Monday, April 09, 2007

Yet again Travis?

Yesterday Travis Armstrong continued his attacks on some of the local clergy, this time singling out Teena Grant, the president of the Santa Barbara Clergy Association.

He wrote...

Regarding this criticism, I was taken aback a bit by the somewhat snarky e-mail the Rev. Teena Grant, president of the Greater Santa Barbara Clergy Association, sent to me from her Cottage Hospital work e-mail address. I guess I just expect the clergy to be a cut above the rest of us in how they respond and act. (Note to Cottage officials: In light of this, will the hospital's "spiritual care services" be open and welcome to me or my family if needed?)

First off, do you have any idea what "snarky" means? I assume it is bad from the context, but I sure don't know. And expect more than what? We have no idea what Teena said in the e-mail, but then if he had quoted her, I would bet there would be no way to condemn her as Teena is a woman of grace and integrity and I expect that would be evident in the e-mail.

As to his implications that Teena would use her job to hurt someone with whom she differs, let me quote wikipedia on psychological projection...
In psychology, psychological projection (or projection bias) is a defense mechanism in which one attributes ("projects") to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety by allowing the expression of the unwanted subconscious impulses/desires without letting the ego recognize them.

Every day Teena puts her heart on the line as she cares for our community in times of trauma and dis-ease. More than once she has provided pastoral care to families of victims of gang violence and has offered a calm and supportive presence while they waited for word regarding a loved one. More than once, she has allowed her own heart to break at the pain of others.

Mr Armstrong consistently uses his position to bully others without allowing them fair opportunity to respond. As far as I know, he has never spoken to any of the members of the clergy association. I am fairly sure that he has been invited to attend our meetings. He uses hot button words to smear people when he cannot rebut their argument ("liberal-leaning," "funded by developers"). And he consistently either misunderstands or misrepresents the views of those with whom he disagrees. More than once he has complained about these "liberal-leaning" clergy trying to meddle in News Press "private" matters. Surely he realizes that the clergy have no interest in the private business matters of the News Press but we do have interest and a stake in fair reporting, a newspaper that is more than a hobby for some wealthy interests, and even intelligent and informed opinions (whether we agree with them or not). A newspaper has significant influence in a community. We are only concerned that influence is used responsibly.

And again, he questions the priorities of the clergy... but how can he know what those priorities are? Has he interviewed any clergy? Has he looked at the budgets or programs of any local congregations? I'd be glad to sit and have coffee with him and talk about what is happening. I'm sure other clergy would as well. Yes, he covers his behind by saying that "some have done little to work directly with parents and children" but the implication is clear.


Anonymous said...

Right on! Tell it like it is.

Anonymous said...

Travis is a profoundly ignorant scold, a partisan and patently unfair bully in a pulpit far in excess of his lackluster rhetorical talent. Good on you for your accurate critique.

--biff arden

Cabalist said...

Teena sending the email, snarky or not, from her work email address was a bit of poor judgment and only gives The Travisty something to complain about.

However, the full Teena email that is the subject of his projecting should be republished here or via CraigSmithsBlog or somewhere else.

Sending letters and messages to other outlets when the Newsmess does not publish them out if its own bias is now a standard practice, so everyone then can assess it directly from some actual evidence and facts. Teena could make it a community post to Blogabarbara.

The Travesty editorial column yesterday (Sunday, April 8) claimed that the author of a letter to that "editor" was a threat when the author simply wanted to know if it would be published, yes or no, so it could be sent to another publication instead. If Travisty had descent courtesy and a clue in general, he would reply to email messages and indicate if or not letters and long contributions would be published. Instead, the letters contributed just disappear into the Travisty email black hole, and then he wonders why fewer people think his publication is worth reading any more.

Only such a warped projector would interpret a request for a verification of whether a letter will be published as a "threat" and then write about it with no actual details to show it is a threat.

Travisty did this years ago with a blast against Lois Capps because her letter dared to indicate that she would be sending it elsewhere if Newspress did not want to publish it. Simply asking that question led to Capps getting an editorial criticism later that week.

The projecting and pathetic "editors" and "publishers" there consider the Clergy request for a meeting a few months ago as wholesale interfering in their Newspress business operations. As time has passed and their arguments have been depleted, the Newspress management is admitting more plainly that they want to control all of the content of their product to the point where it is now as no longer a newspaper but just a personal ego newsletter that they hope still is considered a newspaper.

Fortunately, many other local publications now are readily available for news and commentary, so Teena can snark there and people actually will be able to read it.

Cabalist said...

Here is the "threat" as interpreted by projecting Travisty, as I note in the prior comment:

"I also got an e-mail in which another clergy member basically seemed to suggest that I'd better publish something or he'd take it to another publication.
Just to reiterate the editorial page policy: Whether a religious leader or not, anyone who tries to threaten us in any manner into printing a piece is advised to look elsewhere for space. It's our obligation to journalistic integrity not to cave to coercion."

Again, recognizing that other publications also actually publish comments now is considered a THREAT?! The Travisty and The Wendy are playing the victim more and more, because they the facts are all spun out.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

I am amazed at Travis' silliness, and yet it persists. As far as I can tell, and I don't read the News Press, but when I catch a glimpse of it, I never find any letters to the editor that criticize or respond to his statements. He has decided he can say what he wants, make innuendos, and then whines if citizens are forced to take what should be printed in the NP to other outlets.

That he has smeared the unions, the local political leaders, the clergy, those who work for affordable housing, and more, I'm surprised that there's anyone left to offend. That he would choose, with Wendy's support, to alienate almost the entire community seems to be bad business. Thanks for reporting this and I do hope that Teena finds a way of getting the "snarky" e-mail published so we can call his bluff!

Deborah said...

Rev. Teena Grant isn't the only one of our local clergy who has responded to the outrageous editoral in the SBNP. Nor is she the only one who hasn't had her response to Armstrong's editorial published. The Rev. Dr. Hillary Chrisley responded to Armstrong's March 29th editorial "Clergy and fighting gangs" and her letter was not published (okay, fine), but Armstrong never responded at all. All local church need to seriously consider cancelling any future paid advertising in the SBNP. Opinions by Armstrong are one thing, but outright lies are not to be tolerated!
Her letter to Armstrong is published on the First United Methodist Church web site

jqb said...

Here's a prototypical example of snark:

In light of this, will the hospital's "spiritual care services" be open and welcome to me or my family if needed?