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U-T's Washington Post whitewash

Clumsy timing of Doug Manchester apology for demeaning work environment

Doug Manchester, his wife Geniya, and their three children
  • Doug Manchester, his wife Geniya, and their three children
  • from papadougmanchester.com/

The Union-Tribune this weekend tried a trick that is not used so much these days: trying to cleanse a story in another publication before it has run. 

On Saturday (February 17), the U-T tried to whitewash a Washington Post story that would not run until the next day (Sunday, February 18.) The U-T headline proclaimed, “Manchester issues apology to any ‘demeaned’ employees.” Manchester claimed that while he headed the U-T, he became aware of “egregious mistakes by staff members.” When he learned of those actions by others, “I immediately took appropriate action.” The "U-T TV" station, born under Manchester, had a “fraternity-style atmosphere on some of its programs,” said the U-T. The U-T fielded harassment complaints, but Manchester claimed that he immediately took action.

Jeff Light

Jeff Light

Jeff Light, current editor and publisher of the U-T, conceded that Manchester “hired some people of low competence, and in some cases, low character.” The U-T asked some of its reporters if they had been harassed or filed complaints and they all said no.

The headline in this morning’s Washington Post is “Trump ambassador nominee had unsettling management stye, women say.” (Manchester has applied to be named ambassador to the Bahamas, where he has a home: there has been no action for a year.) The story, by Robert O’Harrow Jr., tells a different tale. A caller to the paper said that there was “offensive behavior by Manchester and his team,” but the paper did little about it. O’Harrow talked with about two dozen former employees who did not want to be identified because of Manchester’s status in the community.

John Lynch

John Lynch

Manchester, former chief executive John Lynch, and Light claimed no one had accused Manchester of sexual harassment, "but the current staffers and former employees said the atmosphere was retrograde and often disrespectful toward women,” said the Post.

Cory Fish, a former U-T human resources executive, was quoted as saying of Manchester, “He’s an older man who has a history of liking young women.” (Manchester’s second wife, who came to the United States from Siberia, is about half Manchester’s age. They now have three babies.)

The Post story focuses on the long-deceased U-T TV. Light is quoted saying, “The news staff was…repulsed by the sexist vibe of the programming.” The Post says, “One woman who was asked to wear a short dress and serve as host at newspaper events said she felt uncomfortable but that she went along with the requests because she was young and naive.” She was 22 at the time.

Manchester and his wife gave about $1 million to groups supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, according to the Post.

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While I wouldn't say the U-T buried the Washington Post story in today's (Sunday, 2/18) edition, it didn't get the front page treatment of the first article yesterday. They printed it in the main news section on page A8 under the innocuous headline "Report details incidents of inappropriate behavior." Note that there was no mention of who it referred to. Then there was a small head shot of Dougie on the page. So, if you were at all curious about the unattributed behavior, you had to start reading it, or notice the small head shot. At least yesterday when it first showed up on the U-T website, the headline had something that might have tipped the reader to who it was about. "Trump's billionaire ambassador nominee had unsettling management style, women say" is the headline you can find on the website. But notice that nowhere in either headline is there any identification of either Manchester or the U-T. (It wasn't all that easy to find on the website either; the first article is front and center.)

I wonder why the U-T even picked up the Washington Post story, and worked it over. In the old days, and when Doug owned the paper, it would likely have just ignored such a story.

Visduh: The U-T in its first piece was immunizing the Post story which it presumed, rightly, was coming out on Sunday. Probably Manchester pressured the U-T to do it. It was pretty soft, but the U-T threw in some tough comments on Manchester to make it look balanced. The Post story focused on U-T TV. I'm sure it knew about some other things, but didn't use them.Best, Don Bauder

If the dust is now settled, Manchester didn't get exposed or accused of anything like we've seen lately. And the Post didn't necessarily scuttle his ambassadorial ambitions. Frankly, I long wondered how he avoided such claims or accusations, given his track record and nasty divorce.

Visduh: Manchester would seem to be an ideal hire for Trump. Similarities abound. And Manchester and his wife gave Trump around a million dollars. That normally qualifies one for an ambassadorship. Best, Don Bauder

I'm sure that, over the years, regardless of party affiliation, many ambassadorships were "sold" for far less than a million. That would be true especially if they were to places like the Bahamas, or some other tiny and insignificant spot in the world. Amazing what some guys (and a few girls) will do to land a fancy title that has about no real clout. But if he has a home in the Bahamas, which is a pleasant and laid-back sort of tropical paradise, it fits. That is unless Dougo has some plans for a development in the Bahamas, and thinks being the US ambassador will grease the skids.

