The Union lets a “few dozen” people guide its front-page news judgment. Argh.

A few dozen people gathered Wednesday at the intersection of Brunswick Road and Sutton Way in Grass Valley to take part in a “Stop the Steal” pro-Trump protest while the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C., was stormed by rioters opposing the election of President-elect Joe Biden,” The Union reported in a Page One, above-the-fold news article.

How’s that for sending “A Clear Message” about editorial bias?

Twitter, Facebook lock President Trump’s accounts amid D.C. riots

“Twitter locked President Trump out of his account for the first time, the most punitive step the social media giant has taken against the president, on a day of social unrest and violence in Washington,” as The Washington Post is reporting.

“The lockout, which will last for 12 hours, also included the removal of three tweets and a warning that Trump could be subject to a permanent suspension if he continues tweeting baseless conspiracy theories about the election and inciting violence.

Facebook followed, blocking the president’s account for the first time for 24 hours for what it said were two policy violations, although it didn’t threaten permanent suspension. It also said it was blocking his Facebook-owned Instagram account.

“The social media giants’ actions were the strongest volleys after a year of heightened tension between Silicon Valley and Trump. They came after months of struggling to combat baseless allegations of a stolen election long stoked by Trump and his allies.”

The rest of the article is here.

USA Today: Trump triggers the carnage he vowed to stop

“In a divided America, the events that unfolded on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon should unite us all. In a universal sense of national shame and embarrassment,” according to the editorial board of USA Today.

“Under President Donald Trump, the United States — historically a beacon of freedom and citadel of liberty — has devolved into a shocking exemplar of dysfunction. Democracies around the world, those established and those fledgling, could only look on in horror at the televised images of a pro-Trump mob storming the august American center of government, crowding its balustrades, smashing windows, flooding into its statuary hall.

“Congratulations, Mr. Trump. Our Shining City on the Hill is now a tarnished emblem of national disgrace. The American carnage you promised to eradicate at the beginning of your term has turned to reality at the end of it.”

“The scenes looked like something out of a bad action movie: Rioters descending on the Capitol. Armed but outnumbered security forces barricading themselves with weapons drawn, firing teargas and hustling members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to safety. A woman shot at the Capitol, later pronounced dead. And, in an iconic image of pure insurrection, a smug protester sitting in the president’s chair in the evacuated Senate Chamber.

“But there’s little question about what triggered it.

“Just before Congress gathered in a joint session for the ministerial task of counting the electoral votes showing that Joe Biden was elected the next president of the United States, Trump spouted his rancid conspiracy theories about a stolen election at a rally on the White House Ellipse.

“He closed his remarks by egging his followers to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol and make their grievances known. “We’re just going to try and give (Republicans in Congress) the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country,” Trump exhorted them.

“And they followed his every word.”

The rest of the editorial is here.

NYT: Trump is to blame for Capitol attack

“President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress incited a violent attack Wednesday against the government they lead and the nation they profess to love. This cannot be allowed to stand,” The New York Times is reporting in an editorial.

“Mr. Trump’s seditious rhetoric prompted a mob of thousands of people to storm the U.S. Capitol building, some breaking onto the House and Senate floors, where the nation’s elected representatives had gathered to perform their constitutional duty of counting electoral votes and confirming the election of Joe Biden as president.

“It is fitting that some carried the Confederate flag as they attacked the seat of American government and forced the suspension of congressional debate. They shattered windows and broke doors, clashing with overwhelmed security forces as they shouted their support for Mr. Trump and their defiance of the lawful results of the 2020 election. One woman was killed. The nation’s leaders were sent scurrying for shelter.

“Explosives were found in the Capitol and multiple locations around Washington. Pro-Trump protests also shut down statehouses around the country.

