The View From the Inside
By Roger Paradiso
See also, the View From the Outside
This is really a story about an extremely ambitious woman named Dusty and the brilliant fiction she is weaving around seizing a community newspaper.
The reporting on the supposed theft of the WestView News has got all of us here at The Village View ready to follow Peter Finch’s advice in Network. We are mad as hell and are not going to take it anymore.
Much has been written in papers and blogs about the battle for control of WestView. A lot of it is done to sell papers. And for Dusty to become a well-known, important person in the Village. Even if she has none of the ethos of the West Village.
Dusty has been poisoning George against Arthur Schwartz for years. Arthur is a progressive. Dusty is a Trumpist (or somewhere on that spectrum). There will never be peace between them.
Kim Plosia, WestView’s former managing editor, told me “when Dusty first arrived at Charles Street, her stated objective was to purchase the newspaper from George, despite having no experience or skill in publishing.” But Schwartz was in her way. Schwartz claims he has a still-viable agreement and one percent ownership stake that would allow him to take control of WestView News if Capsis becomes incapacitated. Meanwhile, Berke believes she is the one in line to take ownership of the paper.
“The staff began to notice disparaging and defamatory remarks directed at Schwartz within the first year of Dusty’s arrival. It seemed clear that Dusty was offering a poison pill to remove Schwartz and his extremely inconvenient (for her) contract. Gradually George (by this time deeply suffering Stockholm Syndrome) jumped on the anti-Schwartz bandwagon. The barrage of insulting and deranged text messages and phone calls escalated in the last year. With George’s health suffering Dusty siezed power, blocking most access to George’s email and phone calls.”
Once Dusty finally took charge, she did as Trump did with his merchandise. She outsourced. That is so anti-West Village.
I remember many times that Dusty, the caretaker, would leave George for days or a week. She wanted, I think, to show him how much he needed her. He did quite well back then with a little help from his friends.
Theirs was a rocky relationship. But, in some way, George needed Dusty to manage things for him as he was getting older. He never got used to her conspiracy theories and Fox News politics. But slowly as he aged, he became almost totally dependent on her. And she knows it.
There would be occasions when we did our monthly Zoom meetings that Dusty would be hovering around George. He would give her looks, but eventually she would try to inject some far out story idea into the discussion. At these moments George would usually tell her to stay out of the newspaper business. Sometimes he would yell and that would be embarrassing.
I once asked George if he would ever sell the paper and he said no, “unless somebody gives me 100k.” He would look at me and laugh. I said “don’t look at me. I would never buy a newspaper. It’s a charity, not a vocation, on the community level.” George would say he would die without the newspaper. Well Dusty must have heard that. She has offered George 100k for the paper as reported in The Village Sun. And she has maneuvered her way into George’s heart and mind to get that paper.
She really didn’t want anyone of the WestView progressive persuasion to contact George. She started answering his calls and emails. I was told many times that George was busy and to call back. This never happened before. I got the hint. I was no longer needed in Dusty’s world.
Like Trump’s attempted takeover of the government and his coup on Insurrection Day, Dusty and her allies have been taking over the paper for the last year. As I said, it’s not the same WestView News. Pundits are trying to figure out what it is.
“The third Page One article is by Kambiz Shekdar—who is listed on WestView’s masthead as “Science Editor.” Headlined “From Oil To Medicine,” the article advocates for the United Arab Emirates rather than the United States to be a center for biopharma research. Seemingly “from out of left field,” it’s certainly not a typical article one would expect in a community newspaper—unless maybe you were reading DubaiView News.
—The Village Sun
Dusty was staging a coup to get the paper. She followed Trump and his style but in a nicer, more persuasive manner. She could get tough, but that was usually with midnight calls to staff. There were always threats and cursing on those calls, but I leave that for others to confirm.
Capsis admitted that Berke and the production staff, all of whom decamped to The Village View after being fired or quitting in protest, never got along. Berke offers that the staff disliked her from the start, claiming they were envious of her “sales ability and good looks.”
The spin and marketing out of 69 Charles has become too much. The back cover picture of the two-months-behind issue was a touching image of a couple who in real life fight it out like George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
One day, I was called to an important meeting of the key staff. It was to meet some lawyers who had something important to say about 911. Dusty set it up and said this was big news. They had maps and a powerpoint presentation. One of the lawyers kept saying “he,” as in “he took the buildings down.” As a journalist, I wanted to know who “he” was. I asked the question and was told “he” was George Bush. That was the end of the lawyers at WestView. Though they are still hanging around Dusty and making appearances at Charles Street. Can you imagine?
The Covid era was not kind to George, He was not the same man I first met in 2017. He is not well. Yet the pictures out of Charles Street take a page out of the Ronald Reagan playook, showing a virile man ready to chop wood, making him look healthy and manly, while his wife plots his remaining life with astrologers. Something similar is happening at 69 Charles Street.
The coup was complete when Dusty became Managing Editor with no experience. Just like Trump. He became president with no experience, and we know what happened there. Stolen election lies. Wait a minute. Dusty is claiming we “stole” the paper. This sounds familiar…
A lot of people have wondered why everyone got fired or left. It’s what Dusty wanted. She kept her loyalists and purged the rest. Like Trump firing staff. She has pushed out several contributors like Trump iced out those he feared. She is running the paper with or without George’s input. The last few issues were terrible and long. George would never do that. He would never have Trumpists and teenagers writing for the paper. That’s why we started a new paper and invited George to join us.
“No one stole a newspaper. We built our own paper. And we do all the work on it in the West Village. We do not outsource our paper. I think our third issue will look, I believe, a lot more like a community paper,” Schwartz said. “George thinks a community paper should have articles about ‘Naked Short Selling,’ ‘Capital Markets,’ World War I and two pages about how 5G towers can damage your DNA — I don’t agree.”
WestView can still print Dusty’s paper if they can find people who want to support her. And if people want to read about conspiracies and Fox news stories. George would never do that.
Copies of The Village View can be found in many shops in the Village and by subscription.