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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  1. larry 62
    larry 62 18 November, 2012, 09:32

    Well said Katy. I was a Sacramento Bee carrier for four plus years when I was a young boy and thought it was the greatest paper in town. At the time the Sacramento Union was still going strong and I was too young to know the difference between liberal and conservative, but now I miss having some real competition in the news business of which the Bee doesn’t do much of. It is just a mouth piece for the liberal state legislature. Now they have the audacity to think that I might pay for the privilege of reading their lousy reporting online. Not a chance.

    Reply this comment
  2. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 18 November, 2012, 10:34

    I am certain BD Johnnie middle class tuition help is smoke to have the state pay the tuition of gov’t union workers children. Just like the private sector pension money recently passed will be ever be paid to the intended current contibutors. Brown, Steinbum, and BD Johnnie, California’s protectors of the Ancien Regime.

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  3. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 18 November, 2012, 12:10

    If you want read SAC BEE articles and reach your free monthly quotient, go to the FRESNO BEE and sign in. Much SAC BEE tripe is regurgitated there.

    Reply this comment
  4. Amy Lyons
    Amy Lyons 18 November, 2012, 16:40

    Excellent. When I first read the editorial, I was incredulous. Thanks for articulating all the reasons its awful.

    Reply this comment
  5. Hondo
    Hondo 18 November, 2012, 20:56

    I hear the Washington post is doing badly. I read it in the NY times today, which is doing badly too. Craig’s list has destroyed the revenue streams of the paper newsprint. So many are drying up. And good riddance.

    Reply this comment
  6. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 18 November, 2012, 23:45

    Unfortunately I can’t read the editorial–I don’t have a free monthly quotient on the Sac Bee.

    Just because the Sac Bee does not agree with you, author, does not mean you are right–I was angry at my local editorial board for recommending, “Yes” on Prop. 32. The LA Times Business Comlumnist said, “The Pepetrators of this Iniative must think you are stupid–really stupid!” Maybe you are just one of the stupids thinking that it would have been fair to take the politcial voice away from CA’s, respective, union members while leaving the rich corporations and individual millionaires with the only political voice.

    Reply this comment
  7. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 18 November, 2012, 23:49

    Another moronic post from Sean. Government worker’s children, who are attending college, are in so special class separate from children of workers in other sectors.

    Reply this comment
  8. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 19 November, 2012, 08:19

    SeeSaw – why do you think union employees are any different than other employees? Why do they need a union speaking for them politically?

    Unions are what have caused so many jobs to go overseas, by preventing businesses to adjust financially with demand changes. And that includes being flexible with wages, as the market will allow.


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  9. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 19 November, 2012, 08:33

    Let me see Johnnie P tried to get a bill passed to give a gov t fixed payment($500k) to retired police and fire families that die from work related causes five years or more after they retire.
    Of course, the work related causes included just about anything. Who is trying to take care of with payment? Do you really think he is above taking care of the tuition of same via state “resources”?

    Reply this comment
  10. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 November, 2012, 15:26

    They are not different as human beings Katy, but by being organized in the workplace, they are able to pool their individual funds together and give the workers a collective voice–which is pretty hard to do for individuals who are not part of any organized group. Unions help the middle class and poor move up the ladder. I don’t agree with you that unions caused the jobs to go overseas–I believe the jobs went overseas so that the corporations could pile up higher profits for themselves and the shareholders–“the workers, be damned”. Making paupers out of people is certainly not a good way to encourage peoples’ wage-flexibility.

    Reply this comment
  11. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 November, 2012, 15:28

    Sometimes we agree Sean. That was a poor bill, and Governor Brown vetoed it. Democracy in action.

    Reply this comment
  12. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 November, 2012, 15:30

    Yes, Sean I do believe that there is no plan underfoot to treat the children of public workers different than the children of other worker where college tuition is concerned.

    Reply this comment
  13. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 November, 2012, 15:37

    Katy, a “Yes” on Prop. 32, would have left the corporations and rich millionaires and billionaires with the only voices politically, cutting out the working-middle and poor classes. Why would that have been fair, when, thanks to the SCOTUS, they will have total financial control of the political process, anyway?

    Reply this comment
  14. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 November, 2012, 16:18

    There were 12 people laid off at my former municipality, Katy. They were full-time workers–supervisors, police assistants, custodians, Fire Chief, et al,–some with 20 or more years of service and others with less than the five years needed for vesting. They were people who had families to support, and now they are not mentioned as though they all just disappeared in a puff of smoke. You should not generalize about this horrible subject–one that has infected hundreds of municipalities and counties throughout CA–because of the abolishment of Redevelopment.

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