“Mr. Trump sparked these assaults. He has railed for months against the verdict rendered by voters in November. He summoned his supporters to gather in Washington on this day, and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. He told them that the election was being stolen. He told them to fight. He told them he might join them and, even as they stormed the building, he declined for long hours to tell them to stop, to condemn their actions, to raise a finger in defense of the Constitution that he swore to preserve and protect. When he finally spoke, late in the day, he affirmed the protesters’ anger, telling them again that the election was stolen, but asking them to go home anyway. It was the performance of a man unwilling to fulfill his duties as president or to confront the consequences of his own behavior.

“The president needs to be held accountable — through impeachment proceedings or criminal prosecution — and the same goes for his supporters who carried out the violence. In time, there should be an investigation of the failure of the Capitol Police to prepare for an attack that was announced and planned in public.

“The Constitution requires Congress to count and announce the results of a presidential election on Jan. 6 of the following year. While the mob was able to put that process on hold, it will not be able to prevent it, or Mr. Biden’s inauguration in two weeks.

“But the attack is a reminder of the fragility of self-government.

“Jan. 6, 2021, will go down as a dark day. The question is whether, even as Mr. Trump’s time in office ends, America is at the beginning of a descent into an even darker and more divided epoch or the end of one. The danger is real, but the answer is not foreordained. Republican politicians have the power, and the responsibility, to chart a different course by ending their rhetorical assaults on American democracy and rising in defense of the nation they swore oaths to serve.”

The rest of the editorial is here.

Capitol on lockdown as pro-Trump protestors try to break into the building

“Supporters of President Donald Trump have breached the US Capitol, according to Capitol police officers, as lawmakers count the Electoral College votes certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win,” as CNN is reporting.

“Pro-Trump protesters pushed through barriers set up along the perimeter of the Capitol, where they tussled with officers in full riot gear, some calling the officers ‘traitors’ for doing their jobs.

“Police said demonstrators got into the building and the doors to the House and Senate were being locked. Video from inside the Capitol showed Trump supporters marching through Statuary Hall.

“The US Capitol Police is asking for additional law enforcement for assistance, including federal authorities, per a source familiar.

“The source says there are several suspicious devices outside the Capitol building. The protesters have breached exterior security barriers, and video footage shows protesters gathering and some clashing with police near the Capitol building. CNN’s team on the ground saw a number of protestors trying to go up the side of the Capitol building. Several loud flash bangs have been heard.

More details from The Hill including, “(Congress) Members, and those present currently have tear gas masks in their laps.” And “Vice President Pence was removed from the Senate chamber.”

The 10-year Stacey Abrams project to flip Georgia has nearly come to fruition

“As Democrats inched closer to flipping both of Georgia’s Senate seats from the incumbent Republicans, credit began to flow to one person broadly acknowledged as being most responsible for Georgia’s new status as a Democratic state: Stacey Abrams,” as The New York Times is reporting this morning.

“Ms. Abrams, the former minority leader of the Georgia state House, has spent a decade building a Democratic political infrastructure in the state, first with her New Georgia Project and now with Fair Fight, the voting rights organization she founded in the wake of her losing campaign for governor in 2018.

“Late Tuesday night, Ms. Abrams came close to declaring victory in a tweet that praised the thousands of ‘organizers, volunteers, canvassers & tireless groups’ who helped rebuild the state’s Democratic Party from the rump it was when she became the state House minority leader in 2011.’

“While Ms. Abrams is widely expected to run for governor again in 2022, she is at the moment one of the most influential American politicians not in elected office. It was her political infrastructure and strategy of increasing turnout among the state’s Black, Latino and Asian voters that laid the groundwork for both President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in November and the Democrats’ performance in the Senate races.Ms. Abrams was not alone in Georgia, of course: Numerous other Black women have led a decades-long organizing effort to transform the state’s electorate.”

The rest of the article is here.

Warnock wins his Georgia Senate runoff; Ossoff winning too

“The Rev. Raphael Warnock won one of Georgia’s two Senate runoffs, which will make him the first Black senator from that state and puts Democrats within reach of controlling the Senate, a key victory for President-elect Joe Biden,” as The Los Angeles Times is reporting.

