I’ve been following the Bay Guardian’s lawsuit against Village Voice Media with almost the same obsessive enjoyment as the presidential race. It’s a suit long in coming and, really, has all the elements of a great story itself: big characters, fatal flaws, colorful language. At heart, it’s a lawsuit that kind of manifests the overall division or conflict in the alt.media world.
Now, I like focused point-of-view journalism as much as the next, um, journalist and I’ve got nothing against blogging rants, but I’ve been a little baffled by the fact that the only coverage of the lawsuit has come from the Guardian’s editor, Tim Redmond and, for the San Francisco Weekly, Andy Van De Voorde, who is the executive associate editor for VVM. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been fascinating to read both of their posts, since each proclaims at every twist of the proceedings that the other is clearly losing. It kind of reminds me of something Janet Malcom says in The Journalist and the Murderer:
“In life, it is hard enough to see another person’s view of things; in a lawsuit, it is impossible.”
In the case of the Guardian v. VVM, when I read The Snitch I feel pretty convinced The Guardian is going to lose big (although I am kind of a sucker for sarcasm, which Van de Voorde wields like an icepick soaked in venom). When I read Tim’s posts, I start thinking about about the ’70s (the ’70s as I’ve read about them anyway, obviously I was only a child in the ’70s) The Reporter’s history with a similar predatory pricing case and realize, well, who knows what’s really going on? At first, I couldn’t understand why the Guardian and the Weekly hadn’t just assigned actual reporters to cover the trial, but I’ve decided
my real question is: Why have none of the other San Francisco media outlets been covering this? From a distance, it seems like a big deal and I know others in the alt.weekly world are glommed on. I was glad to read the E & P story, but I’d really have loved some day in and day out trial analysis. And/or for Jack Schaffer to take it on.
Well, it’s almost over. Time will tell.