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 — which may be edited for space — are answered here each Saturday by The Californian’s Robert Price.
Price: We are in the process of introducing readers to three potential nationally syndicated columnists for our Opinion section, L. Brent Bozell, Stephen Moore and Star Parker.
All have a decidedly conservative lean and are generally supportive of President Trump’s policies. (As I’ve noted before, and many conservatives will confirm, those aren’t necessarily the same thing.)
We’re not dumping any of our liberal or moderate columnists as part of this process; we’re just trying to give readers one more voice from the right.
Bear in mind that the winner of this little competition won’t be inking a lifetime deal with The Californian. We’re constantly evaluating all of our syndicated columnists (all of our contracted services, actually) and will make changes from time to time, as longtime readers can attest.
Readers are welcome and encouraged to tell us how they feel about these three as well as any of our other columnists, both syndicated and local. We’re listening.
We received many more comments about this three-way tryout than we are able to publish, but suffice to say we received more positive than negative votes about each of the three candidates.
Here are some of your comments:
Reader: Your (potential) new columnist, L. Brent Bozell, draws big-time from his multimillion-dollar Media Research Center. Wonder who foots the payroll for him and his 100-plus employees?
The short answer is Fortress Capitalism, from which Bozell launches propaganda that nudges the earnings of working people into the pockets of the rich. Some of the big names propping up Bozell include (1) The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation that’s been funding bitter-end conservatism for more than 25 years; 2) The Sarah Scaife Foundation, whose wealth and other sub-foundations derive from the Mellon industrial, oil, aluminum and banking fortune; 3) The $30 billion Adolph Coors Foundation; 4) The John M. Olin Foundation, which descended from the Olin chemical and munitions fortune; and (6) ExxonMobil.
Wealth-gorged foundations do both good and bad for us, but the tragic part is how they’ve hired Bozell and his kind to defend their economic agenda in order to swell company profits at the expense of the average person’s paycheck. When something new pops up in politics, too many voters turn to their favorite news show or social media or friends to do their thinking for them. And that’s when Bozell’s work becomes dangerous. The success of big money on voters and politicians is, to borrow a word, sad.
— Gilbert Gia
Reader: Nice to hear someone speak the truth. I hope Bozell passes the trial. I might actually like some of the articles in the Californian again.
— Karen Lopez
Reader: I would read this columnist, L. Brent Bozell. I have just about stopped reading your other columnists. I think your paper is not fair and balanced. I have been a subscriber for 50 years.
Reader: I urge The Bakersfield Californian to drop L. Brent Bozell from further consideration as a regularly featured nationally syndicated columnist. Please carry an independent thinker, not someone who works for a phony think tank as a partisan shill.
Any high-school graduate who was paying attention in civics class understands that a free press is essential to sustainability of democracy. The press is under assault like never before. The purpose of the phony think tank that this guy leads is to undermine the respect that an independent press needs if it is to survive as the fourth branch of democratic government.
His column does nothing to further much-needed dialogue among thinking people from diverse perspectives.
— Mark Evans
Reader: Brent Bozell is probably the worst liar and fabricator of truth it is my displeasure to ever have read. He should be on Trump’s staff, he is so accomplished at distorting the truth and ignoring the facts. I am violently opposed to his being one of the writers for your paper.
On the same page with Bozell was a column by Jay Ambrose and, though he follows the Trump agenda, I can ignore him without throwing up. I am sorry to say this but if Mr. Bozell were to appear in your paper on a regular basis I would be forced to cancel my subscription or else arrange to buy it out of a machine on the days he is not printed. In what garbage heap did you find him?
— Albert Abrams
Reader: Thank you for Brent Bozell’s column. I feel that it was a fair expose on the current news. I wish the news could be reported as factually as possible while leaving political bias out of it. That would give the public a clearer view.
— Steve Ryane
Reader: Please, no more of Stephen Moore and his regressive energy philosophy. We’ve been there, done that, and should know better.
— Cynthia Simmons
Reader: I am not sure where you dug those new contributors up from. They are not just right, but hard right. Stephen Moore takes the cake.
“Distinguished visiting fellow”? Maybe, but such a polemic in a county where wind, solar, geothermal — and oil — bring in jobs and tax revenue is at a minimum tone deaf. His piece is just a litany of talking points without much of substance.
“Bad bets on expensive and unreliable green energy”? Where’s he been for the past two decades? He must be talking about coal and nuclear and confused that with “green.”
— Paul Gipe
Reader: We like Stephen Moore in today’s paper. He brings a wide and diverse opinion to his pieces. He is a knowledgeable and experienced writer and he does not only profess one way of thinking. Your paper needs a bright and conservative balance for your readers, to contemplate. Glad to see the removal of USA Today! Very biased in its coverage. Thank you from a committed TBC reader!
