Willie Brown’s new column in the Chronicle has sickened newsroom staffers who say former editor Phil Bronstein would have never allowed it, the SF Weekly’s Matt Smith reports. The fear is that Brown, the former mayor and former assembly speaker, is still very much a political power broker in San Francisco who has his fingers in every controversy that comes up.
“Real journalists in the room were appalled by it,” Smith quotes one insider as saying. “And the people who weren’t are people who don’t put journalism first or who have a very shallow understanding of San Francisco politics, or of who Willie Brown is, or of the reporting done in Hearst papers on Willie Brown.”
Smith quotes another as saying: “People have major concerns about violations of every journalistic principle that’s out there … It’s government too close to the press and vice versa.”
The only person Smith quotes by name is former mayor Art Agnos, who said the arrangement creates a double standard for newspapers, which are wont to complain when politicians include lobbyists on their staff. “Does this mean it’s open season now?” Agnos said. (Photo credit: AP file)