Newsom’s Exit From Governor’s Race Brings Clarity

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But Attorney General Brown’s Misstep Should Bring Pause –

The polls had consistency shown that Former Governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown was the odds on favorite to the win the Democratic nomination for the Governorship in 2010.  In fact, not only is he odds on favorite to win the nomination, he holds a commanding lead over either of his would-be Republican challengers. 

That he has not formally declared for the race is a mere formality.  San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom brought those factors into play when he finally did what he had been rumored to do for weeks–drop out of the race.

In a statement Gavin Newsom cited family concerns:

“It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the race for governor of California,” Newsom said in a statement. “With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to – and should be – done.

“This is not an easy decision. But it is one made with the best intentions for my wife, my daughter, the residents of the city and county of San Francisco, and California Democrats.”

Jerry Brown was magnanimous and praising of his would-have-been rival in a written statement:

“Mayor Newsom is a talented public official and I believe he has a bright future. I am sure this was not an easy decision. Anne and I wish Gavin and his family all the best.”

The reality is that Gavin Newsom never stood a chance in this race.  He had huge disadvantages in both fundraising and the polls.  In addition, he was quite simply a difficult figure to elect with his outspoken and often brazen support for Gay Marriage, his defender of the rights of illegal immigrants, and numerous personal foibles including infidelity and alcohol.  Much of that might have played well in his base in San Francisco, but in the more conservative parts of the state, they would have been his death-knell.

Jerry Brown continues an extraordinary resurrection of his political career that has taken many twists and turns.  The son of the popular Governor Pat Brown, he became Governor himself in 1976.  It was his appointees to the Supreme Court that became a lightning rod for a conservative revolt that saw Chief Justice Rose Bird in additional to local resident and law professor Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin removed in part due to the overturning of the death penalty and the anti-Bird crusade launched by conservatives.  During Brown’s tenure as Governor we also saw the taxpayers revolt that culminated in Proposition 13.

Following his tenure as Governor, Brown would run for the Senate in 1982 but lost to Republican San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson, who would later become Governor himself.  Then began a strange career for a strange man.  In 1992 he ran for President, the third time he had done so, taking a reformist and populist message, he took only $100 donations and made a valiant but ill-fated run against Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.  He would later drop out of the Democratic Party and registered as a Decline to State. 

He then ran for Mayor in Oakland in 1998 and won, serving two terms.  However, after being a reformist and a perceived staunch liberal, his tenure as Mayor marked a return to the center.  In 2000, he re-registered as Democrat after having left the party because it no longer stood up for progressive values.

In 2006, he continued his comeback by easily winning the Attorney General position.  Now Jerry Brown is running a centrist campaign for Governor garnering the support of big-money, developers, and law enforcement as he has amassed a huge war chest.  Once he had run for President on $100 donations and decrying special interests and PACs, now he’s soaking them up.

While it was mostly a good week for Brown, there has been a bit of ugly news as the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Friday that:

“A spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown acknowledged Thursday that he taped a phone conversation with a reporter for The Chronicle this week without disclosing the fact or asking permission – and admitted he has taped conversations with other news reporters.

Scott Gerber, spokesman for Brown’s office, made the admission after the publication of a story in the newspaper that detailed consumer activist Harvey Rosenfield’s criticisms of revisions the attorney general made to the summary of a ballot measure that deals with car insurance rates.

California Penal Code Section 632 prohibits the recording of private telephone conversations without consent, and the state is one of 12 states that require notification of all parties prior to taping.”

In a statement to the Chronicle, Chief Deputy Attorney General Jim Humes said:

“In the future, Mr. Gerber will not tape any conversation unless all parties agree.”

The Chronicle went on to quote David Greene, executive director of the First Amendment Project in Oakland who said:

Brown’s office “could make a decent argument that that’s not a confidential communication and (the reporter) didn’t have reasonable expectation of privacy.”

But Greene said the action raises a question of whether it is a “spooky government thing to do. I can’t think of any reason why they would record surreptitiously. … There’s a gotcha quality to it.”

According to the article, the recorded conversation came to light after a political writer contacted Mr. Gerber for a response to criticisms from Harvey Rosenfield.

The secretly recorded conversation came to light after Chronicle senior political writer Carla Marinucci contacted Gerber Wednesday for his response to Rosenfield’s criticisms.

