Tribune is shameless Adam Hill cheerleader

April 10, 2020

Daniel Blackburn


Reading the Tribune’s editorial today, my gag reflex kicked in at the very first paragraph.

Let me say right off: That daily newspaper’s purposely and grievously negligent reporting on the latest, most serious, of San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Chairman Adam Hill’s antisocial misadventures gives its editors absolutely no legitimate platform for voicing their opinion. (Fortunately, fewer and fewer people are reading that pitiful publication. CalCoastNews now attracts at least 10,000 more readers daily.)

The Tribune’s editors rail against partisan politics, all the while oozing partisanship.

Back to that first Tribune sentence mentioned earlier: “The San Luis Obispo County Republican Party is angling to get Supervisor Adam Hill kicked out of the chairman’s seat.”

Well, duh. Without knowing for sure, I’d hazard a guess that local Republicans would always be “angling” to oust Hill. Not just from his post as chairman, but from public life altogether, because he’s demonstrated over and over again that he is totally unsuited to lead normal people.

If you read only the Tribune, you’d have no real idea what happened in mid-March. You would have had to sift through that publication’s very sketchy articles on the matter just to piece some of the story together. You would not have known until today that it was Hill’s county office as well as his home that was searched by the feds. In other words, you would be seriously uninformed on the matter.

I got to wondering if my thinking about the Hill debacle being a matter of intense public interest was perhaps a little addled, or just insensitive. Was this really a private family-type issue?

So I asked a guy I thought might give me a straight answer: Ed Salzman, an adventurous and legendary capitol journalist with nearly a decade as editor of the California Journal and stints with the Boston Globe, the Oakland Tribune, the Sacramento Bee, and publisher of the Golden State Report.

I wanted to know: Are the FBI raids and subsequent suicide attempt by the chairman of a county board of supervisors a legitimate news story?

As expected, Salzman pulled no punches, and I could almost see him glaring at me: “The question you pose is a no-brainer,” he wrote in an email. “It is clearly a news story, and this guy has absolutely no right to privacy.

“This supervisor is a public figure, the chair no less. He is under FBI investigation. He tries to commit suicide. All of this is public information. He says he’s depressed. With the FBI on his ass, he should be depressed.”

Now that’s what I call editorial leadership.

Salzman said it much better, and more quickly, than my droning on ad nauseam.  So I’ll end this diatribe with a parting observation about the Tribune: A newspaper that totally lacks editorial judgment should keep its opinions to itself. To do otherwise is to insult the intelligence of its ever-shrinking circle of readers.

Daniel Blackburn is co-founder of CalCoastNews, retired, not yet entirely thoughtless.

Sign up for breaking news, alerts and updates with the Cal Coast News Top Stories Newsletter.

Niles Q

I agree with Gordo, when Jeff and Ann were killed, the paper lost its soul. It also in pretty quick succession lost all its great reporters, one by one. It also changed hands several times, each one part of a huge “deal” finally worth billions when Knight-Ridder sold out to McClatchy.

When they lost their three sports writers, Pete Wallner, Dan Ruthmeyer and Eric Burdick and ceased covering high school, Cal Poly and Cuesta sports, they became much less relevant. They also turned away from the local news focus to include more wire news, and let down a whole lot more of their readers.

I do believe they do a good job of reporting and their reporters are doing good work, for what little there is of it, politics aside.

That said, I faithfully buy the paper most days because I like to do the puzzles. I figure I pay $2 for an hour and a half of entertainment.

And I also want to support the idea of a local newspaper because if the Tribune folds, SLO County isn’t likely to get another one.

The Tribune needs an overhaul, not a death sentence.


Niles, nobody has sentenced the Trib to death. It is self-inflicted…suicide.


The Telegram-Tribune was a good local newspaper, but when it’s editor, Jeff Fairbanks was killed along with his wife, Ann, and one of their daughters in a traffic accident back in 1995 the paper started its slow descent into mediocrity.

After E.W. Scripps Co. traded the paper to Knight Ridder which itself was purchased by McClatchy the paper was headed by partisan hacks like Sandra Duerr, who were more concerned about shaping the character of the county than on simply reporting it.

Joe Tarica, the current editor, is the latest talentless hack with a Cal Poly journalism degree and a political agenda to sit at the editor‘s desk.

When this county has had a scandal involving local political figures, like the scandal involving former auditor-controller Paul Floyd, the T-T was the paper of record, ferreting out the story for the citizens.

Today it depends on who the public figure is, as to what kind of treatment they will receive from the paper.

Sheriff Parkinson is harangued for letting gun stores remain open during this local emergency (a wise decision given that about 70 felons are going to ordered released from jail this week by the court and that 30 have already been released from CMC).

Then we have Supervisor Hill’s home and office searched by the FBI, after which Hill tries to off himself and nary a word about it from the Tribune.

When the paper does some reporting on Adam Hill it has about as much credibility as Pravda had when they were reporting on events in the old Soviet Union.


After “Tribune is shameless Adam Hill cheerleader” you could have concluded with “Duh” and saved a lot of verbiage.


What bothers me is how stupidly the Tribune treats it’s readers . Just insulting . To call local Republicans advocacy for resignation as a “cheap shot” belies how overt and repugnant their bias has become . Who really can take them seriously? For example , if an airline pilot , a physician , an air traffic controller would have had their home raided or attempted suicide in their immediate past , these professions would remove them until proven sane or stable . To protect a unstable public official , especially during a public crises like a serious pandemic, is simply wrong . The “cheap shot” is the opinion that there should be no scrutiny. I’d like to call for the disbanding of the Tribune for journalistic malpractice. They are beyond help now .


The flaw in your logic is that an unstable, corrupt, and incompetent politician, almost a prerequisite for the job, is in a position to be an immediate life safety threat as “an airline pilot, a physician, an air traffic controller”.

Ted R

What does Adam Hill, the Tribune, and Dan Dow all have in common? A lack of integrity. This is all unfolding now and the light of truth is chasing the shadows.