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Bloodbath at Pelican Press … 18 names missing from new masthead

Pelican PressIn addition to the firing of Stan Zimmerman which I reported on last week, the Observer Group has ousted nearly every writer associated with the Pelican Press. Looks like Paul Roat is gone; Diana Colson who did the Social Notes column — gone. Anne Johnson, who’d been a mainstay at the newspaper — as editor — for many, many years … gone, without even a note of farewell. Film critic Frank Tucciarone, gone. Kathie Moon,, gone. Thrza Jacobs, Robert Frederickson, Jay Davis — think they’re all gone. Don’t know what happened to Rebecca Wild Baxter or Ric Miracle or John Riley the cartoonist. Am assuming they’re gone as well. Am probably missing some names here, but all told, it looks as if about 18 names that were listed in the old Pelican Press masthead as contributors or staff, are gone this week.

It looks like Rachel Brown Hackney is still on board as a managing editor and the Observer seems to have held on to the old Pelican advertising staff for the most part.

In today’s Pelican Press, the sidebar to editor Matt Walsh’s letter from the editor, says, “The opinion page is shifting its politico-economic philosophy to that of The Observer Group’s newspapers, embracing the principals of individual freedom and capitalism and Austrian economics; and the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.”

Posted on July 15th, 2011Comments RSS Feed
19 Responses to Bloodbath at Pelican Press … 18 names missing from new masthead
  1. Did they join the Tea Party?

  2. boycott

  3. Mary, out of the deepest respect and admiration I have for you and Ms. Hackney, I’ll restrain my verbiage to the best of my ability.

    Mary, I’ve said since the begining, and you can refer to my previous post when I first heard of the acquisition of the Pelican Press by Matt Walsh’s group – (The Observer).

    Mary, Matt Walsh has an agenda, and one agenda only; that’s to use the publications to spread his slanted political views. You watch Mary, today the Pelican Press, tomorrow, the Venice Gondolier, and after that, the North Port Sun. You can rest assured, he has some powerful backing as a silent partner.

    Sue Mary, he may state he purchased the Pelican Press because he wanted it to go back to the paper’s original roots. Then let me ask you, why would he get rid of the papers most gifted writers? Mary, if anyone out there believe Matt Walsh’s reasoning as to why he purchased the Pelican Press, then I’m going to open a snow-blower shop on Main St.

    Mary, watch and see what I mean…see how long it’s going to take, before you see him begin to post his political slanted stories in the Pelican Press and how he truly believes Governor Scott is nothing short of a God.

    Mary, and I can not reiterate enough, while I am all for freedom of the press, I also believe a CEO, Publisher, Editor, owes it to their readers, to print un-biased news, truthful reporting, insightful columns, professional journalism. This is what the Pelican Press used to be and what the Observer Newspapers are not!

    Mary, I challenge Matt Walsh to a friendly debate, at what the the responsibilities of a newspaper publisher/editor are to it’s readers. Mary, he can pick the time and place and I’ll be there. Mary, you can pick the mediator.

    Thank you again Mary, at keeping your blog right on top of things. Diane McFarlin surely saw talent when she picked you.

    Stan, if ypu’re reading this, I truly hope to see a guest column by you in the Herald-Tribune. You may be gone from the Pelican Press, but you’re certainly not forgotten.

    Mary, as always, “respectfully”, Daniel

    *Ps, Mary, if you do hear from Matt Walsh, you have my permission to provide him with my e-mail address. ~ D

  4. Cancel home delivery and let the advertisers know! And don’t read it!

  5. Also, contact the resteraunts which adtvertise in the Pelican Press, and let them know you will not support them, if they continue to advertise. I’m contacting Publix Management know as well. I’ll go to Sweetbay if they continue to advertise.

  6. *I’ll be contacting the restaurants and let them know, I’ll not support them if they continue to advertise, Publix Management….etc.. an all-out – agressive boycott campaign will follow.

    *Sorry MC, I wrote my previous message when I wasn’t fully awake…I’ll be my own grammar ck. :)

    Matt, how about that debate?

  7. I’m really sorry to read about this. I knew they had bought the PP. I truly regret the loss of this long-standing regional independent newspaper.
    It may prove to be a misguided purchase, though, as some readers will choose to walk away from a publication that will now serve as a political opinion outlet rather than a trusted, neighborly source of local news.

  8. My point exactly Susan :(

  9. Connie Goldstein
    July 18, 2011 at 12:24 am

    Much to my stunned surprise, the July 14 Observer printed my letter taking Rod Thomson to task for his biased article of June 23 about how important it was to change the voting laws of Florida because of “widespread [mostly non-existent] fraud.” I accused him of racism for his lame excuse that removing Sundays from early voting was okay, even though that’s the day that black churches urged their congregants to go directly from church to vote.
    I closed by warning him that, “The world (even in Sarasota) is changing” and if he doesn’t “get with the change,” he will “just remain stuck in the mud.”

  10. Connie, seems the way the only residents in Sarasota the Commissioners are listening to, are the rich on Central Park…. good point you made at how you feel Sarasota needs to change with the rest of the world and I feel exactly as you do.

    Matt Walsh needs to get the “message”.

  11. Matt Walsh:

    In today’s Pelican Press, the sidebar to editor Matt Walsh’s letter from the editor, says, “The opinion page is shifting its politico-economic philosophy to that of The Observer Group’s newspapers, embracing the principals of individual freedom and capitalism and Austrian economics; and the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.”