She sought comments from the attorney general’s office on allegations from Rosenfield, the founder of ConsumerWatchdog.org, who charged that Brown made changes in the ballot measure’s summary because had caved in to pressure from the Mercury General insurance firm. The company gave $13,000 to Brown’s campaign in June.

Rosenfield said Brown’s revision omitted the possibility that the measure would increase insurance rates for some Californians.

Gerber called Marinucci and said the summary was a fair reflection of changes that the initiative’s sponsors, a coalition of consumer and insurance groups, made to the initiative’s wording. He told her that Humes, and Jonathan Renner, a senior assistant attorney general for government law, were on the line to address her questions.

When the story was published on The Chronicle’s Web site, SFGate.com, Wednesday evening, Gerber contacted an editor at the paper and said Humes’ comments were not fairly reflected in the article. He e-mailed the editor a transcript of the conversation between him, Marinucci and the two attorneys.

Marinucci called Gerber Thursday and asked whether he had taped their conversation. “I did,” he said.

Asked why he believed such an action was appropriate, Gerber responded, “To me, it’s useful to have a record.”

“I think that’s all I should say right now,” he added.

For someone raised in the 1980s who might be familiar with the San Francisco Punk band the Dead Kennedys, the story is startling reminiscent of the song, “California Uber Alles,” a song that mocks the ambition of Jerry Brown by comparing his Governor’s Administration to the fascist Germany.

Mr. Gerber also acknowledged that it is a routine operation and defended it by the fact that reporters routinely record his conversations.  However, one thing I know as a reporter is that the first thing you do is ask for permission which is not only the law but would seem to be common courtesy.  Moreover, it would seem if the AG’s office would merely ask for permission from the reporters, it would be granted it.

The bottom line is this, as David Greene said it is probably not confidential communications, but it is spooky for the Government, particularly the Attorney General’s office that is the chief law enforcement body in the state to record conversation.  Moreover, they have a responsibility of not only enforcing the law, but upholding it in their own actions and from that standpoint this is a huge failure on their part. 

My sense is that this story will wash over and Brown was actually greatly helped by the timing of Gavin Newsom’s announcement which put that story rather than his own errors front and center.  Moreover, the fact that the story came out on Friday before Halloween also helps Brown here.

Nevertheless, this is a very disturbing story from my perspective and a pattern that should be watched–whether this man, AG Jerry Brown believes he and his office are above the law.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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26 Comments

  1. Don Shor

    Although I cast my first vote ever as a registered voter for Jerry Brown in 1974, I do wish there were still Republicans in California in the moderate/progressive mold of his opponent, Houston Flournoy. I also think Flournoy delivered one of the great one-liners of all time when he said he lost because people though he was “some guy from Houston who wanted to put Flournoy in the water.”

  2. Rich Rifkin

    I do wish there were still Republicans in California in the moderate/progressive mold of his opponent ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houston_I._Flournoy[/url])[quote][/quote] Does Tom Campbell ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Campbell_(California_politician)[/url]) qualify? Or what about this moderate California Republican ([url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schwarzenegger[/url])?

  3. Greg Kuperberg

    Of all major Democratic politicians who have ever been remotely moderate, I trust Jerry Brown among the least. He’s better than someone like Dennis Kucinich, but that’s about it. His outlook is based much more on sentiment and public relations than on knowledge or calculations. I suppose that I can trust him on easy, non-quantitative issues, such as the death penalty or gay rights. Unfortunately, the state government’s serious problems are largely mathematical. Brown’s outlook on such matters is almost anti-intellectual. He also had anti-intellectual things to say about UC when he was governor.

    As a matter of qualifications and character, I’d be much happier with Tom Campbell. Unfortunately, any Republican would have to quite a bit of ideological baggage. Campbell has to say something to the fanatics in his party or he won’t get nominated.

    On the other hand, none of this might matter all that much. Since the bottom line of the proposition system is that representative democracy can’t be trusted anyway, who cares who ends up as governor?

    On that note, here is yet another example of just how unhelpful that system is. Just a few years ago, Californians passed Proposition 71, which gives $400 million a year or so to UC for stem cell research. The idea was for California to send a message to Bush, who opposed embryonic stem research. I agree that Bush was completely wrong about that, and I agree that it was great to send him a message. Just not that message. It was way more money than UC needed for this purpose.

