A few days ago we received an unsolicited email from a Berkeley Daily Planet staffer informing us that we were being added to his spam blocker. This simple act got us to asking ourselves whether the Berkeley Daily Planet is a local newspaper or some sort of cult. Our thoughts are still in the hypothesis phase, but we are happy to share with our readers the evidence we have thus far accumulated:
1. Like a cult, the Berkeley Daily Planet seems to insulate itself from all meaningful dialogue that might challenge its peculiar worldview. Consequently, we have now been spam blocked by publisher, Mike O’Malley, executive editor, Becky O’Malley, and one of their reporters. A second reporter, Justin DeFreitas, has refused to answer a simple email request for corrections to his article about us. We dare not name the first reporter, because his email is marked CONFIDENTIAL, and the Berkeley Daily Planet has repeatedly threatened us with lawsuits. Conn Hallinan has not returned two phone calls when we sought to query him on his sources and methodologies. Simply put, there is a Jonestown or Waco feel to the way these folks are circling their wagons.
2. Reporter, Richard Brenneman, certainly seems to be acting like a guru crazed cultist. We believe that this is in keeping with his personal history. We believe that he may even have sent a coded message to fellow cultists calling for violence against us (a kind of Chauncey Bailey/Your Black Muslim Bakery situation in reverse, where it is the newspaper that goes on the attack). For security purposes, we cannot give you details at this time, but his action caused us to seek police protection.
3. The cult’s minions also refuse to examine evidence that might challenge their closely held worldview. For example, look at all the letters condemning us in the June 11, 2009 issue. See if you can detect any evidence that their authors had ever once visited the website they so vociferously condemn. Similarly, although anyone can send us comments through this website, in all the time we have been up and running, we have only received one condemnatory comment. All the rest have been laudatory. We can only believe that this is because Becky’s minions are not interested enough to pay us a visit. Incuriosity may be the most telling hallmark of the typical Daily Planet cultist.
4. Like some weird cult, the Daily Planet sees enemies and conspiracies everywhere. They repeatedly link Jim Sinkinson with DPWatchDog, even though we have absolutely no input into his letters to advertisers, and he has no input into this website.
5. Papers are not “sold,” but rather “donations” are sought in the form of love offerings to the vastly wealthy Becky O’Malley. It all sounds so religious.
6. Finally, there is no editorial board as one would find at a real newspaper. Instead, editorial policy is set by a lone guru, Becky O’Malley, whose “sayings” (actually, they are mostly rants) become scripture.