If at first you don’t succeed, try another political columnist. That’s the mantra for the Coalition for Responsible Growth — a moderate political activist group with connections to downtown developers, moderate ballot measures like sit-lie and a stated goal to “turn S.F. hard to the right” — who is without a keynote speaker for its $200-a-plate fundraiser at Fisherman’s Wharf tonight.

Last week, Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius was pulled from the event when his bosses found out he was giving the keynote address (it’s at best an ethical gray area for a journalist to appear at a paid political fundraiser, especially when the journalist reports on politics).


The Coalition’s Plan B? Get another journalist, this one The Examiner’s Melissa Griffin, who handily had a piece about sit-lie in today’s paper. Here’s a link.

But Griffin, too, was pulled from tonight’s event…when, it appears, her bosses found out.

“Melissa Griffin will not be speaking at the CRG benefit tonight,” Examiner executive editor Deirdre Hussey told the Appeal by phone a few hours after we sent her an email asking, in part, if the Examiner’s standards for their columnists were different than the Chronicle’s.

Did Griffin accept the Coalition’s invitation without a) clearing it with her editors and b) learning from Nevius’s mistake? Perhaps the fact that she’s a freelancer for the paper, not an actual member of Examiner staff, confused the issue — many news organizations do indeed have different codes and standards for contractors than for full time reporters and columnists.

In any case, as the Chronicle before them, the Examiner’s management apparently applied the kibosh as soon as the paper found out about its columnist’s moonlighting.

Griffin herself has not yet responded to an e-mail seeking comment, nor has CRG responded to a telephone message seeking comment. (They didn’t respond to the call we placed over the Nevius affair, either.) As of 2:20, Griffin’s name remains on the site as tonight’s speaker.

One is left to wonder: Why does a center-right political organization think it has such good friends in the local media? Who are they going to get to speak at an event that begins in less than four hours? And most importantly: how much does this thing pay? Because, CRG: we’re free tonight, and we also happen to be a journalist (of sorts).

For a crab louie and two drinks at Chris Daly’s bar, we’ll be your knight in (digital) ink-stained armor.

See you at the Wharf!

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