    $400 million a year is roughly half of the entire UC budget shortfall. While people slam UC for its lack of commitment to education, the voters still impose a special commitment to stem cell research. It would be great if someone could shift a big chunk of the stem money to the UC general fund, but no one can do that. Because with Prop 71, the people have spoken. They just might not know what they said wrong.

  4. wdf1

    “$400 million a year is roughly half of the entire UC budget shortfall. While people slam UC for its lack of commitment to education, the voters still impose a special commitment to stem cell research. It would be great if someone could shift a big chunk of the stem money to the UC general fund, but no one can do that. Because with Prop 71, the people have spoken. They just might not know what they said wrong.”

    Thanks for raising that point, Greg.

  5. Frankly

    On the other hand, none of this might matter all that much. Since the bottom line of the proposition system is that representative democracy can’t be trusted anyway, who cares who ends up as governor?

    Good point Greg, although Gray Davis sure made a mess of things. Maybe the best we can elect is someone that doesn’t screw it up worse.

    Although I disagree to some extent that the CA proposition system is the primary boogieman, I see it as symptomatic of a larger issue: a biased, destructive, media propaganda machine.

    Our state political system is designed as a representative democracy, yet, a working model of democracy requires a general population with a foundation of common interest. At the national level our founders debated this ad nauseam… that the people could not be trusted to directly govern themselves as they would drift toward fractured groups of narrow-focused selfish interests. The brilliant design of our republic was intended to deal with this. The process expected, and even encouraged, debate, but then delegated decision authority to elected representatives who were in-turn held accountable by the voters.

    It worked marvelously for over two centuries, but not so much over the last 30 years since it stated to degrade. Today, at both the national level and state level, the system is broken. There are many culprits. However, the most culpable is the current press-media-entertainment industrial complex. It has become a giant, integrated, one-to-many, propaganda machine that can be manipulated to perpetrate massive influence. Imagine John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all watching CNN, Fox News, a Michael Moore film and a barrage of CTA-paid political advertisements on a large, high-definition, flat-screen, while they are twittered more propaganda on their cell phone. Might the Bill of Rights had a slightly modified First Amendment as our founders recognized the corrupting influence of this stuff?

    A danger to democracy is too many uniformed voters. A larger danger is too many brain-washed uninformed voters. For example, the state voters elected Schwarzenegger to fix the state budget, but then after being fear-hypnotized by multimillion dollar CTA “Arnold is hurting the children” ad campaign which was bolstered by a left-biased media and press, they rejected the propositions (74-77) which would have provided the governor his budget-balancing tools. From this, Schwarzenegger was effectively emasculated by the media-propaganda machine and he never really recovered.

    So, you may blame the proposition system for our budget mess from enabling all the unfunded mandates and preventing tax increases. However, I blame the media-propaganda machine and media bias for the corrupting influence that causes too many uninformed voters to vote for fractured self-interests and less for their long-term common interests. I also blame it for giving politicians like Gavin Newsom any sense that he could be elected Governor of what should be the greatest state in the greatest nation.

  6. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]However, the most culpable is the current press-media-entertainment industrial complex. It has become a giant, integrated, one-to-many, propaganda machine that can be manipulated to perpetrate massive influence. Imagine John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin all watching CNN, Fox News, a Michael Moore film and a barrage of CTA-paid political advertisements on a large, high-definition, flat-screen, while they are twittered more propaganda on their cell phone. [/quote]You do know about Maria Reynolds scandal? And you know the role Thomas Jefferson and his man James Callender played in trying to destroy Alexander Hamilton, manipulating a gullible public in order to bring down the Federalists? Our popular media may not be great, today. But it is much better today (in the sense you are talking about) than it was for most of American history.

  7. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It worked marvelously for over two centuries, but not so much over the last 30 years since it stated to degrade.[/i]

    As Rich Rifkin suggests, that is a bogus timeline. 30 years ago, people with your viewpoint said that the media worked marvelously for two centuries, but lately had degraded. 60 years ago, they said the same thing.

