Tangled Webby

The San Jose Police Department’s ink-stained nemesis has gone native and joined the apparatus that puts people behind bars rather than hold the system accountable. That’s right, reporter Sean Webby is leaving the Mercury News to become a media coordinator for District Attorney Jeff Rosen. The selection is a little curious, considering Webby is about as well liked in public safety circles as the guys sitting in the back of the cars. Webby’s no-holds-barred investigations won awards for the Merc, most notably when he detailed the SJPD’s disproportionate arrest rate of late-night Latino partiers in downtown San Jose. Raj Jayadev and other local community activists frequently used his news clippings as kindle when holding the department’s feet to the fire. Webby’s departure, along with those of other bylines in years past—such as Barry Witt in 2008—seems to suggest a kinder, gentler Merc is on the way. (It’s no coincidence that Witt got a job with the city of San Jose as a legal analyst and investigator after he was made redundant.) Reporters Lisa Fernandez and Mark Gomez are left to carry the crimes and courts torch, but it’s worth pondering if a continued exodus is in the cards. Could columnist Scott Herhold move upstairs at City Hall to become a strategist for Mayor Chuck Reed. Or will lead political reporter John Woolfolk walk out the door to become a flak for Debra Figone? With more position cuts potentially on the horizon for the city and county, job security in local government is no sure bet. But compared to the media, at least they get holiday pay for MLK day.

And for kicks, here’s a video of Webby being tazed:

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.


  1. Fly,

    thanks but it is old news, thought you were more on top of things. Or maybe it is just your day to post instead of breaking news. (See DA Blog comments about Webby).

    I think the taser affected Webby’s brain.  But good for him, throne in SJPD side, but I really appreciated his reporting although slated to appease his MN bosses.  He did do one hell of a job exposing registered sex offenders back in the day.

      I would love to see Scott and John leave the MN and just disappear.  We know the MN will not get any kinder because we know how much they hate public safety and pensions.

    Now if we could just get Chuck, Deb, PO, Constant and a few other to just go away SJ would be a much better place to live.

  2. A few questions, since I didn’t even know that the County was hiring:
    -How was this position posted?  How many individuals applied or were interviewed?  How long was this in the works, and who will Sean Webby be reporting to?

    Things to consider, depending upon the answers Sean Webby writes for Jeff Rosen:
    -Was this arrangement made while Webby was writing/contributing to news stories during the DA’s race?  How did any of this influence the way stories were covered, or was it a part of the interview process?  Does this smack of collusion or a breach of ethics?  Is this why we learned about the hiring from this blog instead of being reported in the Mercury itself?

    And a suggestion for the Mercury staff – you are supposed to expose political backroom deals, not make them yourselves.

    • All excellent questions that demand answer, both from Mr. Rosen AND the management of the Mercury News. 

      Are you listening, Mr. Rosen? Mr. Tully?

    • Thoroughly Disgusted,
      You might want to post these questions to DA Rosen on SJI’s questions to DA Rosen. I’d like to see what he says.

  3. You can tell the character of a person by their actions, who they have as friends, associate with and hire  

    My and many others opinion of DA Jeff Rosen just dropped tremendously for hiring Sean Webby.

    Webby is a dishonest, unethical, immoral person who brought shame on journalism profession by numerous times twists facts, biased comparisons, ambushed and misquoted people, caused good people to have their reputations unfairly tarnished to advance his sorry journalist career with liberal biased opinions as politically sensational inaccurate news stories

    The good news is he has left Mercury, the really bad news is he will be DA’s unethical untrustworthy media and spokesperson

    Jeff, the majority public’s opinion of your judgement just took a very large hit except among small strongly biased Jayadev and Cordell’s ” we know the police are guilty and do wrong all the time but they hide it ” crowd

    Many will not vote for Rosen for DA in future, if that is the type of really sorry unethical person he hires

    Karma –  Webby deserves much bad luck and any problems in DA’s office for his past behavior

    • Voters want to know…when was the employment offer made to Webby to employ him? What Merc stories did this offer influence or kill?

      And how much of our taxes will he eat?  Salary, bonus, benefits, insurance, and retirement?

    • Sean Webby is actually one of the most honest, ethical and Highly Moral people on the planet!! You are DEAD wrong about him!! Maybe you should worry about your OWN Karma!…. Wishing bad Luck & problems on someone else shows more about your bad character than makes anyone believe the load of CRAP you are serving!!!  DA Rosen has shown how wise he is for seeing past the bigoted FEW like you who think secrets are best kept swept under the rug. Webby is one of the few journalist who are brave enough to take on the establishment and report the TRUTH!! The DA and any TRUE Public Servant are never afraid to see the truth brought to light!

  4. I find the hiring of Sean Webby by the DA’s Office to be true irony. Webby will now have to deal with reporting things from the “other side” of law enforcement. That should be a real hoot!

  5. Webby’s appointment would indeed be “curious” were it not for the fact that his new employer, DA Rosen, is politically indistinguishable from his former employer, the Mercury News. Let us not forget that Jeff Rosen was a political unknown until his name was floated—replete with glowing trimmings, by Scott Herhold, as a potential replacement for DA Carr. His campaign was the Mercury’s from the start. The paper planted the Rosen seed, fertilized it generously with good ink, and buried the competition with journalistic manure, all the while protecting its precious plant from detrimental elements (including one previously uncovered in its own ‘Tainted Justice’ series).

