The Union columnist Boardman: A New Year, a new hatchet job

I sighed when I read the latest hatchet job on the personal blog of George Boardman, who moonlights as The Union’s columnist each week. (Or is it the other way around?)

News outlets often have policies that discourage this because of the risk for conflicts, discrediting the newspaper, and double standards. An example is here.

Boardman’s blog had gone dormant, but with a New Year comes a new hatchet job. In his latest post, Boardman stitched together a string of half-truths and outright lies that confused time and place to build a false narrative — a tactic that I presume The Union would not condone in its news pages. At least get the facts straight.

*”Jeffie had been in Diaz’s camp since he was editor of The Union.” Wrong. And provable. Jeff Ackerman and/or the editorial writer, not me, wrote The Union’s editorials praising Greg Diaz (here and here). I had nothing to do with them. I was never asked for input. That would come out in a deposition during “discovery” proceedings. The Union’s editor, Brian Hamilton, should remember this too.

*”Pelline has been a reliable foot soldier for Diaz over the years, contributing money to past campaigns …” Over the years? Boardman muddied the waters with a vague phrase: Our family’s contribution to Diaz’ campaign was in 2010, long after I was a newspaper journalist and when I was writing this blog. It was disclosed too. (Not surprisingly, Barry Pruett has been gleefully sharing Boardman’s post this afternoon, since Pruett was the loser in this race. In fact, Pruett, a gymnastics-school owner turned small-town lawyer, lost in every precinct. Ouch!)

*”He has certainly reminded me on several occasions, informing me that (Oracle’s) Larry Ellison … has praised his work in the past.” Huh? That also would be proven false. In fact, I have noted that Ellison was a little steamed about this article I wrote for The Chronicle because it expressed skepticism. Example: “But before you nominate ‘people’s champion’ Larry Ellison for president, remember that the concept of a network computer is not new — in fact, it dates back to the ’70s.”

*”It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the recent death of Herb Kelleher, long-time head of Southwest Airlines, prompted Jeffie to write that it was a ‘privilege’ to interview Kelleher during his big-time reporting days. (Privilege? You would think Pelline was granted an audience with a potentate.)” That’s downright distasteful, since I was eulogizing Herb the week he had died.

You get the point. It is time The Union re-examine whether Boardman is meeting its own standards of journalism that parent Swift outlines for its newspapers. Does it condone this?

Meanwhile, lawyers have their own challenges.: “Considering the fake news phenomenon, newspaper and TV reporters tend to score poorly in the honesty stakes.

Lawyers and business executives are trusted even less while lobbyists are rock bottom with only 8 percent of Gallup’s respondents saying they have high or very high honesty and ethical standards,” according to a recent article at Ouch!


Author: 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 Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

4 thoughts on “The Union columnist Boardman: A New Year, a new hatchet job”

  1. The Union ought to be concerned about Boardman’s reporting. He continues to ignore the point:
    1. I never wrote an editorial supporting Diaz.
    2. In 2010, I was not employed as a news journalist.

  2. As a thought to replace the Union’s space of Boardman’s:
    A report on the spillway behind Bullard’s Bar Dam (is there a possible problem like at Oroville?)-
    A count of concealed weapons permits given in Nevada County (and how easy it is to get now?)-
    An interview with McClintock, or LaMalfa having members of the community asking questions about how and why they voted the way they did (in the case of LaMalfa wanting to give Trump the Pulitzer Prize)-btw-This could be ongoing!-
    It’d be as easy as counting sheep-

  3. No kidding! In a response to his post directed at me, Boardman wrote on his blog (and this is a direct quote):
    “As for my supposed conflict of interest … I never wrote about The Stonehouse when I was the business writer for The Union. In the few instances when I wrote about other restaurants, I disclosed my conflict upfront.” (Boardman’s wife was a co-owner of the Stonehouse).

    “never.” … “disclosed my conflict upfront.” OK. Yet I did a quick search on and found this article with Boardman’s byline in July 2005: “No place like home for local wines”
    In fact, the online article by George had (1) NUMEROUS mentions of the Stonehouse and (2) no disclosure. An excerpt is here:

    “The Stonehouse restaurant has emphasized local wines since it opened in Nevada City more than a year ago, and bar manager Joe Benavent reports that they’ve been well received.

    “What you feature by the glass is what sells, and we’ve made it a point to feature those wines,” he said. “They are outselling everything, actually.”

    About 30 of the 75 vintages on the restaurant’s wine list are from Nevada County, and Benavent said interest in them is equally divided between area residents and visitors.

    Nevada City, Indian Springs, and Lucchesi wines lead the local contingent, but all of the local wines carried by the restaurant “sell very well” against wines from outside the area, Benavent said.

    To contact staff writer George Boardman, e-mail or call 477-4236.”

    At least according to these articles, also at The, his wife supposedly co-owned the Stonehouse during that time. The articles, one from 3/22/2004 and another from 11/12/2008, are here:

    I have asked George for an explanation yesterday, but I still have not heard back. My queries about this on his blog also remain stuck in “moderation.”

    1. And this is the best George could do for an explanation: “… a note at the end of the article acknowledging my conflict never made it into the paper.” (AKA, the “dog ate my homework.”)

      Oh, and he didn’t respond to this one: “I never wrote about The Stonehouse.” Podunk!

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