Merc editor Dave Butler (pictured) is making news in Southern California, at least on blogs such as LA Observed. LA Observed posted this exchange of e-mails between Butler, who is also head of editorial for MediaNews Group’s California papers, and Val Kuklenski, who left the company’s LA Daily News during that paper’s most recent round of layoffs.

Kuklenski called Butler “the worst newsman I’ve ever known. The one who ran Bush’s 2000 convention nomination acceptance speech on page 1 with a Bush byline.”

But the thrust of Kuklenski’s e-mail was the departure of LA Daily News editor Ron Kaye.

Instead of ignoring the disgruntled reporter, Butler takes the bait and responds that he doesn’t “control the fate of editors. The publisher of each newspaper does. You are making the worst mistake that a reporter can make — though that’s not surprising to me — in assuming what my role may or may not have been in terms of Ron.” It goes on from there.

SF Press Club News


  1. This story is familiar. Bad (usually young) journalist loses his job. Then, to explain his dismissal, accuses his employer of unethical conduct. It will be interesting to see who hires Val given the unprofessional nature of his attack.

  2. Most of Val Kuklenski’s problems appear to revolve around the treatment of Bush and Cheney. I have to agree with Butler, it was a very unprofessional email.

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