by Warner Todd Huston | September 11, 2010 11:47 am
The widely read California website Calbuzz bills itself as a site offering political news, analysis, commentary, “and more about California and beyond.” During this election cycle, though, the “and more” seems to indicate that Calbuzz is operating as the publicity shop for Democrat Jerry Brown’s campaign for Governor because so far they’ve spent little time offering straight news about the race. Instead the site is constantly offering flattering Brown stories while just as constantly savaging Meg Whitman’s Republican campaign for that office.
Calbuzz gets a lot of respect from California’s Old Media and political establishment and that should come as no surprise. It isn’t necessarily because it is such a hard-nosed news service but because the website’s chief cook and bottle washers are members of that Old Media establishment.
Jerry Roberts is a journalist and former managing editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and Phil Trounstine is the former political editor of the San Jose Mercury News as well as a Democrat operative from former Gov. Gray Davis’s office. These two fellows have the inside track with both the Old Media establishment as well as the Democrat Party. This should make clear why they can’t write a positive story about Meg Whitman, too. It’s no wonder they can’t write a positive story about Whitman. It just isn’t in their DNA.
I guess the big question here is where does Jerry Brown send his check for all the hard publicity work that Calbuzz does for him?
Let’s take Calbuzz’s efforts to detail every last member of Team Whitman. In several pieces the site has, in its own words, “pieced together an organizational chart of the
Armies of eMeg Whitman for Governor campaign,” in a effort to tag each of her staffers. This was a major effort for Calbuzz. Inquiring minds need to know, right?
Interestingly enough, a video of Jerry Brown claiming that his campaign staff is filled with little else but “volunteers” has made no impression on the old-hand journos at Calbuzz.
Here Brown is claiming that his future campaign direction is left to his “volunteer campaign staff”? Really? Brown is trying to claim that his whole staff is volunteers and that he, himself, does not bother with the direction his own campaign goes? One would think that such an absurd claim is ripe for lambasting. But not a snicker is heard from Calbuzz. Suddenly they aren’t so inquiring.
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No, for Brown it’s all business and straight news.
On the other hand there’s all sorts of “hypothetical” or “satirical” posts making fun of Whitman such as this “hard news” satire of a mythical meeting with Whitman supporters at her home. Is this analysis? Is it news? Or is it just the fevered minds of the rabidly anti-Whitman Calbuzz? I report you decide.
Now you might wonder, in the spirit of fair lambasting are there pieces skewering ol’ Gov. Moonbeam? Not so much. In fact, in a March piece Calbuzz bent itself into contortions to refute that old “Gov. Moonbeam” handle. It’s a Jerry Brown all growed up, ready to serve and coming to th’ rescue for the old journos of Calbuzz for sure.
While Whitman gets the “funny business” Brown gets validated.
Calbuzz has also reached back into the 70s to shore up Brown’s bid for governor such as its Sept. piece on job creation stats arranged by past governors. Interestingly, the stats are only compiled as far back as Brown’s years in office and not before that. I guess Calbuzz is unaware that there ever were any governors of California before 1975.
Then there is the faux outrage that Calbuzz has put on when its buddies in the Old Media dared to criticize their boy Brownie or didn’t report on Whitman to Calbuzz’s high standards. In April Calbuzz attacked their buddies in the Old Media by complaining that the media used the “false equivalence fallacy” against Brown. And in May Calbuzz attacked the AP for saying that Whitman had “regrets” about a stock deal when Cabuzz claims she surely didn’t. Darn that AP for giving the benefit of the doubt to Meg Whitman. Why it’s a scandal, don’t you know?
It all adds up to a website being run by old political and Old Media hacks that are severely sold out to Jerry Brown to the detriment of Meg Whitman. Yet Calbuzz is one of the first stops for so many in the Old Media and Sacramento. It most certainly shows that these old journalists and still working hand-in-hand with their old pals on the California left even though they are now doing it on the Internet.
Jerry is certainly getting a lot of bang from the folks at Calbuzz. If he isn’t paying them, he’s sure getting a deal, don’t you think?
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