The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The Sacramento Bee has decided to help out the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by distracting attention from it; the Bee has just issued its own insane, ludicrous, and blood-pressure-tripling decision. Dan Weintraub, who has been following the recall campaign like Saul Panzer and who is presumably the only reason to pay attention to the Bee -- I doubt I will order a subscription to peruse their Style section -- has been muzzled.

Weintraub blogged that Cruz Bustamante would be an unknown were he not Latino. The head of the Latino caucus objected to the idea that Bustamante received special treatment due to his ethnicity, and made his unhappiness known to the Bee. So the Bee prohibited Weintraub from publishing unedited -- which for all practical purposes means that he may not operate a blog. I mean, he may have the same URL and the same layout, but if you have to ask "may I" and wait six hours to be published, you're not blogging.

Incredibly, Bee ombudsman Tony Marcano spent about twenty paragraphs patting himself and his paper on the back for the decision to put a leash on Weintraub. I quote two choice sentences:

That doesn't necessarily mean that Weintraub's blog should have been reworded, but an editor should at least have had the opportunity to question his conclusions.

What could possibly have been the purpose of "questioning his conclusions" but to intimate that Weintraub cannot say certain things because they might offend the politically powerful? Weintraub said that Bustamante benefited from being a Latino. Given that he belonged as an assemblyman to the Latino Political Caucus, and given that the head of said Latino Political Caucus had a hissy fit and complained to Weintraub's boss, is not Weintraub's opinion at least plausible?

If, like my wife, you are prone to occasional stomach upset, you may want to read this next bit with your hand firmly clamped over your mouth.

I hope that The Bee considers that its credibility is worth more than the cost of one full-time employee.

Hell, I would hope that The Bee considers its credibility worth more that than the cost of irritating a key member of the political establishment. Guess not.

Imagine if Weintraub had written something nasty about Schwarzenegger and a high muckity-muck in the California Republican party had protested that Weintraub needed an editor. The Bee would have written many columns about their heroic refusal to be censored. The amount of self-congratulation involved would probably have killed two or three innocent bystanders. Let's all repeat after me: "There is no liberal media bias."



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