pam, do you know what “cornholed” means? It’s a term I haven’t heard since I was 13 years old. It’s crude slang for “sodomize.” Apparently sodomize was too polite of a term for CityBeat. As I mentioned to you yesterday, this publication is studded with this kind of garbage. In an article criticizing its much larger rival, the Reader, CityBeat wrote: “They may believe their journalism is different and quirky, but this is shaky ground, especially considering the Reader’s famous holier-than-thou attitude toward all other media, as if its shit doesn’t stink.” Other articles refer liberally to “butt-smooching,” “farts” and other sophomoric crudities to which even other tabloids would never sink.
The fact is, CityBeat is far outside the mainstream of journalism in San Diego. I do not want to be associated with it in any way. I am shocked and dismayed that KPBS and SDSU want to be associated with it. And I am very confident Cox Communications, which decided to broadcast The Editors Roundtable to its family-oriented television audience, doesn’t want to be associated with it.
At the recent lunch we had with The Editors Roundtable participants, Gloria Penner promised that no changes would be made in the show unless we all approved of them. I want you to know that I emphatically do not approve of having CityBeat on the program. I think you will find that John Warren of the Voice & Viewpoint and Tim McLean of Metropolitan magazine share my view.
Pam, CityBeat is not journalism. It’s trash. You are sullying KPBS’s reputation for serious public affairs programming by inviting CityBeat’s participation on The Editors Roundtable.
Robert A. Kittle,
Editorial Page Editor,
San Diego Union-Tribune