Wonder why The Union’s print circulation has “plateaued”? Another Rebane column

515cpgeyidl“Our print subscriptions have plateaued along a line that would show a slight drop since the recession,” writes Publisher Don Rogers in his weekly column. “The drop is very, very slow, but yes, perceptible.”

One reason is The Union’s choice of content — it is often predictable and monotonous, not inspiring, informative or uplifting. It appeals to the “aging and declining” demographic.

A shining example is the pontifications of George Rebane, the hard-right political activist and blogger who obviously likes to read his name in print and whose hero is “Father Knows Best.” This weekend The Union readership is treated to more of this man’s diatribes — not a “growth” strategy for a “community conversation” or even a sustainable one.

I did not seek this one out until I received an email from a reader, pointing to it. It read “crapola.” Rebane mocks Calexit (even likening the “Never Trump” crowd to the serious effects of PTSD — a totally inappropriate simile); he mocks the “glorious age of Obama,” adding “then in November their ‘new world order’ collapsed; he points to “comrades” Bernie and Liz; and he mocks “leftwingers.”

At the same time, of course, Rebane has pointed to the “wisdom” of the State of Jefferson.

He sees the world through WASP-tinted glasses. “Today in California there is a growing cohort of leftwingers who have evaluated our nation’s socio-political terrain, and conclude themselves to be irredeemably different from the rest of the country,” he writes.

But the socio-political terrain is changing: In California, ‘whites’ (AKA those of European ancestry like George Rebane) have become a minority, and America is experiencing the same transformation.

Rebane might think multi-culturalism (AKA “multi-kulti” to him) doesn’t work. But the vast majority of us do see it working. In the November election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.86 million ballots.

The Union could grow its business — fostering a true “community dialogue” — if it focused more on the mainstream rather than the extremes of our community. The Union thinks the divisive language is on Facebook. It ought to look in the mirror. The best ideas should win, not the loudest ones.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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14 Responses to Wonder why The Union’s print circulation has “plateaued”? Another Rebane column

  1. Chip Wilder says:

    He calls Bernie Sanders and Liz Warren “comrades” . Dog whistling George- This guy is on the editorial board, then the paper let’s him write hate speech on the other side of the page from the editorial by the “same” Board that states:
    “Closing your mind and being intolerant can come naturally. Individual thought gives way to groupthink, and you find yourself in a soothing echo chamber where everyone is the same.”
    Two sides of page, both sides of mouth.

  2. jeffpelline says:

    I wonder if he wrote that too! The editorial board conference room has become the “echo chamber of Burger Basin”! lol.

  3. Joe Koyote says:

    Rebane is still fighting the cold war. Anyone, everyone, who disagrees with his screeds he labels as a “collectivist”, a feeble attempt to invoke the anti-Communist fervor of the 1950’s and paint the recipient of his ire as a pinko commie. He probably still thinks Joe McCarthy was a hero.

  4. stevefrisch says:

    Better resist the rise of American fascism my friends.

  5. joyceling27 says:

    The “editorial board” piece this morning and the Hits and Misses column yesterday represent the editorial voice of The Union, which grows ever more right-wing by the day.

  6. jeffpelline says:

    Here are some more comments posted at TheUnion.com:

    1. “Russell Steele:
    Immigration without assimilation is invasion.

    “Muslims find assimilation difficult, as Islam is more than religion is it also a form of governance. In the US we have separated governing and the practice of religion. As more Muslim come to the US, they will take over neighborhoods and try to force the adoption of Sharia Law in their newly established ghettos, like they are doing in Sweden and Germany.

    “Since the Islamic faith impedes assimilation, citizens many view their presence in the community as a form of invasion. We can observe the problems facing EU states and communities to see the problems California cities will have as the Democrats hold open our borders for unfettered Islamic immigration.

    “The conflicts arising from this failed assimilation will provide an opportunity for California progressive Democrats to accelerate the growing ‘Divide.'”

    2. “Steven Frisch:
    “There are so many ways the ideas expressed by Mr. Rebane are just wrong.

    “The idea that a ‘divide’ exists in American culture is not in any way new, uncommon, unprecedented in history, or a problem for our society. The leveraging of that divide for a doctrine of separatism is what is new and dangerous here.

    “Mr. Rebane’s clearly states on his blog and softly states here, that people of like culture have some right to live together in our society free from the intrusions of what they perceive to be alien cultures. Such a policy is impractical and impossible to guarantee as some sort of right, is un-Constitutional under the equal protection clause, and is antithetical to core American values as defined by our founders.

    “The idea that immigrants to the United States are not culturally assimilating, are not assimilated at the same rate, or are not assimilating American values, is unsupported in historical research. The period of time it took for German, Irish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and other immigrants into our society to assimilate is functionally no different than the period of time it is taking for Mexican, Jordanian, Lebanese, or Indian immigrants. Even the conservative Manhattan Institute agrees with the liberal Center for American Progress that historic rates of assimilation are actually slightly faster in the early 21st century than they were in the early 20th. In rates of assuming citizenship, homeownership, English language proficiency, job status and income levels, recent immigrants are all well ahead of their early 20th century predecessors. Thus, Mr. Rebane’s Great Divide is based on a demonstrably false premise, that new immigrants are not assimilating.

