Gov. Brown calls CBS reporter ‘thug’

Gov. Brown calls CBS reporter ‘thug’

Oct. 30, 2012

Katy Grimes: UPDATE: Since I wrote about Gov. Jerry Brown’s awkward confrontational moment with a Los Angeles reporter last week, I expected to see the story all over the news. When a governor behaves badly in public, it’s usually news. But there has been a virtual news blackout on this story.

The original story was broadcast on a Friday evening, when all bad news about government is released. Government officials figure that the bad news will die over the weekend.

This is just too weird to let fade away. Brown’s aggressive and confrontational style with the reporter is bizarre. It is how a government official behaves when caught by the media who usually give him a pass. Brown is dumbfounded, then angry.

Here is the video. The story is below.

Gov. Jerry Brown reacted very badly last week when confronted by a CBS 2 Los Angeles reporter who discovered state employees using expensive rental trucks while on the clock.

CBS 2 Reporter David Goldstein asked Brown why he would not look at the video the news station had taken of Caltrans employees using dozens of $30,000 rental trucks for personal use.

Brown got close to Goldstein’s face, pointed his finger at him and accused Goldstein of withholding the tape. Then Brown grabbed Goldstein’s phone, and said, “this guy is like a thug.”

The CBS2 Los Angeles investigation found numerous Caltrans employees using rented trucks, paid by taxpayers, for personal use including shopping at Costco, Home Depot and for liquor store runs. And these same employees took the trucks home.

Goldstein confronted Brown and only asked why the governor would not look at the video. Brown turned on Goldstein. “Sir, you’ve concealed a tape,” Brown said. “Why won’t you show it to us?”

Then Brown reached around Goldstein and grabbed his cell phone from his hands.

It was really weird.

On CBS 13 in Sacramento, the story got even stranger. Channel 13 followed up the CBS 2 story with another brief segment showing Brown telling reporters after the confrontation, “I think jumping in your face at the funeral of Mervyn Dymally and only wanting to know about something that’s in his cellphone that he forces me to look at while he puts a camera in my face and a microphone, I don’t think that is the civility and the gentility that I expect from the old CBS network.”

However, CBS 13 anchors Sam Shane and Shannon Brineas reported that the incident with Brown took place two days after Dymally’s funeral.


CBS 13 video 

What is going on? Caltrans employees still ripping off taxpayers is bad enough.  But with the governor’s office and Caltrans refusing to address the CBS investigation is deplorable. Far too many state agencies refuse to return press phone calls and media inquiries, if it’s about an issue they don’t want to address.

And for Gov. Brown to try to turn the tables on the reporter was either a really bad PR strategy, or just bizarre behavior.

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