The Register’s Irvine World News adds a New Columnist

I get four newspapers every day.  The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the OC Register.  I’m in the minority on my street where about four other homes get a single newspaper. 

In the midst of forced furloughs and looming layoffs that are sure to hit the newsroom, the folks running the Register’s Irvine World News have added a new columnist — conservative pollster and political consultant Adam Probolsky.  Now Irvine is a progressive city.  We’ve had a progressive council majority since 1990 and the center-left has won the last five city elections.  Irvine went for Barack Obama in November and the city was a solid No on Prop 8 majority — none of this leads anyone to believe Irvine is conservative.

Probolsky is a part of the OC GOP establishment.  He was one of those professional service providers coordinating press interviews for acting sherriff Jack Anderson after the disgraced convicted felon Mike Carona was indicted in October.  Probolsky was also released from his planning commisioner duties by council member Styeven Choi for a hit piece Adam coordinated against Margie Wakeham in the last election to deep six her candidacy to save Choi’s (and it was a damn effective hit piece too).   Failed council candidate Pat Rodgers published a letter in the same Irvine World News that he, Choi and council member Christina Shea were all in agreement that Adam had to go.

I believe a newspaper should reflect the values of the community it serves.  Adding a conservative columnist to write about city issues without offering a liberal or progressive counter is simply another example of the Register ingoring the views of a significant number of left-center readers. 

I called Don Dennis first, only to get his voice mail that he was out.  ThenI called Paul Dansion, the “team leader” for the IWN.  And I was angry and ranted. Paul was a sport and listened to me rant and offered to take suggestions on a liberal columnist.  I am not offering myself, because it would be too self serving and one of the reasons I blog is because the Register has never run a single Letter to the Editor I’ve written; but the IWN does regularly when I write them. 

Paul admitted two things: that Adam was in fact being paid for his column (which was promptly hotlinked to Red County and the Flash Report) and the first one was on the city’s ban on cellphone towers.  When I offered to suggest left-center residents more in touch with the community to ocounter balance, Paul said he’d take the names and run them by Frank Mickadict.  That was the wrong thing to say to me.  I don’t want someone who lives in Coto and has written negatively about the wisdom of Irvine voters who continue to elect progressive politicians (instead of conservative ones) casting a vote on a left-center columnist.

So on the cell phone tower ban which Adam wants repealed.  I have to wonder: who is his client? Is is a mobile/wireless provider? Some who makes the cell phone tower hardware? Or someone who owns property where a tower should be placed?  Cell phone calls do drop in the city, but they drop everywhere else too.  Its’ not perfect technology and despite Adam’s contention that residents should fear more about radiation from their microwave ovens, there’s no conslusive proof that cell phone tower emissions are not harmful to people.  But I guess Adam missed all those community meetings where Irvine residents — you know, the ones who read the paper — came out in force in favor of the ban.  So much for being in step with the city you’re writing about.

And Frank, when he mentions Adam in his column, usually name drops the last name only.  Very inside baseball.  But then again, Frank and Adam have a special bond.

Frank wrote this nearly two years ago: 

We’re getting Frank’s nose waxed,” Probolsky tells former USC running back Anthony Davis. “You wanna come?”

That wasn’t exactly part of the plan when Probolsky set the agenda Friday. A little lunch at Ling & Louie’s. A nose-hair wax for me as payback because I’d outed Probolsky’s predilection for nasal passages with the drag coefficient of a wind tunnel. But Davis is at the restaurant, and we’re talking about the NFL draft, Imus, land development, Duke lacrosse and Larry Agran(hey, it’s Irvine), when conversation turns to our post-lunch plans. Probolsky tells A.D. about the nose-waxing, and A.D. almost coughs up his shrimp tempura. “You guys are freaks, man” he says. We keep talking – the Great Park, A.D.’s massive gold all-America ring, sleep apnea and Tony Gwynn‘s weight – and the conversation comes back to the waxing.

….

There’s a warm glowy sensation in my nostril. (They don’t go beyond that initial large cavern, which I’m sure has an official anatomic name. They remove only that visible thatch that causes all dates to be first dates.) In any case, it’s an odd feeling but I can’t say it is unpleasant. The last time I had this sensation was in fourth grade when John Poloni convinced me to stick a Milk Dud up my nose. I think the only danger at this stage would be if one were to panic – you know, you’d unleashed some hidden phobia and you ran screaming like a smock-draped madman into the busy boulevard.

Finally, Anna grabs the stick in her fist and asks me if I’m “ready.” Baby, I’m thinking, I’ve trained my whole career for this moment. The next split-second is a blur as her arm jerks violently down and I feel what I can only describe as a quick, dull thump. Plucking a single hair with tweezers is a lot worse. Anna holds up the stick and what I have just given birth to – my brain stem. … Nah, it just seems that way. The end product actually looks like the grossest Popsicle you’d ever imagine – a wood stick whose end sports a hairy gelatinous glob in the exact mold of my nostril. She does it again with the right nostril and hands me a mirror while delicately probing the area with her index finger. “Looks good,” she says. But not good enough. I go for Round Two. Then Round Three – for a total of six waxings, if you’re keeping score at home.

Chummy huh?

And to think Adam was likely a Yes on Prop 8 voter.  But the idea of two men waxing poetic over nose hair lollypops that Frank won’t be objective in evaluating a center-left columnist.  Think Hannity, a burly macho guy with a full head of hair who would insist Jesus is a conservative Republican, and Colmes, a physically small man with male pattern baldness and a soft voice who says “whatever you say Mr. Hannity.”  No thanks.

But still, I’m sure Frank was happy to help his friend get a paying gig at the Register has he takes his forced furlough week off., whenever that is scheduled  

In today’s column, Adam takes credit for spotting Irvine Mayor Sukhee Kang in line at the Obama Town Hall and moving him up the line by identifying the mayor as an elected VIP.  What Adam neglected to say was he was part of  Tom Mauk’s entourage (we have photos!) that arrived at the event and Mr. Mauk tried to cut the line.  Mayor Kang went to the back of the line like so many progressive elected officials did in OC.  And while Adam may have moved Mayor Kang up the line, he didn’t take the Mayor all the way.  I was just with Fulleton Mayor Pro Tem Pam Keller when she went in early with other electeds.  I spotted Mayor Kang and actually walked him to the front of the line where he was escorted in.

So when Steven Greenhut was interviewing Adam at the Obama event, he was actually interviewing a paid columnist for a Register property.  Nice.

Lastly, the tag line on Adam’s column is misleading.  “Adam Probolsky is CEO of a research company and lives in Turtle Rock.”  No mention of political affilitation.  He must be embarrased.

So, if you’re an Irvine resident and think the IWN made a mistake in bringing in Adam as a columnist, email Don Dennis at ddennis@ocregister.com.

Note to readers: Don’s email has been updated and corrected.

  1 comment for “The Register’s Irvine World News adds a New Columnist

  1. March 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I suppose the upside is that as fewer people read the Register, even fewer will read the Irvine World News.

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