    The newspaper showed its commitment to the democratic process by duping voters into believing that what had stood in the way of justice for the DeAnza party victim was Delores Carr’s hard heart and poor judgment, when the truth of the matter—from the onset up to and including the latest review of the case—was that there was never a prosecutable case to be had. Simply put, the Mercury didn’t want Carr reelected, didn’t like the chances of its aging in-house nag (Karyn Sinunu), and couldn’t risk allowing Carr to run on her actual record. So the bastards ran a disinformation campaign, unfairly tarnished the reputation of a decent public servant, and got their boy elected to office.

    And they are not about to let him forget it.

    • Carr sank her own ship. She compromised the Vahid Hosseini murder investigation by allowing her husband to act as a paid consultant for the family. As a result the prosecution had to be turned over to the State. She cast herself in a horrible light by her actions toward Judge Andrea Bryan when she disagreed with the courts rulings, rulings which had been upheld by appellate courts.

      Perhaps your beef is really with the political leanings of DA Rosen. He was elected by a majority of the electorate and if they find his leadership lacking they can certainly turn him out of office when he comes up for reelection. I don’t care for Webby and his inept and biased reporting of the San Jose police department. What kind of job will he do for the DA’s Office? Don’t know but we will find out soon enough. If Rosen made a bad decision, then it will certainly come to light as Webby performs his duties.

  6. Did the black banner just appear in the last 5 minutes?

    Glad to see SJI supporting the blackout movement.  Any chance we’ll see the same on the other SanJose.com domains?


  7. People can not say enough negative about Webby’s behavior – raw ambition without ethics   Now Webby get rewarded with new job at liberals and mercury’s minder at highly political DA office  

    Disgusted with Webby, Mercury News and his liberal friends who will do anything to promote their liberal political agenda

  8. Mercury has won the political battle over access to DA’s and San Jose PD’‘s Public Records Got their DA in office and

    Mercury now has one of their own on DA’s Staff to watch over Roven, past direction, er “suggestions” to DA and have Webby go through DA’s files for Mercury  

    No need to do a public records request when you have Webby on DA’s staff  

    Who is Mercury’s mole on San Jose Police Department staff that passes information to Mercury other than IPA Cordell and CM Figone ? 

    Maybe Cordell and Figone are all Mercury meeds to have keys to police records files since Moore does what Figone says without question or objections just like her Fire Chief and any city management that wants to have their city jobs next week

    Mercury gets what they wanted – Davis and Carr punished who block access and unlimited public records access

  9. Really ? this is the best you could do ?? you would be better off hiring a 5th grader at least then it would be honest and unbiased!

  10. Bill,

    The Mercury News selected Rosen to be the next DA long before John Carr’s ego-clouded judgment ever became an issue in that race, not that that scandal, nor the DA’s actions against a sitting judge (of interest to insiders only), were anywhere near as damaging to Carr’s campaign as was the much-ado-about-nothing DeAnza case. The DeAnza case was turned into a public bonfire and fed with a frenzy, even after the DA’s decision was validated by the Attorney General’s office. It was a brute force campaign, the likes of which are seldom scene locally. Had the DeAnza case been reported professionally Carr would still be in office.

    As for “my beef” I think I made it pretty clear: the unelected, arrogant asses at the newspaper, not the misled electorate, put Rosen in office, and I find that intolerable, specially since I expect Rosen to cooperate with the Mercury’s circulation needs the first chance he gets to open a grand jury hearing and allow the local savages a chance to play out their moronic street theater (you might remember that Councilman Liccardo, another Mercury suckling, was so eager to give the paper an open hearing that he called for one on a brutality case not even slated for the grand jury). The newspaper’s influence at the DA’s office is all but guaranteed to interfere with the objectivity we expect from that office, and that interference will likely bring real harm to a police officer (or other politically-acceptable victim).

  11. If Webby’s weak, short-lived reaction to being tased is normal, it’s little wonder it has no effect on guys high on meth.

    Or perhaps they turned the juice WAY down.

    • JMO,
      I guess Webby is still alive and well after being tased, so he showed us that all his stories on people being tased and dying is just plain old BS.

  12. Didn’t rupert say they found they could control elections with the media they could influence votes !  big power so Rosen just bought a bit of leverage now he will get is face in the paper he is buying mileage.  Look how many stories chuck Reed gets in the paper wonder who he pays. Oh wait that name is he who should no be named !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. I am Sean Webby’s mother, also a former journalist. You are an idiotic person, spouting garbage against a truly thoughtful, moral and non-judgmental reporter. You clearly have no idea of the incredible hard work that goes into investigative journalism and the courage involved in routing out injustice no matter how powerful or vengeful the people involved may be.

    In taking this position, Sean can make the DA’s office more transparent and open to public scrutiny, something every public official should aim for.

    Both as a mother and as a citizen, I expect an apology. Loey Montagne

    • Your dear son is a public figure whose body of “investigative journalism” is seen as sensationally biased, uninformed, laden with mischaracterisation of facts and very vindictive.

      ALL of the aforementioned are qualities that should not be anywhere near a District Attorney’s office under any circumstance. Webby took the brand of yellow journalism that the MercuryNews was known for to new lows.

      We are worse for it and so too will the DA’s office be.

  14. If he is that courageous, does he really need his mother as a defender?  The courageous also take unpopular positions when it is dangerous but right to do so.  They don’t blindly take the party line and participate in the ‘you scratched my back so now i scratch yours’ politics that is taking place between Rosen and the Merc right now.  Webby is a political hack, not a voice crying in the wilderness.