Lies, lies and more lies

Why is it that the highest traffic posts on the hard right political blogs often are the ones where we are forced to go there to defend ourselves against lies — not the ones about the issues? It’s a recurring theme.

It’s one thing to lie that I am a “local leftie” — when I am a moderate who has voted for Republicans and Democrats during my life. To the hard right, I suppose anything to your left is, well, “leftist.”

But here’s an example of a more serious allegation — that I used LSD in my youth — from none other than “John S” on Russ Steele’s blog. I was forced to go there to defend myself:

•JohnS said in reply to jeff pelline…
Good grief, Peline is whacked. Maybe he is having flashbacks from the LSD he did in his youth.

•jeff pelline said…
Please retract that false, libelous statement. Thanks!

•JohnS said in reply to jeff pelline…
Please consider my statement fully retracted. I don’t know what I was thinking.

The details are here.

This does not happen in a vacuum — and it has been going on in our community for a long time.

I partly blame the tenure of our Congressman Tom McClintock and Assemblyman Dan Logue for this highly charged atmosphere in the blogosphere. Their own rhetoric is highly pitched, and they do not lead by example.

In fact, Logue and McClintock both have publicly praised the hard right blogs, just egging them on. One example: “I was surprised when Dan stop mid speech to recognize NC Media Watch’s contribution to the Prop 23 battle,” writes Russ.

“Contribution?” Hardly. Go back and read the personal attacks.

Sacramento Connect has added legitimacy to the hard right political blogs by accepting them into the blogging network, despite recent concerns raised about bigotry, for example. They need to tighten up their terms.

The Union and KVMR has given a platform to some of the same people, without providing a counter opinion.

Many people greatly misunderstand what the First Amendment does — and does not — provide protections for.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

58 thoughts on “Lies, lies and more lies”

  1. I posted the following over on Russ’ blog:

    “How about you both (or all) actually go one step further and agree that neither of you will allow references to the others on their blogs. I have long felt that this war should end, and have put “truce” terms on the table several times. Perhaps its time everyone agreed to just shut up about about each other (pelline, enos, me, barry, george, russ, todd, dixie, galt, spencer, light, goodknight…everyone) back off an call a truce. The blogging hosts would have to agree to enforce it. Perhaps then the blogs could get back to debating ideas instead of people. Last time I laid this solution on the table it was roundly rejected. By the way, this is a proposal for multilateral disarmament. If its is unilateral it does not work.”

    I post the same challenge here–multilateral truce–no references to individuals for two weeks, only a debate of issues, with no personal references.

  2. Steve: Once again I agree with you. I enjoyed discussing issues with you and Tony Waters, as I enjoy commenting on NC Media Watch. I tried to participate in the discussion on this blog, but it always degenerated into people casting me in a false light or starting on the mantra “you lost every precinct” blah blah blah.

    I know that a lot of people read these blogs and are afraid to comment for that very reason. I, for one, will not be intimidated and will defend myself aggressively. Again, I agree that that can be a character flaw…maybe something we picked up in Chicago?!

    I personally welcome all to discuss issues and urge others to debate the issues and attack neither the messenger or nor their motivations.

    1. Barry,

      You should hang around more over here, the discussions do get lively but we do our best to stay focused. These folks in the middle are very tough on those of us on the right, so you have to have some tough skin though.


      PS: I think we covered this once before but I should make it clear that I never sign any post “JohnS”

      1. No, John, you would never make such a statement. That’s why I welcome your participation.

    2. Barry,
      You ran for public office, and you did lose every precinct. It’s a fact. That’s different that alleging you used LSD as a youth (which I’m sure you did not).
      People do not know when they have crossed a line. This has been a tactic over on the hard right blogs for many years. It has been condoned by their political allies for many years too, going back to the days of NH2020.
      It also has been a tactic in some of the local political campaigns — this time on both sides — going well beyond “Your mother wears Army boots.”
      I believe some of your own rhetoric in your campaign for clerk recorder, as well as the entry of Todd Junivall into the blogosphere has added to, not detracted from, this.
      I believe the rhetoric of Tom McClintock (let’s unseat that “left wing” clerk recorder, or let’s “agitate”) has added to this. I believe Dan Logue praising the hard-right bloggers for their “contribution” also has been counterproductive.
      You say you urge others to debate the issues, not attack the messenger. Then you need to practice what you preach.
      As for Steve’s request to not make references to the other’s blogs, I’m all for it — and always have been. Trouble is, you are sometimes forced to go there to defend yourself against lies about whether you used illegal drugs, your employment and other matters. The discussion is totally unmoderated. I will not stand for that.

