This feedback forum is designed to give readers a way to voice criticisms and compliments or ask questions about The Californian’s news coverage. Your questions may be edited for space and clarity.
Reader: Here’s just one of many fine examples of your precious liberals!
From AOL.com: “A man boasted on Facebook after leaving a female motorist stuck in the snow because he deemed her a supporter of Donald Trump. Troy Brown, a Bernie Sanders supporter, says he was going to stop to help the woman but then saw her Trump bumper sticker. Instead of helping her, he just drove past. And took pictures.
“He posted the image of the car stuck in the snow with the caption, ‘I was going to help her but she has a #Trump sticker on her car #CallYoPresident.’
“... After getting slammed for leaving the woman, he doubled down. He made a list of people Trump supporters can call on for help when they need it. The list was, ‘1. Yo president, 2. Exxon Mobil CEO 3. General Flynn’s son 4. The gunman at Comet pizza in D.C.’”
Now tell me again, who are the REAL HATERS? Of course we never see stories like this in The Californian, but if the situation were reversed it would be front page!
Price: I’m not sure which of three possible takeaways from your email is the most ridiculous: That this idiot in Ohio abandoned common decency over a bumper sticker; that his behavior settles once and for all that “haters” are exclusively “liberals”; or that, had the stranded motorist been a Sanders supporter and the Bad Samaritan a Trumper, the story would have qualified for our front page.
Life is littered with examples of boorish, rude, inconsiderate behavior, and many of those acts are inspired by things as ultimately inconsequential as one's baseball rooting interest or political affiliation. With rare exception, none of those thoughtless acts qualifies for the pages of this or any newspaper, let alone the front page.
The article you shared, Dcew, references the case of 28-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch, of Salisbury, N.C., who, brandishing an AR-15 rifle, allegedly walked into the Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., to “self-investigate” a false election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton and fired off a round.
Does the act of this single knucklehead say anything about any particular political affiliation? Of course not. Does the fact that the son of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser, perpetuated the same false conspiracy theory say anything about Trump supporters? Absolutely not. It says these individuals are reckless — one of them, based on the charges filed against him, criminally so.
But here’s the thing: the incident at Comet Ping Pong (and the subsequent harassment of neighboring businesses) did not make our front page — and even you, Dcew, ought to be able to recognize how infinitely more egregious that incident was than that Ohio man’s classless decision to mock a snow-stuck Trump supporter.
In conclusion, give us all a break.
Reader: It’s been kind of interesting to watch you trying to dispel the obvious left-leaning bias (of The Californian). In hopes of dispelling any doubts, I offer the fact that we are subjected to the likes of (nationally syndicated columnists Froma) Harrop, (Dana) Milbank, (Leonard) Pitts and (Michael) Gerson on an almost daily schedule. The “right” gets (Debra) Saunders and (Rich) Lowry, maybe once a week! (The Sacramento Bee’s generally center-right columnist Dan) Walters doesn’t count, he’s all state news.
I would be inclined to soften my views if you would publish … ultra left liberal Maureen Dowd’s column titled “Election therapy from my basket of deplorables.” It’s classic.
— Lou Boll
Price: The vilification of Michael Gerson continues. The Washington Post columnist is a dyed-in-the-wool Republican whose only apparent crime was opposing the candidacy of Donald Trump. He is a visiting fellow with the Center for Public Justice, a Christian think tank that tries to bring a Christian worldview to bear on U.S. policy issues, among other noteworthy associations. And he served as a senior policy advisor and chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush for five years, giving us the memorable “shock and awe” line from Bush’s address announcing the start of the Iraq war. I don’t know if Gerson would laugh or cry at your description of him as a liberal.
Conservative credentials don’t seem to matter to some people if opposition to Trump is involved, as the editors of the National Review have learned.
Milbank and Gerson write more frequently than Lowry and Saunders so they’re published more often.
But you make a fair point. We’ll try harder to even up their publication schedules.
You’ve left out Esther Cepeda, who’s about as conservative as seems possible for a Hispanic woman based in Chicago.
As for your reference to the New York Times’ Trump-despising columnist: Fake news strikes again, sort of.
The meat of the Nov. 26 column you reference was not written by Maureen Dowd but by Dowd’s brother, Kevin, “an affluent, educated suburbanite” who supported Trump. It appeared with her column byline and followed her short intro. But if you found excerpts of the column in social media postings rather than the actual source, you wouldn’t know it. And that strikes me as a rather important distinction.
Reader: How does this new law in California to prevent publication of names of sexual assault victims apply to The Californian?
From the Los Angeles Times: “Protections to keep domestic violence survivors’ addresses confidential will be standardized under a bill the governor signed Friday.
“The new law will also apply to people who have been sexually assaulted or stalked and reproductive healthcare providers. It will prohibit people, businesses and associations from publishing the addresses of people protected under the law who have requested that their addresses be kept confidential.
“The bill, authored by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon, will also require the California Secretary of State’s office to provide those protected under the law with information about how to keep their addresses private. The law will take effect Jan. 1.”
Price: It does raise some interesting issues. But it is already our practice — and the practice is widespread throughout mainstream media — to not publish people’s specific addresses. Not victims, not perps, nobody.
I’d be surprised if the inspiration for this legislation was an irresponsible act by a legit news organization. More likely it was an individual who posted on social media the home address of a stalked individual, an abortion clinic worker or something similar.
Nobody should be publishing such addresses. This is another example of how, today, everyone with a social media account is essentially a media source, and they may or may not have the training or sense to understand the obligations.
Reader: Thank you for the Sound Off column. It’s a wonderfully entertaining forum for people to spew views, and I appreciate your calm responses … For many folks, their strongly held religious or political beliefs will always trump facts. The more you present contrary evidence to them, the deeper they dig in to defend their views.
For example, once someone has convinced themselves that your paper has a disgustingly liberal or conservative slant, no amount of logic will ever shake that belief, but I love the way that you respond ... with undeserved courtesy – which must drive the yahoos nuts. It all makes for good, humorous reading.
Hey, it can be fun to hurl insults at an opposing tribe, something like the Dodgers and Giants in baseball, until it goes too far and turns violent.
I see parallels in today’s politics, and facts are certainly not what they used to be. Lately, if a fact doesn’t match up with what you just know has to be true, you attack the science or create your own opposing “facts.”
… Again, thanks for being a voice of reason. It’s in short supply these days.
— Don Chapman