    Suppose that at your workplace or a PTA meeting or any other such ordinary situation, there is a faction that complains all the time about bias. Then as a matter of simple common sense, which ones are the most biased people in the room, probably? Is it usually the people who keep accusing everyone else of bias; or is it usually the people that they accuse?

    Anyway, to the extent that the media needs improvement — I can certainly think of ways that it does — it’s the same problem in all 50 states. So this tangent completely misses why California’s state budget is a travesty even compared to the other 49 states.

  8. Frankly

    Rich, the influence of the general public through propaganda mechanisms for political purpose is as old as there have been forms of governance where it mattered. However, comparing this past to our present form of political media malice is almost laughable.

    It has always been interesting to me that Hamilton and Adams’ views most matched modern Republican views, and Jefferson those of a modern liberal Democrat… up to his love of all things French and his dislike of organized religion. Yet, Jefferson was more sophisticated for his time in his use of the press and his letters demonstrated a sort of obsession with public opinion. In some respects the national Democrat party has just caught up with Jefferson.

    But back to my point… there are three profound differences:

    – Reach
    – Intensity
    – Media working together to achieve a political result through active participation or smug indifference.

    Try this little test…

    Read the big papers, and watch the network news and tell my how many times the words “right-wing” and “conservative” are used compared the the words “left-wing” and “liberal”. Journalist, media talking heads and entertainers don’t typical use the left-side identifiers because to them this is the normal state which matches their worldview. This difference is very noticeable to people like myself with a more right-side worldview… and it is just one of many indications of the existence of the liberal bias that you mostly deny.

    Media and the press work for Democracy when journalists are pessimistic animals and question everything. But, today there is a severe lack of objectivity and balance in the media and press sound bites that serve as voter information. It is left-biased by design or by negligence. An uninformed voting population that has been brain-washed by these sound bites becomes an engine of destruction for the entire system.

  9. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]This difference is very noticeable to people like myself with a more right-side worldview[/i]

    I’m not surprised, Jeff. The way you talk about it, accusations of media bias [b]are[/b] your worldview.

  10. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]It has always been interesting to me that Hamilton and Adams’ views most matched modern Republican views, and Jefferson those of a modern liberal Democrat… up to his love of all things French and his dislike of organized religion. Yet, Jefferson was more sophisticated for his time in his use of the press and his letters demonstrated a sort of obsession with public opinion. In some respects the national Democrat party has just caught up with Jefferson. [/quote] I disagree with your distinction between the progenitors. The heirs of Jeffersonianism are the Libertarians, not the Democrats. (Of course, Jefferson the theorist, propagandist and behind the scenes manipulator don’t equate with the more pragmatic Jefferson the president in the most important resprect*. I don’t share Teddy Roosevelt’s view that Jefferson was as horrible a president** as he was a human being.) The post-1932 Democrats and Republicans (outside of the rare bird like Ron Paul) are all Hamiltonians.

    *The most important thing Jefferson did as president was buy the Louisiana Territory. There is not a shadow of a doubt that Jefferson the radical agrarian theorist would have opposed that purchase as an infringement upon human liberty had he himself not been in the White House.

    **Teddy’s hatred of Jefferson, much described in Roosevelt’s histories of the U.S. Navy, grew out of Jefferson’s nonsensical destruction of our Navy, which Roosevelt believed was the reason we got whipped so badly in the early part of the War of 1812 (which broke out 3 years after Jefferson left the White House) and lasted until the Spring of 1815.

    FWIW, I don’t think Roosevelt ever commented on the human failings of Jefferson. But far more than any of our other founders, Jefferson deserves serious rebuke on that score. I am not talking about the fact that he was a slave owner (or a slave sexer). Every wealthy Southerner of his day owned slaves; and slavery by his time was an old institution, not something unique for its sh*ttiness. I am talking about Jefferson’s disreputable behavior as governor of Virginia and his furtive infidelity as Secretary of State and Vice President.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    [quote]This difference is very noticeable to people like myself with a more right-side worldview… [/quote] With all due respect, I think Greg has it exactly right: Your perception of media bias is due to your own biases, not anyone else’s.

  12. Frankly

    You know, this attitude and the same from Rich are indicative of the exact problem… It basically says that I, like most people with a right-leaning worldview, am making it up. Or I am too blinded by my own dogma to even know what bias is.