      1. Since you moved to Nevada County, you have been attacking people in a very personal manner. You are omitting your personal responsibility in this state of affairs.

    3. Barry,
      I can’t speak for your one-time blog, but 22,000 people have commented here with signed names. You have proven to be one of the biggest bomb-throwers at times. The overwhelming majority of the discussion is civil, respectful and insightful.

      1. Barry,
        Your idea of “pointing out hypocrisy” is really thinly veiled anger for supporting your opponent in the clerk recorder’s race and criticizing our current Congressman, who helps support your family. My criticism of some people in this county is directed at the very type of behavior that you have sometimes exhibited. Thankfully, it is the exception, not the rule.

  3. Jeff: By requiring posters to your blog to list an actual working email address and list a non-fictitious name you promote decent debate. Any blog or newpaper that allows posting by a fictitious name is doing noting but promoting libel, slander and lies. If a poster does not have the courage to own their own statements the statements are not wort publishing.

  4. Mr. Pruett, you can spit out all sorts of unmidigated, chest thumping twaddle on an unmoderated blog, all day, if you like…but from what I’ve seen cruising the internets and the media, as I am wont to do at times…devisive and negative is the very epitome of false absurdisms I’ve encountered on ultra rightwing blogs…including false and childish claims about LSD use, childish racial epithets galore and moreover, this smacks of schoolyard bullying and jealousy with regard to Mr. Pellines successfull and moderated blog that includes the integrity of real life names. It also occurs to me that Mr. Frisch is getting flack for running his own successful venture and livelihood, something that should be esteemed and affirmed in your exceedingly conservative and limited estimations. As for my views and as for personal–I, as they say, have lived a life. The good, the bad, the drunken(drank some great wine with friends. Have you ever been to the Coppola Vineyard, Jeff?) and I was a product of the 80’s so what can I say? I never did try hallucinogenics though. My father was a cop. I was terrified when I tried marijuana…and I would venture to say I experimented with all the old, ols school, middle america faithfuls. That doesn’t make one mentally ill, everyone under 50 would be considered so–having lived a large life does make one hip to the deal, however. All of it…and pushers of poison aren’t neccessarily on a street corner…they are in all shapes, sizes, colors, (even pink), ages and many are very, very conservative. Surprise.

  5. And, just my opinion of course, but if you wanna see “spun and done” ala xanax look no further than the likes of Ms. Michelle Bachmann…which should be no suprise at all bruthas…

  6. I still contend it could be very simple; the moderators, and that includes our esteemed host Mr. Pelline, and others, bounce the comments that are personally directed.

    I truly value a deep discussion of the issues. I even admire the intellectual power that the George’s and Russ’s (and the Barry’s) of the world bring to the table, because it forces me to hone my edge, to be ready for challenge, and may even change my mind. That does not mean that if one crosses the line (which i truly believe George has on race) I will not call them on it.

    To achieve a higher plane here it will require that the moderators bounce the inappropriate comments. Jeff, it will also require that we all take personal responsibility. Can’t we just get over the point that you and Barry were on different sides of the Clerk-Recorder race? I agree with Barry that by continually bringing up the “lost every precinct” thing you are just baiting Barry. And Barry, a word of advice. I vote for Ted Owens. Many of us can vote for a Republican if they REPRESENT us. I really don’t give a damn for party, I care about the person. I cannot vote for anyone who does not respect me and represent me. That does not mean agree. If you seek a political future in our community, respect is more important than agreement.

    The bottom line is a big part of the “cross the divide” discussion is not working. A world where like minded liberals and conservatives just talk to themselves is boring and sterile.

    It would benefit all of us if we could find a way to make this work.

      1. I’m really with Steve and John on this one, too. This blog often has really stimulating thoughtful comments from a variety of viewpoints. That is why I keep coming back. In fact, I find myself coming less when it degenerates to a “neener-neener, McClintock is carpet-bagger discussion.”