— Gerald Jankowski
Reader: Stephen Moore is either profoundly ignorant or willfully disingenuous. You asked for feedback, asking readers how we like him. Well, I do not.
His pedigree from the odious Heritage Foundation notwithstanding, his assertion that “we are entering an age of American energy renaissance” is true, but for exactly the opposite reasons he states. He conflates “expensive and unreliable” green energy with “the left,” when green energy is NOT about left or right, it is about doing what IS right — for the planet and all of the species living on it.
U.S. citizens do not want to be the 21st century’s Saudi Arabia, a backwards hereditary monarchy with a horrendous record of human rights abuses — didn’t almost all of the 9/11 terrorists have Saudi passports? — as well as fundamentalist radical religious laws that relegate women third class citizenry. No thank you, Mr. Moore. The U.S. would rather be the 21st century United States, continuing to revolutionize clean energy like solar and wind in order to save our planet.
To the Californian: please find more informed and educated columnists to publish in your paper.
— C. Bryant
Reader: Stephen Moore as an op-ed author — and as he’s consistently presented his economic principles on TV — is a welcome addition to TBC’s Opinion Page, should you choose to select him. His principled commentaries — plus his sense of humor — are needed by your readers.
— John Pryor
Reader: Moore may be the one. Smooth writing, easy to read, good flow, positive tone, deals with substance, above the fray, doesn’t vilify.
— Brik McDill
Reader: The fossil fuel proponents will appreciate the love fest Moore showers upon them. They will be so busy lapping up the nectar of optimism and the promise of resurgent glory and riches that they won’t notice the smoke and mirrors. (Oh! Accidental pun for pollution and solar panels. Yay me.)
They won’t notice contradictions like the claim that even though Obama supposedly “took every possible step to stop American fossil fuel development ... America has increased its gas and oil output by 75 percent ... since 2007...” So? Obama elected in 2008? Hello? (I am so tired of this.)
They’ll also overlook omissions like the fact that the oil companies have been receiving obscene government subsidies, or that his claims about coal can be easily debunked, or that he makes no mention of the catastrophic environmental impact “unlocking $50 trillion of energy assets lying underneath us” would have. Or that he casually mentions that this great windfall needs to be harvested from beneath federal lands, which I presume include National Parks?
It’s OK. I’ll just move on to the crossword before I tap the SiriusXM app and go muck stalls, although I feel like I’ve already had a metaphorical start on that mucking thing.
— Pam Wildermuth
Reader: Just wanted to let you know that Star Parker is a columnist I enjoy reading. She is insightful and, being a black female with a conservative bent, has perhaps more credibility than the typical white male tea-partier whose babble I have become so tired of. Please keep her columns coming.
— Mark S. Thompson
Reader: What an incredible excellent addition you have brought to The Californian with Star Parker. I do not see why so many people do not see the danger in the expansion of Medicaid for those who don’t deserve it. What is happening in the United States is especially true for California. More articles from Star Parker would be most welcomed.
— Dr. Louie Ladenburger
Reader: Thank you for publishing journalists who are not attacking our president. It has been upsetting to read the constant belittling of the man the people elected. There are still Republicans in this state and it is nice to read the truth.
— Jayne Rogers
Reader: Thank you so much for the change in your editorial policies to include more conservative contributors. I have especially enjoyed the following: L. Brent Bozell, president of Media Research Center; Jay Ambrose, op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service; and Star Parker, author and president of Center for Urban Renewal and Education.
I have followed Brent Bozell and Star Parker for a long time and know them to be accurate and very knowledgeable. There are others whose names I have not mentioned but whose opinions I also value.
Thank you again. I was about ready to give up on you. I am a subscriber of at least 50 years.
— Leona Grant
Reader: Thank you for your efforts to re-vitalize the op-ed page. I really enjoyed the new columns by Star Parker and L. Brent Bozell. Please continue!
— Richard Smith
Reader: I like very much L. Brent Bozell, Jay Ambrose and Stephen Moore as regulars. Please keep them.
— Roy Baehr
Reader: I would like to see you add Garrison Keillor to the regular rotation on the opinion page of the newspaper. I like his style and gets his points across without making you feel like you got run over by a truck.
— Jack King
Reader: Thanks for the Garrison Keillor columns, Robert! He’s like an old friend! So right on!
— Margie Bell
Price: We will publish each of the three columnists — Parker, Bozell and Moore —at least one more time and most likely have a verdict for you next week. Oh, and you can expect to see Jay Ambrose and Garrison Keillor in these pages going forward no matter which of the others we choose.
The Californian welcomes your comments and suggestions. To offer your input by phone, please call 395-7649 and leave your comments in a voicemail message or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and phone number. Phone numbers and addresses won’t be published.