    Well, I’m old enough to know that the press and the media have changed a great deal over the last thirty years. Back then, a good conservative could pick up a paper, or watch the network news or a talk show, and maintain his/her blood pressure. I expect you and others on the left would be screaming bloody murder with those historical standards of journalism an entertainment applied today. Or at least you would feel similar to how I feel when I read the Times, Chronicle, Post, Bee or watch network news, MSNBC, CNN, Letterman or Jon Stewart.

    Here are two recent local Enterprise examples:

    – Derrick Bang’s “Broken Hearts” piece with its front-end tirade over Bush, “shrilly hysterical right-wing blowhards” and bad, bad business – when he was/is supposed to be writing pieces critical of MOVIES (in this case “Capitalism, a Love Story” by top-liberal propaganda maker Michael Moore). Bang writes: “I keep wondering: When will we, as a nation, finally come to our senses and recognize that the increasing corporate hammerlock under which we now serve, much like feudal serfs, has got to stop? “. He then writes: “The poor [Moore, the multimillionaire] guy must feel like Sisyphus, forever rolling the boulder up the hillside, hoping each time that some of us will come along and shoulder part of the load.” At least Derrick puts it out there instead of feigning objectivity and balance like most of his peers. Good job telling us how you really feel Derrick! Okay Rich, what pass do we give Derrick? Or, is this just one article that doesn’t represent all the noble journalists doing Gods’ good work? I’m guessing you will defend this as appropriate for a movie critic’s piece of a Michael Moore movie against capitalism… thereby proving my point.

    -An Op Ed cartoon from the always hilarious Oliphant depicting Rush Limbaugh as a racist slave trader quote “Well I’ve talked about blacks so much in the past, I just thought I’d like to own some”… with six black St. Louis Rams football players on an auction stand. Again, Oliphant puts it out there. I just wonder what conservative political cartoonist could survive labeling a popular liberal entertainer as a racist slave trader. Last time I checked, the Democrats were in full power and control of the national government. If Oliphant is a political cartoonist, why then doesn’t he focus on Democrat-irritating snark? Again, what about this? For the life of me, I can’t think of a comparison (e.g., Oliphant publishing a cartoon depicting Al Franken or George Soros as a Nazi during W’s first year in office.)

  13. Frankly

    Dan Rather – who ironically lost his job with CBS News because of the W-smearing, left-biased, fake letter story – is now on the warpath against media bias. See here: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/seton-motley/2008/10/21/mrc-nbs-bozell-comments-dan-rathers-accurate-citing-media-bias
    Ironic #2: In his book “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News”, Bernie Goldberg trashes Rather as one of many CBS News execs fond of denying the problem. Now Rather agrees with Goldberg. Of course now that Dan is a main-scream media outsider the old guard has developed a fondness inferring that he is a liar and stupid. I’m sure we will soon see a new Oliphant cartoon with Rather as the target… or Derrick Bang will release his tirade on Dan after Michael Moore does a new “Rather or Not” hit-piece movie.

    Compared to these two examples, liberal media bias is usually more concealed and indistinguishable to the unwary and uninformed. It certainly does not get ratted out by left-leaning benefactors made to feel all warm and fuzzy (I guess Dan Rather lost his media sweater). For the rest of us, the identification that something isn’t right (or “right”) starts with the recognition that less resonates. We discover less that causes us to nod in agreement, and much more that causes us to wrinkle our foreheads in disbelief, or slam our fist in anger. It is generally not a single article, but the entire paper or the coverage of a story over a period of time. A single news story like Rather’s fake letter attack piece on W may raise our ire, but generally our sense of “yuk” develops from the consistency of bias displayed.

    What stories are reported and what is not reported? What is the story placement? What is the tilt: for or against? What is questioned? Which candidate’s opinions are challenged? Which party’s politicians or policies are given hardball or softball questions, and how does this correlate with the current political climate? What language is used or not used? What non-verbal and paralanguage cues emit from network news talking heads? What influential entertainers are getting air time for their political views, and is there a balance?