Or he can check his bank balance in person.

dwbat: Good point. At the time the Panama Papers came out, there were names of several Manchesters. I asked Papa Doug's company if he was involved offshore. His spokesman denied it. Best, Don Bauder

Visduh: Don't dismiss the Bahamas. Meyer Lansky and his band of gangsters launched a gambling haven there. It was financed in part by the Cosmos Bank of Zurich, Switzerland, which helped build Penasquitos and parts of Clairemont, and helped finance U.S. Financial, a San Diego scam that sent several of its executives to prison. Cosmos, which was closed down by joint action of the U.S. and Switzerland in the 1970s, was also an early provider of loans to La Costa. If you haven't figured it out yet, it was a Mafia bank that played a significant role in the development of the Bahamas and San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, Has Trump renominated little dougie for the position since January 3 of this year? The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent Manchester’s nomination back to POTUS on that date because there is a Senate rule specifying that all nominations that were awaiting committee approval at the end of each Senate session go back to POTUS and must be formally resubmitted for consideration. I don't seem to recall that happening.

danfogel: That's a good question and I don't know the answer to it. Manchester certainly is acting as if it is still alive. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder, that was kind of meant as a sort of trick question. It was reported in the reader a few weeks ago that his name was resubmitted. There is some consternation over comments made by Manchester in his Senate hearing testimony in which dumbass doug referred to the Bahamas as "a protectorate of the US". It seems that some in the Bahamian Parliament were offended by such a notion. As of today, there is no mention of any further action, including a vote, listed on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee site.

danfogel: As you know, the Bahamas belong to the Commonwealth of Nations, former British colonies. The Bahamas recognize Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Best, Don Bauder

Maybe old "Papa" was confusing the Bahamas with our territory, the US Virgin Islands.

dwbat: Since one of his homes is in the Bahamas (or at least was the last time I reported on the ambassadorship possibility), you would think someone would have told him that this is not an American protectorate, particularly since the Queen of England reigns over the islands. Best, Don Bauder

In a way, all of the islands of the Caribbean (save for Cuba, of course) are under protection of the US. It has strategic interests there, and if some island there was going badly off the rails or was threatened with invasion, the US would have much to say about the situation and its resolution. So, in a manner of speaking, it is a protectorate of the US, albeit unofficially. But he should have known better than to utter such sentiments. Diplomats or diplomat wannabees have to be diplomatic to a fault. He wasn't.

Visduh: I didn't hear the comment in context, but if he thought that the Bahamas and the other Caribbean snorkeling and secret banking havens were, in a manner of speaking, protected by the U.S., then he should have clarified that. He shouldn't have used the word "protectorate," which has a specific meaning. But let's give him a break and try to find the comment in context. Best, Don Bauder

He seems way too old to be raising young children.

AlexClarke: Do you think a man in his mid-70s would have children as trophies? Dunno. Best, Don Bauder

Doug sure likes getting a deal. Sloppy-second Russian mail order brides. No up front fee. That was paid by her former "husband."

Ponzi: Again, I have not said she is a mail order bride. But... Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Yes, he is roughly in his mid-70a. Another old-timer who remarried and had children in his 70s was Dick Silberman. He resettled some place in the Bay Area after his prison term.

There are similarities between Manchester and Silberman. Best, Don Bauder

laplayaheritage. Not his first one, though. Best, Don Bauder

Pictures of his mail order bride?!
How much did she cost?!

What was she doing when she was in Siberia?!

Not a Russian intelligence plant?! like what has been alleged with Ivana?! (left Czech Republic when it was a Soviet Client State and no one was allowed to leave voluntarily unless Czech/Soviet Intelligence was involved)...

SportsFan0000: I have suspected, but never said definitively, that she was a mail order bride. If so, another man, from whom she is divorced, would have brought her in. I never could reach him.

Look at this column about her from 2013. She is being interviewed live by someone. I have always wondered what that was about. When I mentioned it to her, she got very upset.

Best, Don Bauder

That is a loud suit lol!

