Patterico's Pontifications

5/20/2009

Sacramento Bee Editors Deep-Six Haughty Editorial Criticizing Voters in Favor of One That Lays Into Those DAMN POLITICIANS!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:58 pm



This is good: Big Media editors accidentally publishing what they really think, and then whisking it away to hide the evidence . . . but not fast enough!!

We got a little glimpse into the minds of the editors at the Sacramento Bee today, when they accidentally published a draft editorial that was haughtily dismissive of the voters. Doug Ross has the whole thing at this blog post; here are some choice excerpts that convey the sneering, supercilious tone. You can label this version “What We Really Think”:

Good morning, California voters. Do you feel better, now that you’ve gotten that out of your system?

You wanted to show the state’s politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever.

. . . .

[Y]ou showed those politicians who’s in charge. You. You’re now officially in charge of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

So, now that you’ve put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it’s time to think about this: Since you’re in charge, exactly what do you intend to do about that pesky $25 billion hole in the budget?

. . . .

You’ve got until June 30 to get it all straight.

That sounds a lot like work, you say? Sorry, no whining allowed. You asked for this job. Now you’ve got it, so get on it. Oh, and remember. The entire nation is watching to see how you do now that you’re in charge.

No pressure or anything. Just thought you’d want to know.

The comments are brutal, as you might expect . . . and the editors responded by whisking away that version, and replacing it with one that directs venom primarily at those damn politicians in Sacramento. Call this version “What We Are Pretending to Think”:

Good morning, members of the California Legislature. Good morning, Governor.

Feeling bruised and abused this morning? Well, you can’t say you didn’t see it coming. . . .

You can blame the voters for reacting with uninformed and misplaced anger.

Or you can look in the mirror and admit you had it coming. And you know you did.

. . . .

[M]ake Californians feel they are getting their money’s worth from the governments they pay for.

If that sounds difficult, well, it will be. You’re starting from a deep hole, one that you’ve dug yourselves.

The first step is to stop digging. Don’t blame voters, no matter how much you may want to. Accept their verdict with good grace. Acknowledge that even if they don’t have a mastery of all the details of the state budget, their judgment about your performance is not subject to your approval.

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

An editor’s note explains:

Many of the comments below refer to an article that was posted in error. That article was a draft prepared for internal discussion among members of The Bee’s editorial board. Such discussions are a routine part of our work, and frequently lead to editorials that are considerably different from writers’ first drafts.

That’s what happened in this case. After discussion, we decided that our initial editorial about the special election should take a different tack.

Indeed. You decided to replace “What We Really Think” with “What We Are Pretending to Think.” We get it.

Really. We do.

Thanks to Jim Lakely, who has thoughts on the original screed here. His thoughts on the walkback here.

68 Responses to “Sacramento Bee Editors Deep-Six Haughty Editorial Criticizing Voters in Favor of One That Lays Into Those DAMN POLITICIANS!!!”

  1. Just beautiful! Immortalize it.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  2. What is the financial outlook for the Sacramento Bee? Are they really in a position to lecture their dwindling readership on how to overcome a budget deficit?

    aunursa (df5950)

  3. Little ignorant voters, the Sacramento Bee is not mocked!

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  4. Thanks for the link, Patterico! At least they kept the first two words of the original editorial.

    So, technically, it’s not a complete and total rewrite. HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!

    Jim Lakely (743bf6)

  5. Excellent. These brief glimmers of truth are wonderful examples of why the press is held in such low esteem by the people.

    Stickeenotes (be8d5f)

  6. FWIW-

    The hardcopy of the paper has the second, revised editorial in it. So someone engaged their brain before it went to press.

    The Bee endorsed all measures except 1B.

    MartyH (268543)

  7. Stupid people! Don’t they know who we are? Who ever gave them the right to vote anyway?

    Perfect Sense (0922fa)

  8. I was in this business for a fairly long time. And we always wanted to “speak truth to power,” as the multimillionaire and concubine John Kerry wanted us to do.

    Nonetheless, at some point I realized that “speaking truth to power” wasn’t about, well, “speaking truth to power.”

    Regular folk make this country great. They’re not stupid. We can go on and on a about who’s right or wrong, but, in the end the people will decide.

    And, you know what, I may disagree with the people decide. But, by God, it’s their (and our)decision. I still believe we have the power in our hands. I just hope it’s not taken away.