        I have particularly enjoyed it when you get thoughtful representatives of surprisingly different perspectives. The discussions that Kim Pruett (McClintock’s aide), and Ben Emery (McClintock’s one-time and perhaps future opponent) are particularly noteworthy. Jeff, I hope that you encourage other people who are politically active to contribute in this fashion.

      2. Thanks Tony,
        I enjoy John Stoos and Kim’s comments (albeit when they are not of a political nature).

      3. John and Tony,
        I’m glad you brought this up: We very well could see Tom McClintock, Wally Herger and a GOP moderate all vying for a political seat in our district next time around. I think it’s a big reason why there’s friction and vitriole bubbling up from the hard right ranks, often rearing its head on this blog.

      4. Jeff,

        There is plenty of room in the north for Tom and Wally.

        The fun is going to be watching the battles among the various Democrats in the Bay Area fight over a shrinking number of districts.


    1. Steve,
      I’m happy to accept this proposal.
      But let’s not get too “la dee da” here.
      •Most of the un-constructive dialogue and vitriole in this community nowadays comes from the hard right and global warming denialists, including some of the people who are called out regularly here. Some of them are moderated for the ongoing personal attacks. The leadership from our Congressman, Tom McClintock, is to insult our clerk recorder and call for “agitation.” I reported this. As for me, I never accused anybody of being on drugs in their youth or said they were fired from their job when they weren’t, or told their blogger friends to “get a hotel room.” I never set up a fake anonymous Twitter account to mock anybody and their family, I never signed up anybody for unwanted magazine subscriptions, and I never drew a cartoon that exaggerated somebody’s weight. Nobody ever left a goat’s head at my door, but they did at the local Democrat headquarters. I’m just reporting things the way I see them — and I’m obviously not alone. The internet is opening up new communication channels. As for politics, the people who are regularly labeled as extreme “lefties” (and who also believe in human global warming) wind up going on peace marches. Sort of a big difference, isn’t it? So yes, I’m onto something — always have been.
      •This blog is growing: It will break another monthly record this month. We have standards that include signed comments (more than 22,000 of them now) and we moderate when it’s necessary. I would not allow anybody to make some of the comments that appear on the other blogs — or even in the local newspaper.
      •Suit yourself, but I have no interest in participating in the other blogs you mention and never have. I normally go there to defend myself against personal attacks and lies. Otherwise, it’s like talking to a wall. I find the bigotry that is sometimes expressed appalling.
      •The county is going “purple;” McClintock will be more aggressively challenged when he comes up for re-election because moderate GOPers are frustrated with him; and we are embracing, not shunning, green and sustainability (just like the rest of California). In short, all the issues that are discussed here more accurately reflect the diversity of our whole county, not a narrow view. The success of this blog is grassroots and “market driven,” not based on an old boys network.

    2. Steve,

      “I really don’t give a damn for party, I care about the person. I cannot vote for anyone who does not respect me and represent me. That does not mean agree. If you seek a political future in our community, respect is more important than agreement.”

      This is the very thing we believed our campaign was bringing to the people. We respected our 4th district neighbors by being honest of what I stood for and what I would fight for as their representative. I don’t remember ever speaking ill of my opponents other than to point out their lack of time and understanding of the district, which is a true statement.

      We all agree on so much more than we realize but have been divided on purpose so we will not unite to throw the status quo out of power.

      1. John is acting like I’ve never voted for a moderate republican in my life either…actually I have…and would be pleased to see moderates in the mix again in our precious central California…it is a most welcome political development…and bodes well for our collective futures…

  7. Someone at The Union commenting section published Jeff’s neighborhood and the boat in the yard. I pointed out as abuse and Tom harbet removed it. happened two days ago.

  8. If we do not believe in redemption and reconciliation who are we? In the end, we all live here, love our place, raise our families here, and are one community. We are here because we chose to be.

    I’m throwing the challenge out there. I know George, Russ , Todd read this blog. It out there guys. How about it? Two weeks? Issues not personalities?

  9. I’ve been guilty of throwing stones at specific Union posters, but I’ve always tried to be careful to just throw them at what I call the “clowns” (and they usually put the verbiage of Lib Sap somewhere in their posts).