    “Mr. Rebane describes, ‘the country divided into a confederacy of culturally cohesive states’ clinically, as though he is merely providing information about other peoples ideas. He softens such a policy and its fundamentally un-American theory by stating that you will still be ‘American,’ it would merely mean re-writing the Constitution. Now that both the left and right have come to this conclusion we can start the work of dividing ourselves into these culturally cohesive ghettos. If you read his blog you would quickly recognize that he is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, he is a proponent of separatism.

    “This is where ‘antithetical’ to American values comes in; our constitutional system was designed to both grant freedom of movement and mobility within our society but to also embrace and assimilate newcomers to our nation through immigration.

    “We foreshadow this in the preamble, ‘…secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…’ which since all of the founders were of immigrant origins was clearly interpreted at the time to include immigrants to our nation. At the time the usage of the word ‘posterity’ did not mean our descendants, it meant all future generations, including immigrants.

    “The Declaration and the Constitution both restate that idea when they cite natural laws and rights, the idea that all persons have the same natural rights, irrespective of where their mothers were when they delivered them.

    “In our founding documents we defined what it meant to become a naturalized citizen precisely because at our founding we were a nations of immigrants.

    “The naturalizations clause (Article 1 of the constitution) does not include any power to restrict migration; it creates powers to determine the terms of citizenship, clearly anticipating future immigration.

    “We anticipated a diversity of religions by granting freedom of religion and establishing the principle that there would be no religious tests for public office or citizenship.

    We created rights to the ownership of property without constraint on citizenship.

    “We extended constitutional protections to immigrants. James Madison stated at the Virginia ratifying convention for the Constitution, ‘It does not follow, because aliens are not parties to the Constitution, as citizens are parties to it, that whilst they actually conform to it, they have no right to its protection.’

    “And when these values were challenged we further ensconced this right when we created birthright citizenship in the 14th amendment and clarified the fact that even visitors to the United States enjoy our constitutional rights when they are under our jurisdiction.

    “Mr. Rebane’s ideas, that we can somehow separate ourselves from the world, that we can band together in communities that look like us, think like us, pray like us, and believe like us is not only unachievable in a modern mobile society it is the very definition of separatism.

    “Finally, Mr. Rebane’s ideas are demonstrated as even more craven when we consider the fact that Mr. Rebane is himself a naturalized citizen, enjoying the benefits of American values while trying to deny those benefits to posterity.”

  7. Bruce Levy says:

    The Union has got to be a loss leader for Swift. Then again, “Swift Communications.” There’s an oxymoron for you. Should be Swift Misinformation.

  8. Judith Lowry says:

    When I see Mr. Rebane’s columns appear in the Union I usually skip it.
    I already know what he is going to say so I consider it a waste of time to read his ideas.
    Just as he has a right under our constitution’s first amendment to voice his opinions, I have the right not to read what he says.
    I have some favorite columns in the Union and those are the ones to which I gravitate for my morning read.
    What you are all doing by your comments is proving yourselves to be avid readers of the Union and big time fans of “Rocket Rebane”.
    How that must please our beloved newspaper publisher to know you care.
    Now, I wouldn’t mind sitting down with the lad and reviewing his disconcerting writing style with him so we could make some improvements, starting with all those sentence fragments.
    But, that’s another issue.

    • jeffpelline says:

      “Avid readers” and “big time fan of Rocket Rebane”?
      I guess that’s like saying “I don’t care what they say as long as they spell my name right.” I’m not sure what the revenue-generating model is, however, since we don’t subscribe.

  9. stevefrisch says:

    I can never quite figure out where you are coming from Judith. There is so much of what you post that I genuinely enjoy and agree with, but every once in a while I wonder, does she really mean this?

    I posted in response to Mr. Rebane because what he posted in our major local newspaper is an intentionally toned down version of white separatism and I believe that these ideas need to be confronted and exposed. It is racist bullshit.

    I never stated that Mr. Rebane doesn’t have a right to free speech, and I really resent your implication that pushing back against his ideas is a veiled attack on free speech. I think you misunderstand free speech if you think countering someones ideas is a threat to it.

  10. Joe Koyote says:

    I think what Judith is saying, my interpretation of course, is that to pay attention to Rebane is to feed his ego. He wants people to react to his diatribes. He does it not only to defend his own twisted outlook, but to tweak those who disagree. If he is ignored he becomes neutered. If no one pays attention except his five blog disciples he becomes marginalized which is where his ideas belong… on the far right margins of thought and humanity.

    • jeffpelline says:

      George Rebane is a board member of Music in the Mountains, and he is a commentator on the KVMR News Hour — two respected nonprofits. He also administers a Tech Test to the local kiddos. He needs to be held accountable for diatribes like this one, which is indeed a toned down version of white separatism.

    • stevefrisch says:

      This was not a response to his blog Joe, it was a response to his opinion column in The Union.

  11. Joe Koyote says:

    I understand your comments were about his column, and I agree. HIs “rag head” rhetoric and separatist view is racist. Perhaps if enough folks complained to the paper they would yank him. I think KVMR somehow feels the need to provide an alternate view (with alternate facts of course) to deflect criticisms of left-wing bias.. like most news outlets these days..The whole bias thing is and has been a ploy to gain equal coverage and mainstream the fringe ideas of the far right. It’s worked. It is time for everyone to stop cutting these people any slack at all. Like these people:

    Chomski or Zinn or someone like that once said that the only thing that beats big money is big people.

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