    The Sacramento Bee is simply another newspaper that can’t see how the wind blows, but I hate to see it go.

    Ag80 (c86726)

  9. It’s the lesson of Watergate: The cover-up is worse than the original offense. Journalists ought to know that.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  10. If they would really let us deal with the budget, I’ll be glad to take responsibility for yesterday’s vote. But you have to let me do what I think needs to be done–I guarantee I’ll balance the budget and CA will no longer be in debt. Education and other essential services of good government will be fine.

    Wouldn’t want to be an illegal alien with me in charge, though. Able-bodied adult with no job? Oooh, you’re going to be in a bit of a bind. Teen parents? Better get a job to support that baby of yours.

    My GAS tank has been running on empty for way too long now.

    Jenn Oates (996901)

  11. Funny, I co-wrote an editorial with Jonah Goldberg pretty similar in tone, but it was for an April 1st issue of the USA Today.

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/04/oh-the-poor-pol.html

    Frank J. (69d14a)

  12. They tried to make me pay more taxes but I said,
    no, no, no ….
    –Amy Winehouse

    Alta Bob (0f0b7a)

  13. Hilarious!

    You can blame the voters for reacting with uninformed and misplaced anger.

    The SacBee editors know this all too well.

    MayBee (c50b9d)

  14. Here is a novel thought, take the 25b and reduce state employees salaries and benefits proportionately.

    cubanbob (409ac2)

  15. The Sacramento Bee, proving its’ irrelevancy each and every day.

    They’ll probably get a Pulitzer.

    AD - RtR/OS! (69f7ae)

  16. This is the newspaper equivalent of a stupid criminal story. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    DRJ (f55947)

  17. We got a little glimpse into the minds of the editors at the Sacramento Bee today

    Oh, come on! Give them a break. After all, their industry (ie, certainly the newspaper segment of the MSM) is going down the tubes, and so it’s not unexpected when they find themselves worrying so much about their job security — present and future — that they become schizophrenic and neurotic in the process. Call it the Sybil Syndrome.

    Actually, I’m sure the left-leaning editors of the Sacramento Bee thought, hmm, California isn’t exactly a Red State, and most of its voters aren’t exactly rock-ribbed Republicans. So if they vote in a way that makes us unhappy, that means we must be more liberal than even many of the people are in this true-blue Blue State. That means we must be…ultra-liberals! Oh, no! That makes us too 1960s-hippy, flaky-dingy passe for our tastes. Change the editorial!!

    Mark (411533)

  18. Newspaper bites people! Film at 11!

    Or not.

    danebramage (700c93)

  19. Maybe, just maybe, the editors at the Sac-Bee are actually capable of learning. Despite all those years of J-school.
    This provides a glimmer of hope that the adults, backed by a fear of unemployment, have started the long and arduous process of keeping the infants in their place.
    Time will tell.

    great unknown (b751d2)

  20. Who are you kidding? This was simply a CYA move.

    Seems that the “teabaggers” (to use the MSM’s favorite description) are coming home to roost.

    Who is laughing now?

    Dr. K (eca563)

  21. Or, if you prefer haiku:

    A CYA move
    Teabaggers come home to roost
    Whi is laughing now?

    Dr. K (eca563)

  22. Owned.

    Mitch (57b83d)

  23. The SacBee editors and publisher ought to have to sit and listen to voters before they get paid another cent. It won’t happen. Liberals can’t stand the truth. They only can wallow in their lies.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  24. What a bunch of douchebags. How about this, SacBee JournoLists … the policies championed by you and the politicos that share you political philosophies are directly responsible for the mess that the State is in. Your pompous arrogance is leading your industry into the crapper. To follow your train of thought, it should now be your responsibility to fix things, but we hold you in more contempt than we hold lawyers or the ebola virus.

    JD (355e34)

  25. Californians could make a bigger difference by voting with their subscriptions.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  26. Feedback to this disgrace:

    feedback@sacbee.com

    DaveinPhoenix (699f08)

  27. I have been a loyal buyer/subscriber to the Sac Bee for over 25 years, even though it is heavily tilted toward liberal view (the SF Chronicle and SJ Merc are much better papers). After watching it get even more socialist over the last ten years, along with shrinking by about 60%, this may be the straw that has me send in the cancellation notice. I wonder how many long-time NoCals are thinking the same thing.