    I’ve also liked to point of the fallacies of their thought process and detail what I understand their points to be, especially when their own personal actions are in direct conflict to what they say.

    I personally love it when they try to tell someone like myself what their sense of reality is in areas such as farm water usage, as well as what needs to be done to fix the situation (with not supplying the farming community with whatever water they want at the cost to the environment) as I have a graduate degree in a specific field who’s emphasis is hydrology and water usage, and their qualifications are that they directed planes spraying in the fields of the central valley….

    These people first talk, when many times they should do what most lawyers tell their clients (Just listen and shut the hell up!!!!! LOL!!!) before they put their foot in their mouths.

    Now, I like the ability to have a clear concise discussion, but when this happens they usually try to tell me that I’m wrong (being a engineer this doesn’t usually set well with me) rather than trying to say that they disagree with my premise based upon the following thoughts / data / ideas.

    I remember the one quote that the Dali Lama said is that we can do more working from the areas that we agree upon, then from the areas where we don’t……

  10. Jeff, for clarity…

    Regarding Your Comment: “Nobody ever left a goat’s head at my door, but they did at the local Democrat headquarters.”

    You were/are correct in reporting the goat head incident, and the action will not be forgotten any time soon. It should be noted that the location also housed McClintock’s primary opponent in the 2008 election, the Charlie Brown Campaign in Nevada County.

    1. Thanks Curtis. BTW, here’s an anonymous comment I received today that I declined to post:
      “We all look forward to reading your obituary, you useless sack of s***.” You get the point.

  11. Let’s remember these words in regard to the rw in California: Those who refuse to make peaceful resolution possible, will attempt to make violent revolution inevitable…ala Dutton and his 53 demands on Friday…and old goat heads…so Awww snap…gotta show em the hand…Kate

  12. “The Union and KVMR has given a platform to some of the same people, without providing a counter opinion.”

    That is simply not true.

    KVMR provides a forum for diverse opinions and invites a rebuttal response after George Rebane’s commentaries.

    Jeff, please set the record straight

    1. Paul,
      Where’s the regularly scheduled counter opinion to George Rebane on the news show? For me, it was a royal pain to lobby here once for Steve Frisch to rebut George for his inflammatory commentary on Prop. 23? It’s a cop out to just say we “invite” rebuttal. Provide it to begin with. That’s what we pay news directors or editors for.

    2. Actually Paul I totally agree that KVMR provides a counter opinion to Mr. Rebane’s opinions, and that those counter opinions do not necessarily need to be directly related to his commentaries, they can come over time through the other programming on the station. I think Jeff should set the record straight.

      But please tell me, what is the “counter opinion” to bigotry?

      If we can express any view if we provide a counter opinion would you welcome a commentator that advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government, NAMBLA, or eugenics?

      Can you set the record straight regarding the inconsistency between KVMR’s stated mission and Mr. Rebane’s record of comment on the station and in the community through other venues?

      KVMR’s stated mission is “A vibrant community is well informed and involved, embraces diversity, respectfully shares opinions and fosters economic and social justice.”

      KVMR’s values are stated partly as:

      “Promotes positive social values including equality, diversity, non-violence, a sustainable environment, and social and economic justice.”

      How do you countenance Mr. Rebane calling Muslims “ragheads” with your mission to embrace diversity, and respectfully share opinions? or your values to promote positive social values?

      KVMR should not be a platform for bigotry, nor should it be providing a public microphone for someone who regularly expresses bigoted views in the community.

      Freedom of speech is not the issue here–your station has a right to control content–the issue is how you choose to program.

      1. Well apparently Jeff and I disagree on the timing of counter opinions. I’ll let the two of you discuss that one while I focus on the whole BIGOT part.

      2. My point has been the same all along: It’s a cop out to say we “invite” counter opinion. Of course you do. No one wouldn’t.
        What’s important is whether your regularly scheduled programming on the news hour includes a George Rebane opposite. It isn’t the movie reviewer, who is George’s replacement on alternative Fridays.
        As for the bigot part, I’ve clearly stated my views on that. In fact, I generally stopped listening to KVMR’s news hour after that one. I figured it was a “window” into the management’s mindset. The inaction reminded me of the RL Crabb cartoon in The Union, just sweep it under the rug. At least The Union and KVMR are consistent. Come to think of it, George is a regular commentator in The Union too. And most everybody involved is friends. It’s a “free market,” as Marc Cuniberti would put it, to find other sources. In fact, local news is ubiquitous, thanks to all the internet sources. I find and the government websites very informative for meetings and minutes. YubaNet runs a lot of local press releases. And there’s lots of weather and outage websites, from PG&E to CHP and Caltrans. It’s all there (and more) on NCVoices, the aggregation website.