If the Bahamas gig doesn't work out, then he can restart the Barnum and Bailey Circus lol!

Or hire out as a birthday party clown.

dwbat: He has enough money so that he doesn't have to moonlight. Best, Don Bauder

Obviously. That was HUMOR on my part. No need to say how much money he has.

Actual humor, if one has a sense of humor. ;-)

dwbat: I am not going to comment on a kerfuffle between two of our most valuable commenters. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: I am not going to comment on that. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder since I was relying to a comment made by mister batterson, Iwasn't expecting a reply from your, nor should you have a reason to think I did.

I can only add that I had a good laugh in reading all that colloquy. So it was worth it. :-)

Attempts at both humor AND sarcasm in the same thread. How sagacious!!

danfogel: Our name is Sagacity. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: If you had a good laugh, the colloquy was successful. And still is, because I see there are more that I should respond to (under previous rules). Best, Don Bauder

danfogel: I just reply to every comment. Maybe I shouldn't when the comment is aimed at another commenter. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder It is your column, so you can reply, or not, to what ever you want. I was just sayin in this case, I wasn't expecting a reply from you.

dwbat: I don't believe I said how much money he has. Various news organizations have different guesses on his wealth: some say several hundred million, and one says he is a billionaire. I don't know. Best, Don Bauder

SportsFan0000: Ambassadors are not supposed to wear garish suits. It is a somber profession. Best, Don Bauder

What, the Cayman Islands Money laundering Ambassadorship was already taken?!

SportsFan0000: I don't know whether the Cayman Islands ambassadorship was already taken when Papa Doug threw his hat in the ring for the Bahamas job. However, at the time he announced he wanted the job (about a year ago or more) he had a home in the Bahamas. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder The US doesn't maintain an ambassador position for the Cayman Islands.

danfogel: The Cayman Islands is the fifth (some say fourth) largest money center in the world. I am not disputing your statement, but I wonder why the hell the U.S. doesn't have an ambassador there to watch over U.S. dirty money. Best, Don Bauder

Then the 6th largest "money center" is now Amazon's bank account!

dwbat: I suppose that is possible. Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Are you somehow suggesting that the Cayman gov't would allow a US gov't official access to the accounts the US persons have there? I really don't see how merely having an embassy there would facilitate oversight of offshore accounts. BTW, the last I read, there are about 250 recognized countries in the world, and during John Kerry's term as SECSTATE, the US had embassies in 169 of them and 43 of them had no ambassadors. I haven't looked recently, but I would suspect that number is higher under the current administration. Maybe it's just me, but I would think that the national security concerns raised by vacant ambassador positions would be a higher priority than having an ambassador to watch over U.S. dirty money in the Cayman Islands.

Just my opinion.

Opinions vary.

danfogel: I was just making a wisecrack when I said a U.S. ambassador in the Cayman Islands would watch over American dirty money. Of course no ambassador would have access to that money. Best, Don Bauder

The ambassador for the Cayman Islands is in the United Kingdom. Cayman Islands is not an independent nation, but an overseas territory of the UK. Their chief of state is Queen ELIZABETH II. Even their passports are titled "British Passport - Cayman Islands, just like the British Virgin Islands.

Ponzi: So the ambassador to the Cayman Islands has to battle the fog in London, rather than basking in the ideal weather in the Caymans? Best, Don Bauder

don bauder Again, there is no US ambassador for the Cayman Islands. According to the State Department, any diplomatic issues go through the U.S. Embassy in London and the British Embassy in Washington and the Islands are, " part of the consular district administered by the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica ( in which the Ambassador position is currently vacant, btw)", what ever that means. But don't take my word for it, by all means, see for yourself:

https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/278063.pdf

A Consulate usually does not have an ambassador post. The consular does things like help with lost passports, document foreign births, help with legal matters.

Ponzi: .....If you can get them out of the local saloons. Best, Don Bauder

danfogel; London, in a way, is a major center of dirty money. Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are British overseas territories, or were the last time I looked. The British Virgin Islands, Turks & Caicos, Isle of Man -- dirty money havens related in some way to the U.K. It is said that the U.K. is pressuring these islands to be more transparent. Is that believable? Best, Don Bauder

Eric Nelson: I appreciate your essay, but I want to note a couple of things. Manchester is 75, not 85, so his baby offspring may have more years with their daddy. And those babies will have plenty of money as they are growing up.