    It’s also amazing that even in their quick-fix editorial, they still advocate that politicians should have an easier road to raising taxes……and they never mention the word ‘unions’.

    harkin (f92f52)

  28. Things like this are beneficial. It is nice to see the mask slip every now and then. It is good for people to actually know the contempt that the media has for the populace.

    JD (355e34)

  29. Whenever the masks slips, and the true nature of the left wing intelligensia, our betters, is revealed in all of it’s haughty and pridefully arrogant glory, a walkback is sure to follow…

    Except, of course, if you’re Joe Klein at Time, San Fran Nan, or maybe that good man Barack Obama…

    Bob (99fc1b)

  30. If it really was posted in error, a simple call to the SacBee to find out the name of the person who posted and whether they’re to be fired, suspended or have any sort of punishment for their transgression should be the expected follow-up.

    At least, that would be the logical thing for the paper to do, if someone within the editorial board or someone in charge of the SacBee’s online content actually published an editorial 180 degrees opposite what the board’s consensus is without permission. It would be the equivalent of some rogue ed board member or online techie at The New York Times posting an editorial lambasting Barack Obama for his national health care plan or excessive spending and then not expecting the rest of the board to demand punishment for, in their minds, “embarrassing” the paper.

    John (692c5c)

  31. You’ve got until June 30 to get it all straight.

    Let’s see, got it. All you illegals? No more benefits for you. No free health care, no free schools, no workmans compensation and god help you, if we find you still here, we’ll put you in a chain gang camp for 1 year where you work off your debts, 2 years on the second offense, etc. Instead of sending money back home, you’ll be wishing they sent you money.

    Interesting, the economists say I now have a $9 billion surplus and my roads are being repaired for half price. Kick ass.

    Damn this government stuff sure is hard. Remind me again why we were paying all those Sacremento poseurs so much money for? Maybe we can send those newspaper employees packing along with them.

    HatlessHessian (cca288)

  32. You do realize, of course, that all this was, was confirmation? You knew what the editors really thought before they slipped up and told the truth.

    Hopefully some creative person will put the two editorials together, in a side-by-side format, for all of us. It will be amusing.

    The amused Dana (3e4784)

  33. The Bee editors made a classic old media mistake by yanking the editorial from print and leaving it online. They still think the glop edition is the real paper.

    No one in the top ranks bothered to look at what was online, or understood that once the editorial had been posted, this particular feline had long ago escaped the thin paper/plastic container.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  34. Appreciative Dana… you know, the more we see this mess by the political class colluding with the fat cat special interests, the more I think we need our government to be comparable to jury duty. I’m trying to recall the behavioral economics book that evaluated the decision making accuracy of two panel, one consisting of nothing but subject matter experts in the related field, and the other of randomly selected people of varying backgrounds. The regular, non-experts consistently made more accurate decisions correctly anticipating risk better than the experts. We see this same phenomenon all the time in financial markets where someone with an IQ of 70 who invests in the S&P 500 beats the Ivy League mutual fund managers making $5 million+, year in and year out.

    Seriously, can anyone name me a single legislator who is an expert in representing the people? Reducing the cost of government? Reducing taxes and optimizing the efficiency of government? Every damn one in both parties are screwing us, either for their union and internationalist pals, or for their corporate pals.

    I’d volunteer to serve for 1 year out of 10 on something, then get me the hell out. Actually, I think a lot of us would, and we’d all make better decisions. If the Federal Government bails out California, it’s time for a constitutional convention and new rules. These people have to go and I think many of us are ready to make them.

    HatlessHessian (cca288)

  35. The bareheaded Hassian asked:

    Seriously, can anyone name me a single legislator who is an expert in representing the people?

    Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Rergrettably, I think that he’s both first and last on the list.

    The informative Dana (3e4784)

  36. It seems it was pulled by at least some of the Sac Bee workers who wanted to live past the next 48 hrs

    Classic Ron burgundy

    EricPWJohnson (c41e3c)

  37. The experience of the British House of Lords, before they started appointing politicians to it, has me convinced that the House of Representatives should be selected by lot from the voter rolls, instead of by election. Since the voter rolls aren’t perfectly up to date, you’d pick more than one name, and go through them in order until you found someone who meet all the criteria (like currently living in the district, being alive, being a citizen, etc).

