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Thursday, May 4, 2000

Examiner ‘shocker’
was old news

Associated Press


SAN FRANCISCO -- When San Francisco Examiner publisher Timothy White testified this week that he offered favorable editorial coverage to the mayor in exchange for support of The Hearst Corp.'s purchase of the Chronicle, Hearst reacted with shock and suspended White.

But White said the same thing to Justice Department lawyers in December. A transcript of his deposition, shown to reporters yesterday, lists two Hearst Corp. lawyers as present, although a Hearst spokeswoman said one left during the session. The second attorney said today that he attended the entire deposition.

"Apparently they have fired this man not because of the information itself, but because it was revealed in a public forum," attorney Joseph M. Alioto said in court after reading from White's deposition.

Alioto is representing businessman Clint Reilly, the former mayoral candidate suing to block Hearst's $660 million purchase of the Chronicle.

Hearst plans to sell the Examiner, its flagship newspaper, to local publisher Ted Fang, and to provide a $66 million subsidy for the paper over three years. The Chronicle and Examiner business operations have been combined and their profits split since 1965.

The Examiner published a front-page message to readers yesterday, saying: "The newsroom employees of The Examiner are proud that our editorial support is not, and never has been, for sale. We fully expect any employee to be held accountable for actions that undermine our editorial integrity."

The note was signed: "The Examiner staff."

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