“Georgia, I am honored by the faith you have shown in me,” Warnock said in a video statement. “I am going to the Senate to work for all of Georgia.”

“In the state’s other race, Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican David Perdue, whose Senate term expired Sunday, remained neck and neck with thousands of votes yet to be tallied.”

“Ossoff‘s campaign issued a statement early Wednesday morning saying that ‘when all the votes are counted, we fully expect that Jon Ossoff will have won.’ He led by about 3,500 votes with about 97% of the vote counted.

“As his statement noted, most of the remaining uncounted votes in the state were from the Atlanta and Savannah regions — areas where Democrats have piled up significant majorities. That has given Democrats reason for optimism about their chances of winning Senate control.”

The rest of the article is here.

Update at 12:15 a.m.:

Jon Ossoff beats Sen. David Perdue, handing Democrats control of the Senate, according to Vox.

Newspaper memory lane in the New Year

I worked at The San Francisco Chronicle for about 12 years in the ’80s and ’90s. It was good times: commuting to work on a cable car; dinner at the Washbag (AKA Washington Square Bar and Grill); good assignments (flying to London to interview Richard Branson); helping to publish an edition during the 1989 earthquake with a small backup generator; living in a studio on Nob Hill; and best of all, meeting and marrying Shannon and starting our life together (this time in a one-bedroom apartment with a fireplace and parking place, no less) on Telegraph Hill.

I revisited that Golden Era this week as most of my remaining friends and former colleagues at The Chronicle left after taking voluntary buyouts: Kathleen Pender, business columnist and former business editor; Peter Fimrite, the lead science writer whose dad, Ron, also worked at the paper, as well as Sports Illustrated; and Henry Schulman, the longtime Giants beat reporter (whom I’d see when I went to Spring Training in Scottsdale); among many others.

Like other businesses, The Chronicle is suffering in the COVID-19 era, and it is cutting back. As the newspaper reported in October: “Hearst, the owner of The Chronicle, offered employees voluntary buyouts Tuesday in an effort to cut its expenses as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic and the outlook for many businesses remained unclear.”

This week on Facebook, we shared the memories and good times as those who accepted the buyout left. In today’s fashion, those who are leaving said their goodbyes on a Zoom videoconference.

The Chronicle is not alone in cutting back. “Here are the newsroom layoffs, furloughs and closures caused by the coronavirus,” the media website Poynter.org reported, adding “We’re still updating the list.”

Poynter.org continued: “It’s getting hard to keep track of the bad news about the news right now. But we have to. Here’s our attempt to collect the layoffs, furloughs, and closures caused by the coronavirus’ critical blow to the economy and journalism in the United States. Please send tips. We’ll try to keep up.”

I thought about some of the stories I wrote when I was at The Chronicle. One example, from 1996: “Pacific Bell has struck a $50 million, 24-year agreement with the Giants to sponsor the new ballpark planned for China Basin, and it will be called Pacific Bell Park, The Chronicle has learned.”

Another was Kathleen Pender’s reporting on San Francisco-based Charles Schwab buying his firm back from Bank of America and taking it public in ’87. Later she interviewed him for the firm’s 40th anniversary.

I found some photos of Mr. Schwab from then and now. He’s aged well, I think, and he hasn’t lost his competitive spirit.

This fall, Kathleen wrote about Schwab closing on its deal to buy TD Ameritrade for $22 billion, its fourth acquisition this year alone. How’s that for coming full circle?

Happy New Year!

“’The Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration presented by Honda,’ will feature a reimagined New Year celebration, including live-to-tape musical and marching band performances, heartwarming segments related to the Rose Parade, celebrity guest appearances, special Rose Bowl Game football highlights, equestrians, spectacular floats from years past, a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a float and you will have a chance to be part of the show.” — Pasadena Tournament of Roses