The conservative owner of both of San Diego's major newspapers failed to inform his editorial staff and at least one former local politician of his financial involvement with a recent anti-Barack Obama film.
According to The Associated Press, Doug Manchester, owner of both U-T San Diego and The North County Times, invested in 2016: Obama's America, a conspiracy-ridden documentary based on a book by pundit Dinesh D'Souza, forecasting a dire future for the U.S. if Obama is re-elected as president this year.
However, San Diego Citybeat reported Tuesday that Manchester did not inform various members of his staff, including the newspaper's editorial board, nor did he inform former local city council member Donna Frye, who wrote a guest review of the film for the paper.
"I received a call from the U-T asking if I would do a movie review," said Frye, who served on the council as a Democrat. "I was told there would be two reviews, one from me as a Democrat and one written by a Republican. I never knew, until just now, that Doug Manchester was an investor in the movie, but did notice how many full-page color ads there were in the paper while the movie was in the theaters. I wonder how much he invested?"
Manchester's investment was not mentioned in columns by Frye and San Diego Republican Party chairperson Ron Nehring, nor in in-house or wire stories detailing the film's surprising success at the box office.
By comparison, the newspaper has only run two short wire stories covering the recent news that D'Souza had to step down as head of The King's College after being caught traveling with another woman, who he referred to as his fiancee, despite being married. D'Souza later said he was not aware that Christianity precluded people from being engaged while stitll married.
Manchester has come under increased scrutiny for steering the paper toward a more conservative viewpoint; in July the U-T, formerly known as The San Diego Union-Tribune, published an editorial naming Obama the "Worst President of All-Time." And last month, it hosted local Republicans for a media training "one-stop shop."
[Image via "2016: Obama's America" Facebook page.]