SAN DIEGO – A recent editorial board endorsement penned by the San Diego Union-Tribune is drawing some criticism for using “sexist” language referring to mayoral candidate Barbara Bry.
The endorsement, published Friday by the board, argues that Assemblymember Todd Gloria is the best of two strong choices to replace outgoing Mayor Kevin Faulconer, citing, among other things, Gloria’s “history of effectiveness and working well with others.”
But members of San Diego’s chapter of Califia National Organization for Women met in a video news conference Tuesday to denounce the way the editorial discusses Bry, a member of San Diego City Council. Bry also called the editorial a “striking example of sexism,” Union-Tribune reporting shows.
“I was deeply offended and saddened,” said Gabriella Dow, founder of Mora Dow Consulting.
The group raises the issue with a line in the editorial, which states Bry “might well be a tougher manager” in some areas and that “perhaps a Mayor Gloria could use a chief of staff like her.”
“But is her harder-edged style more likely to round up City Council majorities?” the editorial asks.
Many news institutions have editorial boards — which typically operate separately from news-gathering operations — to weigh in on issues, including elections. Candidates for public office traditionally meet with such boards, including the Union-Tribune’s, to discuss their backgrounds and policy objectives to seek the board’s formal endorsement.
Dow said that while she does not believe anyone on the newspaper’s staff is a bad person, “this is a bad editorial.”
Responding to the critique, Matthew T. Hall, the newspaper’s editorial and opinion director, said the board is “a strong supporter of equity for women.” Half of the body’s members are women, and the board “frequently (endorses) women in elections,” he said.
Although the board stands by its endorsement of Gloria, Hall said he spoke with Bry on Monday to discuss her criticisms of the editorial.
“She said she considered it to be sexist language and unconscious bias, and I see why that wording has led to confusion and criticism from Bry and others,” he said. “I know our intention is irrelevant when anyone is personally upset, and I take responsibility for and regret that our meaning was not clearer.”