More media malpractice

Nov. 17, 2012

Katy Grimes: One of the worst editorials I’ve ever read was in today’s Sacramento Bee.

Throughout the presidential campaign, the factually-challenged Bee editorial board claimed that Mitt Romney didn’t have his facts straight, and called him a flip-flopper. They ran a political campaign fact check series, and usually found GOP supported candidates were either liars, or they just hammered Republicans and Republican-supported issues with partisan fact checking.

Media all across the country actively helped the President win, and in California, the Bee and other traditionally liberal newspapers greatly helped usher in the new tax increases, and helped labor unions maintain the stranglehold on the state.

Saturday, the editorial board committed a new, more egregious piece of media malpractice with “Will Democrats squander their majority?”

“California politicians are feeling flush, thanks to voters who approved $7 billion a year in new taxes on Nov. 6 and gave Democrats supermajorities in the Legislature,” the editors wrote. “That heady feeling is perfectly understandable after a decade of budget crises and gridlock.”

But they got it wrong. Thanks to the Bee editorial board, it’s California politicians who are feeling flush.

Where was the Bee editorial board when they should have been questioning this Legislature, instead when they endorsed all of the tax increases?  They never asked how or if politicians would be restrained with this new influx of money in the editorials they penned.  Instead, this editorial board trash-talked the rest of the voters who dared to oppose the tax increases in Props. 30, 38 and 39, as well as those who tried to usher out union dominance with Prop. 32.

Now that the election is over, and Democrats and unions got everything they wanted, the Bee is wagging a finger at Democrat leadership about using restraint.

And nowhere in the editorial do they broach the idea that the new tax windfall should be spent on, or returned to the taxpayer.

Fawning over pols

“Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Speaker John A. Pérez see big needs,” the Bee editors wrote. “Steinberg has spent his time as Senate leader presiding over cuts to programs he values, not the least of which is mental health care. Pérez has had legacy visions of offering what he calls “middle-class scholarships” to eligible college students. They know what once was, and hope to make it reappear.”

Someone hand me a barf bag. Perez and Steinberg, who both hail from labor unions, are hardly statesmen. Both are heavy spenders, despite their claims that they are program cutters.

“Not long ago, legislators would give schools sufficient money to hold class sizes at 20 students. It’d be great to return to that level,” the editorial board said.  But the Bee neglected to note that even with the much lauded class size reductions, test scores dropped even lower, leaving California public schools at the bottom of the 50 states.

“Don’t forget state workers. They could use a little more money,” the Bee’s editors added. While we’re add it, why don’t we give state workers raises and benefit increases? While the private sector has taken a hit that state workers only dream of in nightmares, public sector employees have been largely static. And usually the “jobs” the government claims to be cutting are “approved positions,” not yet filled.

“There are plenty of reasonable ways to spend money that, over time, will flow to Sacramento,” the editorial board said. Neglecting to address that many taxpayers and business owners are already making plans to leave the state, and take their tax dollars to states with lower taxes, and less putative, business-killing regulations, the Bee ignored that people vote with their wallets.

Rather than using the Prop. 30 tax increase revenue to help close the spending gap in schools and the general fund, Dems will undoubtedly treat it as “new revenue,” and will spend it.

Where was the Bee during the entire Prop. 30, 38 and 39 campaigns? They endorsed tax increases with nary a finger wave or warning.

The McClatchy newspapers, and the Sacramento Bee, the “newspaper of record” for the state Capitol, probably kill more decent stories than they print. The editorial board has thoroughly discredited itself once again with their pandering to the party in charge.

Journalist Robert Novak warned journalists about getting too enamored of invitations to political cocktail parties and fundraisers. Having a seat at the table is clearly more important to this editorial board than being the watchdog of record for the voters.

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