The Union legal reporter Liz Keller and the self-appointed local publicist for the hard right, Barry Pruett, are vocally defending the newspaper’s decision to publish a story this week that was already reported on right-wing blogs — a legal judgment against the county in the AtPac case — without chasing down the county’s side.
Pruett has his own ax to grind: He previously was an attorney in the case against the county, he received a major campaign contribution from the plaintiff, and he lost the race to the clerk-recorder. He’s happy at the one-sided account, which embarrasses the Rood Center without their explanation.
For its part, the newspaper is speaking with journalistic bravado. “If newspapers held stories indefinitely while embattled sources refused to talk, that would give those who don’t want articles to see the light of day a pretty powerful weapon, don’t you think?” Liz wrote.
Embattled? Indefinitely? We live in a small county, where people are readily accessible to paid journalists. You can drive to the Rood Center and knock on doors in five minutes. What’s another day or two for a story that already is out? Journalists like to “advance” their story, too, for a competitive and informative edge.
Most important, I’m wondering if there’s a double standard for reporting lawsuits.
For example, The Union sat on the lawsuit filed by the editor/publisher against a grieving parent until months after it was filed. (It was quick to report the settlement, however).
Liz defended sitting on the lawsuit involving her boss by explaining that the paper was waiting for the county DA to file charges in the case. Huh? This lawsuit was public information, just like the AtPac lawsuit against the county. Why wait?
In the end, the DA never saw fit to file charges, and The Union got around to writing about the lawsuit (after it appeared here first).
“Also want to reiterate AGAIN that in my two-plus years here, Jeff A has never forced me to write a story that supported his politics, which as many know can be counter to most of those on the editorial staff,” Liz added. “If I find info that hurts his stated position, I write it with no repercussions.”
OK. Thanks. Good to know.
Local Tom Dalldorf, a regular reader and publisher of the Celebrator Beer News, the first and most successful “brewspaper” in the land, send this along. “We have two goats and are hoping the month with ‘stinky the buck’ will make them mommies in the spring,” he adds. LOL.
KVIE has scheduled Huell Howser’s California’s Gold “Cornish Christmas” for December 23 at 9 PM.
“He meets the descendants of the original Cornish Carol Choir of Grass Valley for a re-enactment of their 1940 concert.”
I’m a big fan of Huell’s program, and this is well-deserved visibility for the Cornish Carol Choir.
Jerry Brown is planning a sweeping cost-cutting plan — more ambitious than most people think — to help combat a more than $25 billion shortfall when he becomes governor on Jan. 3, according to my sources.
An “internal” goal: slim government by 20 percent in as little as 1 year.
Some cutbacks being quietly discussed in Sacramento and by his transition team include:
•Whole-sale elimination of some departments and agencies. Brown will achieve this by declining to name heads of these agencies, and instead incorporate them into other groups. This means no legislative action will be necessary. One possible target: The California EPA, where as many as 120 high-level jobs would be reduced.
•Brown also wants to use the constitutional officers — Attorney General, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer — as an “extended” cabinet, helping to consolidate functions.
•There are high-level negotiations with state worker unions to cut more than $200 billion in state pension obligations by mutual agreement in the first weeks of the administration.
•Plans to sharply expand economic development, led by regional-based strategies. The goal: increase employment by 1 million jobs in as little as 2 years.
•The Sierra region will get more of a voice in Brown’s administration, with some people with strong connections to the the region in the running for Resources Secretary.
All along, I have been counting on Brown to get the job done with an “insider’s” know-how, rather than just pounding sand with the labor unions and other groups — a plan that has failed.
I have run into and interviewed Brown over the years, and he signed my UC Berkeley diploma: His knowledge of the state’s inner workings should be an asset, not a liability.