        Regular News Commentators:
        6:25 PM Monday On The Couch with Dr. Josie Gibb, LMFT
        6:25 PM Tuesday Marc Cuniberti with Money Matters Minutes
        6:25 PM Wednesday Mark Staneart, Local Views of the Gnus
        6:25 PM Thursday Molly Fisk’s Radio Essays on KVMR
        6:25 PM Friday (Alternate) Gary Chew’s Movie Review’s on KVMR
        6:25 PM Friday (Alternate) George Rebane, Commentaries
        7:30 AM Monday-Friday Travus T. Hipp with
        All The News Your Never Knew You Needed To Know Until Now

  13. I guess KVMR’s management and board just don’t care.

    They’ve had two weeks to take action. We know that at a minimum 2 board members and 2 staff read the original posts about George’s record of bigotry. There has been no response.

    Jeff, perhaps we should start a countdown, like on Olberman for Iraq, or Nightline for the Iranian hostage crises.

    The countdown would be the “Total Number of Days KVMR Accepts Bigotry Before Rebane Goes So Far On Air That He Will Have to Resign “

  14. It’s so weird. I thought public radio stations had higher standards, like PBS does for television.
    The argument has been made that public broadcasting no longer needs government funding.
    Maybe that’s a good thing.
    For instance, Sesame Street makes many millions from their product sales so perhaps it could be self-supporting.

    KVMR does not measure up to other public radio stations I have listened to. KHSU from Humboldt State is excellent. Of course, it is based at a university, an educational setting, so the programming is naturally going to be of better quality.

    Maybe KVMR will improve with time. Until then, I am not a member, supporter or listener.

    1. Re: KHSU from Humboldt State is excellent.

      My daughter is a graduate of HSU — A number of years ago and now resides in Portland. She still listens mainly to KHSU so the must be doing something that our local community station could emulate.

  15. I agree, that KVMR doesn’t measure up to other public radio stations. Not even close! They are so much better!!! I am a member, supporter, volunteer and look forward to being a part for years to come. I am curious, though, how Rebane was ever given an opportunity to spew? Of course they could increase their knowledge of local history…too.

  16. Jon, Steve,
    Sorry, not even.
    You have that complacency thing, endemic of the insular, small town view.
    KVMR is doodley squat.
    You need to get out more.

  17. Thanks, Jon, Steve and Judith. It is a good discussion.
    It does bring to mind an issue I often mull: How long do you live in our neck of the woods when instead of asking “Why not?” you just ask “Why”?

  18. Before the family stage of my life I worked and traveled a bunch and have listened to many local public radio stations and KVMR is one of the best. I agree with being disgusted with the racist bigotry but have the attitude that KVMR listeners are hearing how others believe and think in their community.

    Charles Barkley is pretty low on the list of athletes I respect but he once said about bigots has stuck with me for a long time. He said something like he liked living in the south much better because the racism and bigotry was out in the open and he knew where he stood with the people. Where as other places in the country people would be nice to him in person but would be against him once he left the room.

  19. Keachie,

    Wow, KSAN, those were the days.
    Does anyone remember KFAT out of Gilroy?
    I was a “Fathead” until the station shut down, it was the coolest!

  20. I am sorry to read about Mark Staneart.
    The Union article did not say what kind of accident he had.

  21. Poor Judith. I guess she’s having a bad day. I live my life, happily, today and for the future, not in the past. “You have that complacency thing endemic of the insular, small town view”. “You need to get out more”. Oh, really? Tell me more about myself… please.

  22. Nothing poor about me Jon, except the town I live in.
    And yes, I am googling real estate elsewhere.

    It’s going to be an interesting experiment to see if an entire town can be run on charitable donations.

  23. Life’s what you make of it no matter where you choose to hang your hat. I hope you find happiness… somewhere.

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