I am not sure that Manchester bought the U-T to tear down the MV building right away. At least, I think he wanted to give the U-T a chance to survive. He wanted that because he thought it would enhance his reputation in town. The reverse happened.

He did take out entitlements to develop the land around the U-T. Maybe he intended to tear down the building. If so, I think, at least initially, he might have had plans to move the headquarters. In any case, I think he wanted the paper to survive, but he knew that is choice land around the building. Best, Don Bauder

Eric NelsonII: I am not sure the duke wanted the Bahamas job because he wanted something to do. It's my understanding that the duke's propagandizing for Naziism annoyed the British top officials, and they dispatched him to the Bahamas to get rid of him. Yes, he was in the royal doghouse for marrying the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, but according to oft-repeated tales, she had certain talents that were so compelling that he he was more than willing to trade the throne for them. Best, Don Bauder

Wallis Simpson had a San Diego connection. Years before meeting the Duke, she lived in for a couple of years in the late teens in a San Diego apartment on the east side of First Avenue overlooking Maple Canyon with her first husband, who was a Naval aviator posted to North Island. The apartment building, one of the many faux-Spanish-revival-style stucco structures that dotted the Balboa Park-Uptown area for decades, was torn down in the 1970s.

nativesd: Good information. Does anybody know how she spent her time in San Diego? Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: I haven't had time to read the link, but appreciate your sending it. Does it dig fully into her activities? Best, Don Bauder

It's best to read it. I'm not going to summarize it here.

Cocktail party ambassadors are a low priority in Trump's agenda. He has a revolving door administration and in under the cloud of an international intrigue ordeal. A million from Papa Doug and Russian trophy wife probably does not move the needle in Trump's world. I have to laugh that Doug is learning he really isn't Jack $hit in the real world of wealth. He's just a little man trying to pretend he is something big. If that man keeps getting face lifts his chin is going to be chewing his food.

The fact that "Papa" hasn't received funding for his huge harbor project speaks volumes. Like Trump, he's a real estate hustler using other people's money. Without outside investment, it can become a house of cards.

dwbat: Real estate hustlers use OPM -- other people's money. But so do many financiers. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: I wouldn't call a multi-millionaire an ant in a billionaire's world. After all, he and his spouse gave a million to Trump.

I agree with you that Manchester's having a Russian wife doesn't move the needle in Trump's Russia-dominated life. Best, Don Bauder

Ponzi: Every time I see former Senator Barbara Boxer on TV I think she is 35 years old. But she is 77. Best, Don Bauder

She definitely doesn't look 35 on my TV. Is yours an HD TV, or an old b&w Zenith? ;-)

dwbat: HD TV. Maybe your vision is better than mine. Best, Don Bauder

Probably not much better. The optometrist says I have cataracts, and I need eye surgery.

Good God! That link to the Journal of San Diego History regarding Wallis Simpson ‘rewards’ you with more than 12,000 words spanning two issues dissecting whether she was in a greeting line when the Duke of Windsor visited San Diego in 1920. The answer: probably not. YAWN

Some stories are just too good to ruin with facts!

Ponzi: Yes, I have heard that tale, too. Some tall tales, if they are harmless, should not get in the way of truth. Best, Don Bauder

nativesd: There must be something more titillating about Wallis Simpson. Best, Don Bauder

Oh, please don't get that raucous Filner commentary started again! It went on for months in the past.

petezanko: On the sexual harassment charges, yes. However, while all that was going on, he admitted that he had a sex "monster" inside him. He was a notorious womanizer. He wrote about it in his book. But I believe he was lynched on the HARASSMENT charges. Best, Don Bauder

dwbat: Agreed. Filner is trying to get his life back together. This is a guy who was a Freedom Rider in the South in 1961, going to jail for two months as a result. He was a very good Congressman from 1993 to 2012. In his short term as mayor, he made excellent proposals before the establishment (and some of his fellow liberals) lynched him. His prosecutors told him they would break him financially. Then they said he would go to prison. For putting his arm around a female and hugging her (in view of he public), he was charged with "false imprisonment and battery" -- an absurd and ethically abhorrent charge that forced him to confess. His prosecutors were the ones who should have gone to prison for such amoral behavior. Best, Don Bauder

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