The Battle for Free Speech: Santa Barbara News Press speaks out

Michael Greer

Michael Greer

By Michael Greer

Saturday I drove to Santa Barbara for a brunch where the Director of News Operations at the Santa Barbara News-Press, Don Katich was going to speak about the newspaper’s recent battles for free speech.

Santa Barbara is my home town. I was raised in Santa Barbara, I graduated from Santa Barbara High School, I was married in Santa Barbara and my children were born there. I love Santa Barbara and anything that happens there is of interest to me.

A few months ago the Santa Barbara News-Press was attacked and vandalized by pro-illegal alien protestors. They spray painted, “The border is illegal not the people who cross it,” next to the front door.  The rest of the building was paint bombed. What did the paper do to warrant such an attack? They printed a headline that said, “Illegals line up for drivers licenses”. The grievance army has become so emboldened, anything they perceive as offensive warrants the complete destruction of the offender.

A few weeks after the attack there was a rally in support of the News-Press. I attended that rally and so did the pro-illegal alien crowd. They did best to provoke the News-Press supporters. They shouted down speakers, they shouted epithets, they got in people’s faces. I’m constantly frustrated by people here illegally demanding rights they aren’t entitled to, and our government allowing it. No wonder they feel empowered.

The Santa Barbara Woman’s Federated arranged a brunch at the La Cumbre Country Club for Don Katich to explain the News-Press’s position on this attack on free speech. Valerie Watson from the Woman’s Federated introduced Mr. Katich and after listing his many accomplishments, she said he was also a member of the NRA, to great applause.

Don began his talk by saying how sad it was that exercising your 2nd Amendment rights would receive applause.

He let us know the News-Press is not going to change it’s position. “Illegals” is the accurate term, it’s a term used by the Federal government and a term the News-Press has used for years. They have every intention of continuing to use it.

He gave examples of free speech being attacked in Santa Barbara, and cited an attack on a pro-life teenager by an assistant professor on the University of California, Santa Barbara campus. The young woman was physically assaulted and her display destroyed by the UCSB employee who was never held accountable for the assault.

Michael Greer at the Santa Barbara News Press rally

Michael Greer at the Santa Barbara News Press rally

Mr. Katich spoke of the 1st Amendment being our greatest gift and the basis of all our other rights. Once the Rule of Law becomes subjective, tyranny follows.

He believes in American Exceptionalism as evidenced in our Bill of Rights and the Constitution. It’s the newspaper’s job to report the news truthfully, not to be politically correct.

He told us about the fight in 2006 the new publisher had with the union (I didn’t know reporters were unionized, no wonder so many are Liberal) over control of the content of the paper.

The new publisher wanted to end the Liberal bias that existed. The union members walked out and sued for control of the content. Fortunately, a judge ruled that the publisher had control, not the employees.

Don said the future can’t be controlled by kissing ass, but by kicking ass. He said it’s time to be informed, be involved and be BOLD.


Michael Greer retired from the film/television industry and is the co-organizer of the Santa Monica Tea Party and the Los Angeles Tea Party, on the board of directors of the Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights and was a member of the Republican Central Committee for the 41st Assembly District.  Her website is:

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abraham lizama
abraham lizama
6 years ago

Please present an unbiased report next time. Obviously, you are influenced by your political ideology and disregarded the human aspect of the situation being reported. Do son real research on the context of the recent events or stop writing. That kick ass mentality is the reason why there is always conflict in “your” country. Thank you.

Citizen Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  abraham lizama

There was recently an accurate report on the meeting and was said by Don Katich of SB Free Press, not an analysis of two sides. We previously reported on both sides regarding the free speech rally and counter-rally. This piece by Michael Greer was an opinion column, not a news article. Please note the difference. Would you like to submit an opinion column as well?

And what country is yours?