    Daniel:Then Matt, Buddy, why, throughout the years, has there never, ever been a positive word printed about Democrats written in your “Opinion” section? The only letters you print, are those from Long Boat Key residents.

    Matt, while I’m neither, Democrat, nor a Republican – (I believe in “one nation – one people”), I swear, if it was a Democrat who discovered the cure for the common cold, you’d refuse to print it.

  12. Matt: “The Observer Group’s newspapers, embracing the principals of individual freedom and capitalism and Austrian economics; and the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.”

    Oh man…I’m still rolling on this floor after reading this quote from Matt…

  13. The real crime here? That the Pelican’s previous owners (Journal Communications) threw their hard-working employees under the bus with little concern for what would happen to them under new ownership. I have worked for several newspapers over the years that have been sold. I was blessed to have publishers for whom profit was not the overriding concern behind their decision. Also given consideration was preserving the philosophy behind their enterprise and the future prospects for their employees. In once case, a publisher (Robert Smylie of ProMedia South) even backed out of a deal with Phillip Carlton when he came to realize what a disaster the latter would be for his paper and those left behind.

    Gone are the days…

  14. Bob, you are so right and this is why I openly challenged Matt Walsh to an open debate on what a newspaper publisher’s responsibilities are to it’s readers.

    Bob, I have a high-school education, but I’ll certainly put my “street-smarts” and common sense against Matt Walsh’s college educuation, and all of his degrees, any day of the week.

    And Bob, you are certainly correct in my mind, when you said; “gone are the days”. In today’s world, it’s not about work morals, ethics, caring nor understanding, or even giving a damn about your employees…it’s all about greed.

    Bob, take a look if you would, at the largest money-making scam in US history – the current foreclosure crisis. The banks; CHASE, B of A, Wells Fargo, are reporting historical, record-braking profits and their CEO’s – Jamie Dimond – (Chase’s CEO for instance), has reported of receiving the largest cash bonus in banking history…all at the homeowner’s expense.

    Sorry to get off track here…but you are right Bob, it’s not about newspaper reporting, professional writers, such as Stan Zimmerman, Bob Aldren, Mary Coolidge – just to name a couple… it’s all about the almighty dollar.

  15. Just returned to our Siesta Key condo at beginning of Nov.
    Surprised…then disgusted, to see that the Pelican Press had been turned into a
    ‘right wing propaganda rag’ of a paper. After reading an issue for the first time(of
    this ‘new’edition),noticed it right away,of course. Do they(Observer Group) really think people are that stupid? O.K., there are some readers who really won’t notice, either
    because they agree with that agenda or….they truly are not smart enough, to take the
    time to question these ‘editorial opinions’.
    The latter of these two possibilites is called “The Dumbing Down of America”. If you
    don’t think this is part of the Far Right’s agenda too, then tune into Rupert Murdoch’s
    Fox Network on Sunday nights. While CBS shows “60 Minutes”(a show where you
    will actually learn something), Fox shows an adult cartoon (and actually, Fox is confident that the ‘dumbing down’ agenda is working, because they have expanded the schedule
    to 3 cartoon shows that evening!).
    Ever wonder why the Republican Party would like to cut Education(and worthwhile PBS) funding as much as possible?….Keep ’em dumb and they won’t notice what we’re really doing to them.
    Which brings me back to the ‘new’ Pelican Observer (I refuse to call it Pelican Press!). Am I missing it? Where is the Letters to the Editor section? You know,where people can
    actually write in to question the opinons of these editors. Yes, it looks like you can
    e-mail Rod Thomson,but then what happens? Does that e-mail end up immediately deleted because it is an opposing view? He may reply individually,but the point is
    ALL viewpoints and opinions should be published for readers to SEE in any paper
    that talks politics. This would allow the readers to THINK for themselves.
    Does the Pelican Observer crew wait and ‘cherry pick’ letters/e-mails that agree with
    their opinion articles and maybe publish them when they want?
    As I looked hard at the Nov.17 issue, I noticed there is no Letters to the Editor section.
    No open discussion format. In my book,the publication then becomes Propaganda (for
    their agenda). Bad enough that the articles are all one-sided, but to also not allow
    readers a voice, is even worse.
    I am truly sorry that so many of the original writers and workers for the real Pelican
    Press were fired. Even a casual observer can now figure out why this occured. It was
    all about pushing a political agenda.
    Even free publications (and their editors) should have a responsibilty of integrity
    and fairness in journalism, to ALL readers. Brad Dawson

  16. Brad,
    thanks for reading my posts about the Pelican Press (or as you call the Pelican Observer), and for sharing your thoughts.
    I think a lot of folks share your disappointment with the turn the paper has taken.
    You might want to try sending your comments to the paper — who knows? maybe they would run them? I don’t know, but may be worth trying.
    In any event, I appreciate you sharing them here on this blog!

  17. To all of the above, I say AND the drowning of the PP as critically important voice within our community by an editorial policy that should never have been made public if Observer Group wants to be considered an actual news source gives us an unprecedented concentration of content for public comment. PLEASE do not just react to what you read, RESPOND. The online Comment function is right there…use it!!! The voice of the 99% can drown out the “news” and views of the 1% only if it is used.

  18. Thanks for reading, Moira — thanks for reminding readers about the online comment function — good point! MC

  19. Unfortunately —
    “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one.”
    – A. J. Liebling


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