Alameda County District Attorney under Attack: One Journalist Critiques Other Bay Area Media for ‘Thirst for the Recall of Alameda County DA Pamela Price’

Pamela Price at a press conference in September 2021, photo by David Greenwald

By Michael Apfel 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Pamela Price, a civil rights lawyer who defeated former Assistant District Attorney Terry Wiley 53 percent to 47 percent, made history last November when she became the first Black person to hold the Alameda County DA position.

Now, Price is now facing heightened criticism by some in the news media for acting within the progressive platforms she ran on—but at least one journalist is challenging others in the news media, calling them disingenuous.

Christine Ni and the NBC Bay Area Staff published a story Wednesday highlighting the most recent controversy involving the Alameda County DA.

The story, “​​Alameda County DA Pamela Price Speaks Out Amid Recent Criticism,” interviewed Price following reports the families and friends of recent homicide victims believed the District Attorney may lessen charges of the accused.

Price pushed back against these reports, suggesting the genuine concerns of the victim’s friends and family may be misdirected.

“They have been misled by people who have a racist agenda,” Price said addressing the death of 23-month-old boy Jasper Wu. “They have attacked me as a Black woman, who have created this narrative that somehow because I’m Black, I’m not going to prosecute people who killed someone of Asian descent. That is a lie.”

The district attorney explains her policies have remained consistent with the desires of her constituency.

“I won because people did not trust this office. We’re here because this community did not trust this office, and for good reason. This office has a long history of overcriminalization of young people, overcriminalization Black and brown youth,” said Price.

“My predecessor fought and campaigned against criminal justice reform for the last ten years. She was a vocal opponent of every law that has passed, overwhelmingly that Alameda County expects me to do and elected me to do are going to be done,” Price added.

Price has not seen a shortage in staunch critics.

Dan Noyes, chief investigative reporter for the ABC7 News, has remained persistent in his coverage of Price, with five of his nine most recent articles covering her.

Tuesday, Noyes reposted an article of his interview of a former Alameda County District Attorney who strongly opposed Price, tweeting, “The CHP now tells me the 880 shooting on Saturday that killed five year old Eliyanah will be handled by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. They have not named any suspects yet. Remember DA Pam Price’s position on charging and enhancements.”

Noyes’s Twitter presence and coverage of Price received mixed feedback from the public.

An editor from the SFGate took a notably strong opposition to Noyes’s coverage.

Journalist Alex Shultz published his article “​​Bay Area media members thirst for the recall of Alameda County DA Pamela Price,” in which he outlines what he believes is a partisan effort to oust Price from her seat.

“With some exceptions, I think journalists can be effective at their jobs regardless of their political persuasions, as long as they’re transparent and show their work,” said Shultz.

Shultz added, “I’m a leftist; my politics of course instruct my worldview. I believe journalism is supposed to be for centering the voices and stories of the most vulnerable among us. At its purest, it’s an essential tool to combat the propagandized narratives of powerful interests and institutions… you know exactly where I stand and what my aims are with this piece.

“The same cannot be said for ABC7 reporter Dan Noyes, who, as far as I can tell, would bristle at the idea of publicly admitting to his political ideologies, including on issues like criminal justice. But his editorial choices, and his sources list, speak for themselves,” Shultz said.

Shultz writes about his concern with some journalists opposed to progressive district attorneys publishing incomplete or biased articles in order to push personal agendas.

“Their routine is tiring,” said Shultz. “No need to overthink it: Pamela Price is a progressive district attorney, and some media members don’t like that. Those media members have responded with fear-mongering over following the facts. Worst of all, what they’re doing may very well work.”

Price’s opponents are already reaping the harvest of the critical media coverage.

A change.org petition to recall the district attorney has already amassed more than 13,000 signatures, just shy of the creator’s 15,000 signature goal. The petition links to articles allegedly justifying the recall, two of which link to articles written by Noyes. Though the petition itself does not trigger a recall election, it indicates an increased public opposition to Price.

Noyes has Tweeted the change.org petition, his Tweet receiving over 94,000 views, though he has clarified he does not publicly support it, noting, “(The Tweet) is not promoting. It’s reporting that 10,000 people have signed a petition. Just a fact.”

ABC7 reporter Dion Lim covered the broader recall effort last Monday. Lim was another journalist Shultz implicated in his criticisms against Bay Area media.

Price’s supporters maintain their support for her continued service. Shultz’s article included testimonies of former incarcerated people, expressing their support for progressive DA actions.

“There’s a lot of people that got caught up in the system,” said Robert Hernandez, who served a 16-year prison sentence. “So, so, so many people that are just broken down and hurt and trying to find a way out. Now they got the DA that’s willing to give them a chance, at least hear them.”

Shultz’s article ends on a critical note, making one final call-out against what he terms inaccurate, anti-progressive journalism.

“The journalists who are ideologically opposed to progressive district attorneys? There’s no transparency to be had. They’ll continue releasing selective tidbits about high-profile cases, ignoring inconvenient truths about those cases and the criminal justice system at large, and then they’ll anoint themselves martyrs when they’re critiqued for their nakedly pro-incarceration framing,” Shultz said.

About The Author

Michael Apfel is a second year at USC majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Sports Media Industries. He plans on law school after his undergraduate studies looking to work in social justice.

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2 Comments

  1. Jeff Shaw

    I would add- the SFGate piece referred to in this article has been pretty heavily criticized by other journalists.    It was written by a sports writer for SF Chronicle who is now a “Local Editor” for SFgate.

    Carla Marinucci, Politico CA and former SF Chronicle senior political writer, wrote:  “The @SFGate piece was an embarrassment to journalism — criticizing reporters for actually covering the news”    

    Joe Mullin, writer at Electronic Frontier Foundation, written for arstechnica and @AmericanLawyer wrote:  “Quoting sources who are critical of elected officials, inc. anonymous sources, is basic public service journalism. I’m glad to see @Berkeleyscanner doing it, and very dismayed to see the attacks against the press. @PPriceCares, who I voted for, has completely lost my support.”

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