    I don’t believe in conspiracies here. First, I believe that we have experienced a great social-ideological filtering of left-leaning people to the profession of journalism and entertainment. If 80% of newsrooms are left-leaning, then the news will tilt left because not enough journalists and editors even understand what the other view is. Next comes: blindness, laziness, cost-cutting, and smug indifference toward the issue. Entertainers spouting political opinion is an entire other matter related to media bias. Unfortunately the largely vocal left-leaners significantly outnumber the largely silent right-leaners.

    There are two related rules on the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:

    — Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

    — Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

    A recent Pew Research study “Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low” http://people-press.org/report/543/ , along with showing a greater partisan divide it shows The public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades. Maybe this is a key… if there is less accuracy then there must be less digging for the truth. Certainly this hasn’t caused a reduction in content… we have more reporting than ever (traditional and new media). So journalists and editors must be making a lot of stuff up these days. They must be relying on their own personal sense of story… filling in the blanks with opinion that used to be reserved for real quotes and facts. Maybe this is the reason for the media bias some apparently cannot see.

  14. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It basically says that I, like most people with a right-leaning worldview, am making it up.[/i]

    It is true that the main newspapers in America don’t cater to your worldview. (With the possible exception of the New York Post.) You’re certainly not making that up.

    [i]Back then, a good conservative could pick up a paper, or watch the network news or a talk show, and maintain his/her blood pressure.[/i]

    That is totally wrong. Conservatives were furious at what the media did to Joe McCarthy, at what the media did to the Vietnam War, and at what the media did to Richard Nixon. On that old show, All in the Family, the stereotypical conservative Archie Bunker regularly razzed Walter Cronkite. Newsrooms have been left-leaning for at least 60 years, if not for 100 years. If anything, they have at various times been further to the left than they are now.

    There was one big change in recent times. After Fox News started in 1996, conservatives ramped up their anger over media bias at the other TV channels.

    [i]Or at least you would feel similar to how I feel when I read the Times, Chronicle, Post, Bee or watch network news, MSNBC, CNN, Letterman or Jon Stewart.[/i]

    So don’t read those papers and don’t watch those shows. I’ve been pretty disgusted when I listen to Rush Limbaugh, for example. Solution: I don’t usually listen to Rush Limbaugh.

    Since you said that you are libertarian, what happened to all of us making our own choices on this? Or are you saying that every last newsroom in America makes your blood boil; you can’t even find one to your liking?

  15. Frankly

    That is totally wrong. Conservatives were furious at what the media did to Joe McCarthy, at what the media did to the Vietnam War, and at what the media did to Richard Nixon. On that old show, All in the Family, the stereotypical conservative Archie Bunker regularly razzed Walter Cronkite. Newsrooms have been left-leaning for at least 60 years, if not for 100 years. If anything, they have at various times been further to the left than they are now.

    Archie Bunker was the stereotypical conservative? Not a chance… he was a working class Kennedy Democrat. Remember when the Democrat Party represented labor and liberalism was a fringe ideology? Maybe Mr. Bunker would be a Republican today since the new Democrat party has drifted toward a Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid view of the world. Fifty years ago Joe McCarthy probably would have indicted these two as traitors, but most educated conservatives and libertarians would not support it today. Your Archie Bunker reference does give me an understanding of your view of the average conservative. It points to a problem for folks consuming only media with left-bias, how would you know any different? Maybe you should watch Fox and listen to Limbaugh to expand your understanding.

    they have at various times been further to the left than they are now.

    That is a joke, right? From a recent Gallop poll, 40% of Americans say they are conservative, while only 21% say they are liberal. The Pew Research survey shows a dramatic increased erosion of media trust across ideological lines. People are jumping to Fox News. Left-leaning Newspapers are failing while right-leaning newspapers like the Wall Street Journal are doing fine. If I understand your argument, it is that conservatives have migrated right and the main press and media has remained the same or also moved right. I think we must live in parallel universes.

    Thirty years ago Johnny Carson, other talk show hosts and most actors and entertainers did not go out of their way to promote candidates and political causes. They seemed to understand that the influence resulting from their popularity could have a distorting impact on the political process. Today that distorting influence is routinely exploited by left-leaning actors and entertainers, but not from those on the right. If you want to test that theory start listing all the right-leaning talk show hosts, actors and entertainers that are vocal for political causes. I will do the same for the left-leaners and we can compare lists.

    There was one big change in recent times. After Fox News started in 1996, conservatives ramped up their anger over media bias at the other TV channels.

