2019028-bc-pricecol

The twin tracts of La Cresta and Alta Vista are unique — so unique that, until the county stepped in 20 years ago, the addresses of many homes on Walnut Avenue were out of order. In some cases even-numbered and odd-numbered addresses were on the same side of what was also known as Walnut Drive — another odd inconsistency. But many of the neighborhood's quirks — good quirks — remain.

Reader: As Will Rogers used to say, “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.” I imagine he did get a lot of useful information in the 1920s and '30s and this info was a good source for his humor. But today, thank God, we have social media, the internet and other venues that supply a great balance.

If not for that, we would all be reading The Associated Press. The AP no longer reports the news, they interpret the news. They seem to only create viewpoints that advance their liberal agenda. This method of news reporting uses negative words and phrases and passes them off as bipartisanship.

Some of the examples appear every day. Like, “Trump attacks majority-black district represented by critic.” This is not reporting the news; this is spinning the news. In the same story the AP said Trump "lashes out" in tweets against U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md. "Lashes out," really? Again, same article, “President Donald Trump on Saturday denigrated a majority-black district represented by a congressional nemesis.” Is this negativity working on you yet? 

Two days later, The Associated Press doubled down with this headline: “Baltimore-area district pushes back against Trump comments.” I have always known The Associated Press was a little left of the left, but the continuous reprinting of their articles by The Bakersfield Californian is driving me up the wall.

— William Davis

Price: "Today, thank God, we have social media" to supply us with balanced news reporting.

I'm still trying to fathom how an intelligent man like you, William, could write that sentence without including a winking emoticon ;) at the end.

U.S. intelligence agencies agree that trolls connected to the Russian military invaded Facebook in 2016 (and again in 2018) with false and misleading information designed to sow discord among U.S. voters. The 2016 effort very purposefully sought to aid Donald Trump and diminish Hillary Clinton, according to intelligence sources cited in the Mueller report. U.S. intelligence says to expect more of the same in 2020. And you want to keep getting your news from social media? Yikes. 

As for the Associated Press' allegedly negative words and phrases:

This may come as a shock to some, but President Trump is not shy about throwing rhetorical sticks and stones. If you love him, you're cheering — hey, the object of his rage deserves it, right? Trump did in fact call Rep. Elijah Cummings' Baltimore-area district a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” We can debate the actual extent of Baltimore's rodent problem, but "attack" does not strike me as an out-of-line characterization of Trump's statement. The president followed that up by saying residents of Baltimore are “living in hell.” Is that lashing out? It's certainly a hyperbolic, negative assertion.

(By the way: Do an internet search for the phrase "Trump lashes out" and prepare to be mildly amazed. Even Fox News gets into the act.)

I fail to see what's wrong with going into the city of Baltimore to gauge residents' reaction to the criticism. We'd have done the same if a prominent national figure, right or wrong, had cast a negative light on Bakersfield. In fact, I've personally written that very story.

Finally, I reject your claim that The Associated Press is "a little left of the left." The media bias evaluation site MediaBiasFactCheck.com classifies the AP as among its "least biased," and oft-cited AdFontesMedia.com puts it squarely in the "minimal partisan bias" category, alongside Bloomberg, Reuters and Time.

•••

Reader: An Associated Press article published July 25 confirms something for me that I have always felt is true. If a person really wants to know the truth about a speech or hearing, they have to hear it as it happens. Reading only a secondhand comment about it will not enlighten a person about what was said. In fact, a secondhand comment will most likely just tell you the writer's opinion about it. Therefore, it is not a good source of information.

I am speaking specifically about your July 25 article titled “Mueller: No Russia exoneration for Trump, despite his claims.” The title reveals the bias of the writers. It assumes all of its readers hate and distrust our president, and it probably hopes readers did not bother to watch the hearing live.

— Karen Lawson

Reader: Your Nation & World section heading should actually read, "Nation & World Through the Eyes of a Liberal Bias" — AP, or TBC, take your pick. The July 25 Mueller article was so one-sided that I have to wonder if it had been written before the hearing even started, because what was in this article is far from the seven-hour circus I watched.

The best summary of the hearing that I heard was the person who learned the most of what was inside the Mueller report was Bob Mueller himself. If this is the direction the new owners of the paper are going to take us, my money will be better spent at Chick-fil-A.

— John Mckiearnan

Price: The most important investigation question the special prosecutor's office sought to answer, I hope we can agree, is whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian interests, such as the Russian government, in order to gain an advantage over Hillary Clinton in the election. President Trump maintains that the Mueller report exonerated him. Mueller stated in the report, and again in testimony before that congressional committee, that the special prosecutor did not exonerate the president.

That, to me, is unquestionably the most significant takeaway from Mueller's testimony.

In short: What was said.

John, your takeaway seems to have been Mueller's apparent uncertainty, or forgetfulness, about the report's content. In other words, his delivery — at times halting, at times brusque.

In short: The way he said it.

Fox News agrees with you. One of its headlines was: "Mueller's testimony riddled with shaky moments, incomplete answers."

To that, I am quite certain, history will say, "So what?"

•••

Reader: I laughed and laughed at Steven Mayer's writing in Wednesday morning's Californian ("Symphony in C-ya later: Bakersfield businesses using classical music, opera and ABBA to combat panhandling, loitering," July 31). Thank god — Steve is good, really good. I called my brothers and they laughed too. ...

Some of those German operas really do the trick. I do the same thing at my house up in Kernville. I don't need a gun — I've got opera.

— Laura Blanco

•••

Reader: What is wrong with you people? The roundabout under construction is not at Enos and Stockdale ("Roundabout construction expected to cause traffic delays," July 23). It’s at Enos and Taft Highway. There is going to be a lot of pissed off people who get delayed because they believed your inaccurate story.