    LarryD (feb78b)

  38. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wasn’t the SacBee at one time considered a terrific paper, one that regularly exposed corruption and did other fine investigative work, despite their leftie leanings? Sad what they’ve become.

    as the multimillionaire and concubine John Kerry wanted us to do

    Funniest line I’ve read here in awhile – and that’s saying something.

    BTW, loved Mr. Lakely’s line about Toonces The Cat causing all the problems at the SacBee.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

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  41. Thanks, Dmac. My wife made me put in a link to a pic of Toonces. Glad I did.

    And, yes. The SacBee was once considered a great paper. Their political coverage on the news side is still strong, if lefty-leaning. But it’s hard for this scandal not to tar the entire paper.

    It is really mindblowing how the Bee, even if it was an accident, let the curtain be shoved aside so far. Can’t believe someone doesn’t lose their job over this.

    Jim Lakely (743bf6)

  42. No one will lose their jobs because it’s all in the service of “the greater truth,” or some such nonsense that we’re used to hearing after these kinds of snafus.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  43. as the multimillionaire and concubine John Kerry

    I believe concubine is a term which applies solely to the female gender. The male version would be concubone. Occasionally lengthened to concubonehead.

    allan (f46980)

  44. Re: John Kerry
    Let’s just cut to the chase…
    He’s a political whore only interested in his own aggrandizement and comfort – and, wasn’t he a cover-boy for O’Rourke’s Parliment of Whores?

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

  45. And he looks like Mr. Ed.

    JD (8e9826)

  46. Why the long face, Sen. Kerry?

    JD (8e9826)

  47. How much was per capita spending in 1998?

    How much was cumulative inflation since 1998?

    Michael Ejercito (7c44bf)

  48. If Sacramento had held increases in spending since 1998 to a combination of population increases and inflation, the State of CA would now have a SURPLUS in excess of FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS!
    It is not a revenue problem….Duh!

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

  49. If Sacramento had held increases in spending since 1998 to a combination of population increases and inflation, the State of CA would now have a SURPLUS in excess of FIFTEEN BILLION DOLLARS!
    It is not a revenue problem….Duh!

    Not only that, social services were adequate in 1998.

    Michael Ejercito (7c44bf)

  50. Not just adequate, but excessive!

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

  51. And he looks like Mr. Ed.

    …riding on his windboard.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  52. …and that absolutely precious shot on the ski-slopes!

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

  53. Voters DID vote in this legislature. However, the CA GOP seems to never EVER mount a strong response to the mega-PR campaign put out every election by left-wing groups. Remember those first propositions by Arnold? He first got clobbered in the PR campaign, then in the voting booth.

    If it’s true that “as CA goes, so goes the nation”, then maybe the RNC should get out here and fight for the massive political middle in CA.

    Cranbone (9a454f)

  54. The RNC needs to stay out of Primary battles, and to quit protecting incumbents in those Primaries – that’s what should be job one of the RNC. Let the rank-and-file pick their candidates. If we wanted to belong to a top-down authoritarian political party, we would be Democrats.
    That’s what they should do, so that they could focus their attention on the opposing party.
    Propositions are theoretically a non-partisan battle, but it would be helpful if the RNC could come up with some firepower more effective than the Chamber of Commerce, etc, that could actually promote and advance a conservative, pro-Liberty & Freedom agenda to combat the nonsense thrown against the media wall by the various public-sector unions.
    I just believe that the conservatives within the State have become so discouraged by the lack of a coherent, conservative message from the Party that they have been sitting on the hands, at least those that haven’t already moved to ….

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

  55. Agree completely – the GOP usually has the primaries already awarded to a candidate before the damn thing is even halfway over. Let the best man (or woman) win, period.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  56. In one real sense, the voters are responsible for the debacle. They had the 1979 Gann Initiative that held state spending to population growth and CPI. Had that not been weakened by repeated nibbling away in subsequent initiatives, we would have a surplus.

    Voters have modified the Gann limit in a series of initiative measures. Proposition 99* (1988) and Proposition 10* (1998) exempted new tobacco taxes from the Gann limit. Proposition 98* (1988) required public schools to receive a share of revenues exceeding the Gann limit. That share was changed to a flat 50% by Proposition 111* (1990). Proposition 111 also added three exemptions to the Gann limit: capital outlay spending, appropriations supported by increased gas taxes, and appropriations resulting from national disasters. Most significantly, Proposition 111 changed the formula used for calculating annual adjustments to the Gann limit. Under Proposition 111, the population factor is based on a weighted average of population and K-14 school enrollment growth (instead of population only), and the cost of living factor is based solely on California per-capita personal income growth (and no longer takes into account the Consumer Price Index).

    The changes to the Gann limit formula under Proposition 111 substantially raised the Gann limit, making it less likely that the limit will be reached in the future. Many observers believe that in its current weakened state the Gann limit has ceased to be a meaningful constraint on state spending.

    Part of the blame goes to the Republican Party in California that chose a mutual disarmament with the Democrats in the 90s whereby they accepted safe districts in the redistricting and a permanent minority status. Each time there has been a chance to stop the slide into insolvency, the voters have been tricked by clever politicians. Willie Brown torpedoed a redistricting plan after the 1990 census and bragged after the election that he had tricked the voters.

    To some degree, the voters are to blame for letting themselves be tricked. On the other hand, they should have a right to expect the media to fairly explain the alternatives. The recent election suggests that they have decided the media is not to be trusted.

    Mike K (8df289)

  57. If you needed any more explanation, politicians think voters are stupid. They just told you so.

    bill-tb (26027c)

  58. Look, I’m just a guy who happens to lean to the right and tries to pay attention to things. I’m not a pundit, lawyer or political junkie, but I really appreciate this and other blogs because I can test out my beliefs against some smart people.

    My question is (and thanks for your post, Mike K – I’m sure that there’s a whole back story there), what is up with the CA GOP?

    As a guy who drives around and listens to all those commercials at election time, I always get the impression (at least over the last 10 to 15 years) that the CA GOP just doesn’t care to fight for their side of the argument (I’m talking about the perception created by a typical ad campaign…I KNOW that in reality that there are people who DO care and fight hard).

    Ok…so the unions have deeper pockets, but all I know is that I’m on the receiving end of a PR campaign that sends the impression that the left believes in their side of the argument more the the right. Again…just from the PR campaign part of it. And THAT’S what most Californians are exposed to…at least that what it seems like to me.

    The left is good at organizing and getting TV time, convincing people who don’t have time to even do what I’m doing now. I imagine that they conclude “Gee…that must be the “good” side of the argument”.

    Much of the time by the right is spent pointing out the obvious and continuous bias in the media. Understandable, but how do we combat the left’s winning tactics? Face it, they seem to really know how to manipulate the culture to get their way. It won’t take just a new conservative Governor. There needs to be more balance in the legislature, and that’s where the CA GOP comes in.

    Cranbone (9a454f)

  59. The Left has taken the lessons from “the big lie” to heart, and are very good at staying on message even if that message leaves people shaking their heads. They just wear you down until you just give up.
    Look how many times we have attacked the performance of the public-education system, attempted to impose a voucher system that would not have cost the average district one-cent, received promises from the EduCrats that if we just don’t do vouchers they will fix the system, and then Lucy pulls the ball away, again.
    They Lie, Lie, Lie, and they don’t lose a bit of sleep over it because they are sociopaths when it comes to their rice-bowl.
    And they accuse us of being hard-hearted and uncaring.
    The performance of the public-education system re the minorities that it is supposed to serve couldn’t do a worse job if it had been deliberately designed to fail by the KKK.
    But, they’ve got their jobs, their health-care, and their retirement benefits, so the rest of us can kiss their a$$!

    AD - RtR/OS! (00ce61)

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  61. The predictable LA Times story on budget-slashing woes

    Poor would be hard hit by proposed California budget cuts
    The governor suggests dismantling welfare programs for families and ending CalGrants for college students.

    By Eric Bailey and Patrick McGreevy
    May 22, 2009
    Reporting from Sacramento — With deficit forecasts growing darker by the day, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a plan to slash California’s safety net for the poor by eliminating the state’s main welfare program, health insurance for low-income families and cash grants to college students.

    The stark proposal surfaced in testimony by the administration at a joint legislative hearing Thursday that followed the governor’s decision to withdraw a week-old plan to borrow $5.5 billion to help balance the budget. . . </i?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  62. @62, Cranbone wrote: “Face it, they seem to really know how to manipulate the culture to get their way.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. They know how to manipulate the populace using the instruments of culture that they have captured–the media, academia, etc.

    danebramage (700c93)

  63. Poor would be hard hit by proposed California budget cuts

    Bradley, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry. Poor hardest hit. Really. I suggest that the Governator start with the cash grants for college kids.

    carlitos (a0089e)

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