    This point is fascinating to me because it completely ignores the logic in your final question about choice and infers some organized right-wing conspiracy to stamp the main media with a left-bias label. It infers that Fox brainwashed conservative folk who are either too dumb to warrant an opinion, or otherwise would see the main media as balanced if it did not exist. Remember the Gallop poll?… 40% say they are conservative and 21% say they are Liberal. The reason Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are so damn popular, is that their audience lacks other choices. I absolutely support choice, but I would prefer individual balance instead of this ideological segregation that pits a few right-leaning products against the entire main media and entertainment complex. I’m guessing that you would have no problem seeing Fox and Limbaugh go away or be muzzled with the Fairness Doctrine . Democrats in Congress want the same thing since Fox and Limbaugh stir up all those angry and dumb GOP’ers who influence all those Blue Dog Democrats and prevent our march toward more government largess.

  16. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]Archie Bunker was the stereotypical conservative? Not a chance… he was a working class Kennedy Democrat.[/i]

    You must be thinking of some other Archie Bunker. The one that I saw said this ([url]http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066626/quotes[/url]): “I told them how many people like me believe in President Nixon. God believes in him too.”

    [i]From a recent Gallop poll, 40% of Americans say they are conservative, while only 21% say they are liberal.[/i]

    If that many voters are conservative or liberal, that doesn’t really say anything one way or the other about newspapers. What I said was that newspapers are not as liberal now as they have been at times in the past. You’re not contradicting that statistic. On the contrary, if Americans in general have gotten more conservative, presumably newspapers have too.

    [i]People are jumping to Fox News. Left-leaning Newspapers are failing while right-leaning newspapers like the Wall Street Journal are doing fine.[/i]

    Here again, I said that newsrooms are getting more conservative, and you’re saying the same thing.

    [i]Thirty years ago Johnny Carson, other talk show hosts and most actors and entertainers did not go out of their way to promote candidates and political causes.[/i]

    You keep making the amazing claim that the media was impartial 30 years ago, when in reality people like you had exactly the same complaint back then. For instance, All in the Family was a blatantly political and blatantly liberal sitcom. Archie Bunker may have been a conservative, but the whole show was stacked against him; he lost almost every political argument. Carrol O’Connor, who played him was a liberal. The character played by Rob Reiner was a liberal, and Reiner is a liberal.
    Norman Lear, who created the show, is a liberal. He founded a liberal advocacy group, People for the American Way, in 1981.

    [i]This point is fascinating to me because it completely ignores the logic in your final question about choice and infers some organized right-wing conspiracy to stamp the main media with a left-bias label.[/i]

    If I tell you that I don’t like McDonald’s, that isn’t an organized conspiracy to stamp McDonald’s with anything, it’s just my opinion.

    [i]It infers that Fox brainwashed conservative folk who are either too dumb to warrant an opinion, or otherwise would see the main media as balanced if it did not exist.[/i]

    I don’t want to get into wild pejoratives about people being dumb or brainwashed. Obviously Fox News tells a lot of people what they want to hear. I think that they’re making a bad choice. But hey, it’s a free country and people can watch what they want to watch.

    But yes, Fox News has a lot to say about everyone else’s bias. It mightily persuades its audience on that point.

    [i]I absolutely support choice, but I would prefer individual balance[/i]

    Why can’t you leave me alone to decide what news I want to read, watch, and hear? Why should I cater to your sense of balance? The way you talk about the news, what’s yours is yours and what’s mine we share.

    [i]I’m guessing that you would have no problem seeing Fox and Limbaugh go away or be muzzled with the Fairness Doctrine.[/i]

    You’re lumping together two very different things with this “guess”. Sure, I would have no problem seeing Fox and Limbaugh go away, in the same sense that I would have no problem seeing McDonald’s go away. I don’t like the product. But I also don’t want anyone muzzled with any Fairness Doctrine.

  17. Frankly

    You must be thinking of some other Archie Bunker. The one that I saw said this: “I told them how many people like me believe in President Nixon. God believes in him too.”

    It was that other Archie Bunker. The one that was a Kennedy and Reagan Democrat.

    But I also don’t want anyone muzzled with any Fairness Doctrine.

    Awesome. I think I will close my zealous contribution to this topic with this one thing we can agree on!

  18. Greg Kuperberg

    [i]It was that other Archie Bunker. The one that was a Kennedy and Reagan Democrat.[/i]

    Not to prolong this too much — agreeing on one thing is better than agreeing on nothing — but you should watch this ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fqCS7Y_kME[/url]) and then then this ([url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLjNJI54GMM[/url]).

  19. Frankly

    Yes, I love both of these. Especially the rant on Democrats. This was during the Carter Admin’s energy crisis where the good Democrat Prez told us we all should wear a sweater like the one he was wearing to conserve heat.

    You did notice that in Archie’s rant he complained about conspiracy and gross corporate profits? Kinda’ doesn’t fit the profile of a typical Republican. Although he complained about Dems telling us to conserve.. that certainly fits. I will conceed defeat on this particular fact… Archie Bunker was a Republican. I will however still view him as a Kennedy and Reagan Democrat, because, shed the racism (which, btw, as written and acted was a better social dialog on the topic than allowed today under the watchful eye of the PC police), he fits the template.

  20. merixcoatl20

    Jerry Brown is going to be California’s next governor. He is a populist, always has been. Regardless of whether you don’t like him, consider him too liberal, or see him as less than an intellectual—the California climate has changed, and it fancies Jerry Brown.

    Arnold has done a bang up job, like president Bush, to destroy the reputation republicans had in California. Arnold, more of a moderate, held the crown as Republican Governor– he holds the title of breaking California to the point of bankruptcy.

    Unless I am mistaken, Jerry Brown was never a big spender. He went as far as cutting some welfare benefits.

  21. Frankly

    Arnold has done a bang up job, like president Bush, to destroy the reputation republicans had in California. Arnold, more of a moderate, held the crown as Republican Governor– he holds the title of breaking California to the point of bankruptcy.

    Intelligent folk shouldn’t drift toward blaming the prez and the gov for all the financial problems. The legislative branch is the primary culprit for the fiscal mess we find ourselves in today. Arnold has vetoed many big-spending and business-hostile pieces of legislation. Bush didn’t do it enough.

    “Arnold has done a bang up job… to destroy the reputation of republicans”?

    If your point that he wasn’t conservative enough, then I agree. Remember though how he got slapped down with props 75-77. What was his mistake trying to find an end-around to the budget problems caused by the over-spending state legislature in bed with the CTA? It didn’t work, but then somebody please tell me how else to get it done… by cooperation with Dems? Please!

    BTW, I think CA deserves to have Gov Moonbeam again. We are already a big political joke, so why not elect the top clown back to the circus.

  22. Frankly

    In the Nov 2-8 LA Business Journal:

    [quote]The owner of a Montebello waste hauler calls a state fine for diesel emission violations “extortion” and said the order to pay $250,000 has forced him to lay off six of his 40 employees.

    Key Disposal Inc. and its president, John Katangian, were initially cited by the state Air Resources Board for failing to install diesel particulate traps on its waste-hauling trucks and for failing to keep adequate records of fleet inspections.

    In a press release on the fine against Key Disposal, Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols cited the health risks of diesel exhaust. “Any business that fails to take its responsibilities seriously or attempts to take short cuts can expect to pay a high price for its actions,” the release quoted.

    Katangian told the Business Journal last week that he had ordered the diesel particulate traps but a shortage had created a huge backlog and thus a delay in receiving the traps.
    [/quote]

    [quote]“I really had no choice but to agree,” Katangian said. “The state has very broad powers. It’s tough to fight the Attorney General’s Office. It’s really a form of extortion.”

    Katangian said the up-front $250,000 payment has forced him to lay off six of his 40 employees and reduce medical benefits for the rest. “I didn’t want to do this, but I simply didn’t have the money. The state can now add the cost of unemployment and health care for these folks to its tab.”[/quote]

  23. Frankly

    [quote]A new survey of 830 small business owners across the United States by management
    consulting firm George S. May International found that 74 percent of respondents
    do not plan to increase employee headcount in the next 90 days.

    Among the respondents not hiring, 62 percent say they have no confidence in the
    economy sustaining the need for more employees, while 38 percent are simply
    replacing hours from employees cut by adding them on to existing employees`
    workloads.[/quote]

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