It’s not often that a newspaper will print an argument calling for restrictions on the First Amendment, but the Sunday Chronicle carried just such an op-ed — written by a former assistant managing editor at the paper, Alan Mutter. Mutter says San Francisco should set up a program like the do-not-call list that would permit residents to stop the delivery of “menus, advertising circulars, business cards, pamphlets, political propaganda, phone directories or giveaway newspapers.”

Mutter doesn’t come out and say it directly, but such a program would apply to the Chronicle’s competitor, the Examiner, which is now free and delivered door-to-door. Residents who don’t want the Examiner have had a difficult time stopping delivery. An Examiner executive acknowledged the problem in September, saying the same situation exists in the other two markets served by the conservative paper, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. In Baltimore, a resident took the paper to court to get it to stop delivery to his home. (San Francisco’s other major free papers — SF Weekly, San Francisco Daily and Bay Guardian — are not delivered to homes.)

The italicized note at the end of Mutter’s piece doesn’t mention that he used to work at the Chronicle. Nor does it say he used to be in the free newspaper business — he was one of the investors in the San Mateo Daily Journal and the original Berkeley Daily Planet, which opened in 1999 and shut down in 2002. (In 2003, the paper’s name was sold to Becky and Michael O’Malley, who resurrected it as a twice-a-week publication.)

SF Press Club News,

One Comment

  1. well, it’s an op-ed, and papers print op-eds they disagree with all the time … but it was stupid for the chronicle not to disclose that mutter was a former editor … if the chronicle is really worried about the Ex and flyers left on doorsteps, then they’ve got BIG PROBLEMS …

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