Like Julie's political affiliation, this "newsletter" pretends to be one thing while being something else entirely
Julie Thunder and scandal-ridden former City Council member Mark Muir are co-publishers of a newsletter called "The Encintas Current". It is ostensibly a non-partisan source of community news but in truth, it's a platform for partisan politics.
Check out the front page for July, 2020:
All of the features circled in red are political in nature, and specifically emphasize themes of Julie Thunder's campaign for mayor.
She's featured under "Campaign 2020" (yep, that's the co-publisher herself in the upper right).
The article with the innocuous sounding "Downtown 101 lane closures" headline is actually a hatchet job on the current City Council.
The article on bike crashes is a hit piece on the bike lane improvements along Coast Highway south of Cardiff.
And we round out the top features with Alex Riley's announcement for his City Council campaign (he's part of a slate with Julie Thunder and Susan Turney challenging the current mayor and Council).
It's really not cool to pretend to be a community newsletter when the real objective is to score political points and advance the interests of the co-publisher's mayoral campaign. Wow, how cynical!
If all this weren't bad enough, Julie usurped the "Current" name from a legitimate community paper that's been around for years: The "North Coast Current". Once again, designed to deceive.
The editor of the "North Coast Current" is clearly not amused and had this pointed response to Julie's political rag in the form of an editorial in his own paper (excerpt below, full article at the link).
Excerpt from "North Coast Current" editorial about the deliberate confusion between the "North Coast Current" and "The Encinitas Current":
EDITORIAL: Which Current are you reading? Encinitas site stirs election season confusion
Are you reading the North Coast Current or Encinitas Current? Look carefully. Not just at the nameplate, but at the web address. If you thought you were reading one and not the other, beware. It might be by design in this era of murky news outlets, leading to confusion stoked by political parties, bureaucracies, candidates and special interests.
The North Coast Current, an award-winning Encinitas-based news outlet founded 18 years ago, has battled misperceptions about its purpose and content since mayoral candidate Julie Thunder and former Encinitas Councilman Mark Muir founded the Cardiff Current in early 2018.
Given the years it’s taken to build the North Coast Current’s brand, it has every right to defend itself against this potential confusion.
Had Thunder and Muir named their sites “Cardiff Coast News” and “Encinitas Coast News,” would the ownership of the long-established Coast News accept it?
“Our original goal, conceptually, was just to have a community newspaper online and just focus on issues that were important to Cardiff,” Muir told the North Coast Current in 2018.
Thunder said in the same article that she had never heard of the North Coast Current. That claim is inconsistent with her outlet’s statement on the site: “Both Mark and Julie would be the first to say ‘We’re not journalists!’” Why would such a statement be necessary unless they already knew a journalistic enterprise with the Current name already existed, covering the same communities?
Neither explained to the reporter why there was such a similarity in name to the North Coast Current.
What happened, however, was that the Cardiff Current website disappeared not long after Muir’s run for City Council as Cardiff’s representative, a race he lost to Jody Hubbard. Then, in a quick turnaround, the Encinitas Current website appeared, incorporating the content from its earlier version. Within a year, on Jan. 31, Thunder announced her candidacy for Encinitas mayor on the site.
Without more transparency from Thunder or Muir in 2018, when the Cardiff Current first appeared, and the behavior of the sites leading up to election seasons 2018 and 2020, the North Coast Current is left with this impression — that the Cardiff and Encinitas “Currents” are designed to mislead residents into reading political sites as news sites.
Since Thunder announced her candidacy for mayor, the North Coast Current has received notes of congratulations and offers of campaign assistance meant for her.
The [North Coast] Current has been derided for supporting a candidate it has nothing to do with.
Thunder supporters have attempted to post free political advertising on the North Coast Current’s social media sites.
Thunder’s Encinitas Current posted an almost exact screen capture from a City Council meeting — labeled “Campaign 2020” — included in a Jan. 23 North Coast Current news story about her candidacy.
The Cardiff School District incorrectly referred to a North Coast Current news report as one from the Encinitas Current.
The [North Coast] Current would prefer to give Thunder and Muir the benefit of the doubt, but a recent trend in politics makes that more challenging.
This is a pretty scathing editorial. And just to rub it in, "The North Coast Current" put their front page side right next to "The Encinitas Current" front page (below). Ummm... yeah. It's confusing. And that's no accident... it appears to be quite deliberate.
The link to the full "North Coast Current" editorial is below: