Patterico's Pontifications


How to Make an Internet Disaster 10 Times Worse

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 9:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Remember Bobby Caina Calvan, the Sacramento Bee reporter who bragged on his internet blog about antagonizing an American Green Zone border guard?

Meet Armando Acuna, the Public Editor for Calvan’s employer. Here’s how Acuna describes Calvan’s run-in with the American soldier:

“What we’re talking about here is an escalating, ahem, urination competition between two men in a stressful situation. Just two guys making each other mad – doesn’t matter if you’re right-wing, left-wing, up or down.”

As they say, there’s much more at the link (free registration may be required).

Acuna surely must realize he’s stirred a hornet’s nest with this statement. Perhaps he believes every word but I’d like to think this is his ploy to increase the Sacramento Bee’s online traffic. That he might actually view this as just another “urination competition” is, well, Bee-zarre.

H/T Michelle Malkin.


27 Responses to “How to Make an Internet Disaster 10 Times Worse”

  1. That was my thought. He wants traffic.

    “When people suspect you of being a fool, ’tis better to keep your mouth shut, than to speak and remove any doubt.” — I don’t know who.

    htom (412a17)

  2. DRJ,

    The timing seems a little suspect I would agree. But on the other hand the overreaction from the blogosphere got a pass from most. The guy did apologize.
    Guess Michelle was hurting for ideas as well since she decided to run it on her site on Veterans Day.

    voiceofreason (cc6b4f)

  3. Acuna decided to run it on Veteran’s Day, and did so intentionally. He says so in the piece.

    htom (412a17)

  4. His private blog was now whizzing around the very public blogosphere, put there by right-wing critics breathlessly passing it around like the discovery of a deep, dark secret, a digital Rosetta stone deciphering the media’s true heart.

    Someone doesn’t understand the intertubes.

    Pablo (99243e)

  5. That he might actually view this as just another “urination competition” is, well, Bee-zarre.


    Oregonian (ea9eae)

  6. Oregonian,

    It’s bizarre because going through security in the Green Zone isn’t just a friendly encounter with a buddy. Mocking the soldier entrusted with checkpoint security is the equivalent of joking about a hijacking at airport security.

    By the way, Patterico is waiting for you on this thread.

    DRJ (9578af)

  7. Oregonian — because the soldier was doing his job. The journalist was violating the rules AND being an ass.

    The soldier did not HAVE to help get him back in.

    May as well call it a pissing contest when a cop pulls you over for no lights, you are a jerk to the cop, and the cop lets you off with a warning.

    Foxfier (9f310f)

  8. As I recall, Calvan actually issued a pretty decent apology shortly after this story circulated. Why are his bosses trying to redig this whole?

    PatHMV (0b955c)

  9. Apologized? Well, yes and no. What Calvan actually “apologized” for was for posting about the incident and making the whole world privy to his butthattery, not for being a world-class poopnozzle to the guy at the gate in the first place. He seemed less penitent about acting like a nerfwad than about being kicked around the Intertubes for it.

    As for why Acuna Matata wants to re-open Pandora’s Box … well, who knows what redardation lurks in the hearts of adult-age children, really. I guess he thinks he should have the last word. He is a Decider, after all. It’s his birthright.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  10. Having pulled guard and sentry duty often enough while I was in the military I can attest to the fact that you run into a lot of rude people, in uniform as well as out of uniform, and yes the guards themselves can be jerks at times.

    The fact that this story got as much play as it did from the blogosphere is kind of like the faux outrage about the Oakland airport “incident”. People looking for others who are showing the troops disrespect has come to non-stories like this one.

    voiceofreason (cc6b4f)

  11. I’m sorry.there is such a thing as bad publicity.

    Corwin (dfaf29)

  12. VOR – This became a story because the reporter was bragging about it, not because it is some disrespecting the troops thing. He was proud of being a horse’s ass, and then when he realized that everyone else thought he was an ass, he removed the post, issued a pseduo-apology, and slinked back into his cave.

    JD (6887fb)

  13. Mr. Acuna Matata does not know the first rule of holes. He actually picks up the spade and starts digging.

    Not a Yank (a47dbe)

  14. He compounded his error by initially deleting his posting, which is considered bad form in the blogosphere. (The etiquette was news to me, too.)
    Acuna admitting his ignorance of blogs.

    The Washington Bureau has a new rule. No personal blogs allowed. “We don’t want to be surprised again,” Seibel said.
    McClatchy making its reporters even more ignorant of blogs.

    What I want to know is whether the blogosphere’s trip-wire is just mindlessly sensitive in igniting outrage or was it just a slow week in the conservatives’ Internet neighborhood?
    Acuna doesn’t “want to know” anything. He thinks he has all the answers, if only those ignorant conservative bloggers would shut up.

    For a brief moment, Calvan and the Bee appeared to be coming to grips with this issue. The Bee and McClatchy should have encouraged Calvan to be open with his critics and continued the nascent dialog. Instead, McClatchy’s executives have yanked its Washington reporters back into the cave and posted, “No Blogurz Alowed.”

    Bradley J. Fikes (402c0b)

  15. I took the bait and responded to the little bridgetroll…


    You obviously have little respect for yourself, your employer, your country, and the men and women who give you the right to have an opinion.

    You mislead–or at least attempt to mislead others by what you choose to leave out. Your reporter is fortunate that our military is as well-trained as they are. A lesser force might have had him shot or at least beaten for his actions and speech. I would not advise your reporters try the same tactics in Russia, Belarus, PRC, Saudi Arabia, or Zimbabwe.

    This is not about “right-wing” versus “left wing”. It’s about the arrogance and cluelessness of the press. Perhaps you should look up historical examples of hubris and see how well that has worked for people in the past?

    Now that Norman Mailer is dead, perhaps you can donate your ego to be displayed at the Smithsonian in his place?

    Appropriate Regards,


    jtb-in-texas (bf834b)

  16. htom: “When people suspect you of being a fool, ’tis better to keep your mouth shut, than to speak and remove any doubt.” — I don’t know who.


    I’ve seen it attributed to both Twain and Lincoln, with no specific book or speech reference in either case.

    So let’s just say it was somebody smart in the 19th century, unless another reader has a definite answer.

    old maltese (5eea59)

  17. I’ve modified the quote for teh digital age: “‘Tis better to allow people to think you are stupid than to set your fingers loose upon the keyboard and remove all doubt.”

    Diffus (ead439)

  18. jtb, Please check with “the men and women who give you the right to have an opinion” and get back to me whether they’ve given you the right of your opinions please.

    You sound all full of righteousness and love of country, but you are calmly advocating plain vanilla facism, a country in which a compulsory tax supported armed entity “gives” the press and citizenry the right to have opinions. Last time I checked, my Constitution said I was born with certain inalienable rights.

    jdoe (a5d32a)

  19. I wonder how many sock puppets Acuna is running all over the blogosphere.

    driver (faae10)

  20. jdoe….it is not a compulsory tax supported armed entity….

    You don’t have to pay any taxes….all you have to do is sit around doing nothing, and they’ll still protect you….

    Yes, you were born with certain inalienable rights, and that same armed entity protects your rights…including the one that you are using now….

    And, the plain vanilla facism you are complaining about….they protect that too….I just don’t see the facism you are talking about…I do see the lack of respect given to them, including by you….

    Oh….Semper Fi….

    reff (99666d)

  21. I liked the editor’s statement that those who comment on blogs are sheep. Hang around here and Volokh, and it’s just us tiny-brained sheep following along.

    The problem with the reporter’s blog is that it didn’t have the four layers of editing which achieves both expertise and perfection.


    JRM (355c21)

  22. You might have noticed the papertiger in Acuna’s comment section. Number 2. That’s right.
    I’m bad and I’m glad.

    papertiger (f6198c)

  23. Jdoe, surely you’re not getting your Constitutional phrases from the same place the New York Times gets them? Inalienable rights?

    Andy (09ab51)

  24. When I originally viewed Acuna’s article, I could have swore I saw comments. Now they’re gone. Was I mistaken?

    dave (fdfaa0)

  25. Can’t see it now because I’m not registered, and I’m not going to.

    I suspect we may have blamed Calvan for behavior that he was taught at work. Not that he shouldn’t be blamed for being a jerk, but he has a reason (different than an excuse): his boss is an even bigger one, and he was just doing as he had been (mis-)taught.

    htom (412a17)

  26. (Oh, and there were comments. Mostly, although not all, castigating Acuna.)

    htom (412a17)

  27. htom: If you get rid of your cookies, you should be able to access again. And thanks for responding to my question about the comments. Nice to know I’m not going nuts.

    dave (fdfaa0)

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