— Brad Roark

Price: I hope you didn't share that observation with too many people because a roundabout is indeed under construction at Enos (Route 43) and Stockdale, just as we reported.

The city is also building a roundabout at Enos and Taft Highway. Maybe that's what has you confused.

Your misguided complaint is timely because it gives me an excuse to remind people that flaggers will be delaying traffic at Enos and Stockdale all next week, Aug. 5-9, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

•••

Reader: I just want to thank you for your wonderful columns and courage. I so enjoy your writings and research. Do I always agree with you? Of course not. But you are open to opinions and ideas — something that is a lifelong struggle for many of us, especially as we age. Sometimes I get so frustrated at how rude people are toward you and about The Californian — indeed, there are polite ways to criticize — yet you continue to respectfully publish and address their letters in Sound Off.

During my teaching career sometimes I had to intentionally remind myself to look at all of those wonderful students who wanted to learn, who were polite and helpful — and I'm sure grew up to be contributing members of society! — as well as the fabulous, supportive parents surrounding them. The majority of us imperfect humans are good, good people. I hope that you will continue your excellent work for many years to come.

— Lora Minton

Price: How can you be so thoughtful, Lora, and not agree with me all the time?

•••

Reader: Regarding this line from the July 29 "Court This Week" summary item on "People vs. Matthew Queen": "The man accused in a kidnapping that led a two-hour standoff beneath a bridge over the Kern River July 22 is scheduled to appear in court Monday. Queen was living with Bakersfield 3 member Baylee Despot when she disappeared ..."

Sort of dumb. Many Californian readers probably would not know or recall what a "Bakersfield 3 member" is. Also, the standoff beneath the bridge over the Kern River happened July 15, not July 22.

— John Sweetser

Price: I agree. "Bakersfield 3 member" would mean something only to readers who have followed the tragic but inspiring story of the three Bakersfield mothers who banded together in search of answers in the separate disappearances of their three adult children. And, actually, "Bakersfield 3" refers to the mothers, not the missing children. Whenever we reference the "Bakersfield 3," we should be reminding readers, succinctly, what that means. And, yes, the standoff was July 15.

•••

Reader: I like the new, monthly series “Where We Live.” I grew up on Alta Vista and recognize all the places you wrote about ("Where We Live: Rust encroaches on the 'Hollywood Heights' of the San Joaquin," July 28). Just one thing, from a child’s perspective, you missed: the center of our world on the weekends, Shakey's Pizza! For $5, we could get a pizza, two Cokes and have money left over for the jukebox. It is also gone now.

— Jennifer Keel

Price: Thank goodness you had money left over for the jukebox. The Tammy Wynette rubbed off on you nicely. (Jennifer sings, folks.)

Reader: Aloha from Maui! I read your July 28 "Where We Live" column about Alta Vista-La Cresta with great interest. I grew up in Bakersfield (although not) in the neighborhood you wrote about. I grew up in the southwest, across from Valley Plaza.

Much thanks for the history lesson. Great article!

— Jimmy Gonzales

Reader: Thanks for the plug in your Alta Vista-La Cresta article — however, I am a trombone player, not a trumpet player.

— Randy Fendrick

Price: Price's knucklehead move of the week. Sorry, Randy. I do know the difference. Honest.

The Californian’s Robert Price answers your questions and takes your complaints about our news coverage in this weekly feedback forum. Questions may be edited for space and clarity. To offer your input by phone, call 661-395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or email us at soundoff@bakersfield.com. Include your name and phone number; they won’t be published.

(1) comment

Vico17

Churchillis1: you are so full of it. The Muller report's main task was to prove election collusion between Russia and Trump. Was there any?



For two years you in the media ran with a narrative which in my humble opinion influenced fair elections in 2018. Whether for clicks or selling ads, you sold out. I now lump you with the likes of CNN, MSNBC, and unhinged liberals suffering from TDS. And their ratings and trustworthiness is justly falling faster than the proverbial rock down the abyss. Remind me again of the findings in the Muller report's Vol.I. Despite Hillary's lawyers and henchmen writing the report, (Muller didn't) Volume I showed Trump didn't collude with Russia, nor did anyone in his campaign. At least acknowledge our intelligence agencies, the Dems and the Russians tried to entrap people associated with Trump's campaign. Still, they failed and there was no collusion between Russia and Trump. Think Papadopoulos, Carter Page, or Trump jr at the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya. Fusion GPS's co-founder Glen Simpson was the one who sent Veselnitskaya in. It was Simpson who met with Veselnitskaya the day before and the day after the Trump Tower meeting? Why? Glen Simpson was being paid by Hillary Clinton, and he sends a Russian lawyer to a meeting promising dirt on HRC? Does that make any sense to you? Tell us who put the now debunked Steele Dossier together and who paid for it? You guessed it, people working for HRC and the DNC, including deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie Ohr. Nellie Ohr still works at Fusion GPS as far as I know, does Bruce still get taxpayer money? But I'm not a journalist, so you know, it's not my job to investigate the truth. But I do know it's true. Do you? You can't even get yourself to write a simple column "exonerating" a falsely accused man. The majority in this country already know what really was going on here. Volume II, by the way, is never written by "any" prosecutor, after failing to file charges. Show me one prosecutor, who after finding no crime, writes a list of possible obstructions in said non-crime. It's not the prosecutor's job to exonerate anyone. Their job is to file charges when they find a crime. Prove me wrong. Write a column explaining what went on here, objectively. Facts only. Leave your opinion at home. Thanks.

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