September 27, 2003

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? Part CCCCLXIX

Whopper of the Week Department: Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub on California governor candidate Tom McClintock's performance in last Wednesday's debate:

September 24: [Tom] McClintock demonstrated his encyclopedic knowledge of state government, steady and stable as usual, but didn't do anything to wow you...

September 27: McClintock's [claims would]... get a serious candidate in serious trouble. His contention... that he could cut $18 billion [ a year] in bureaucratic waste... "without breaking a sweat"... laughable...most of what the state spends from its $71 billion general fund goes to people providing services... teachers and doctors... directly to the poor... welfare... aged, blind and disabled...

Can't the Sacramento Bee find somebody to fill Weintraub's space who (a) knows the California state budget, (b) knows the California state regulatory apparatus, (c) knows the California state politicians, and (d) can remember what he himself wrote between Wednesday night and Saturday morning?

UPDATE: The other thing I want to know is: how does Weintraub learn that the party line has changed? And when, exactly, does it change? Wednesday night McClintock was somebody whose "laughable" claims about the budget, claims that would "get a serious candidate in serious trouble," were to be passed over in silence while hacks praised "his encyclopedic knowledge of state government" and called him "steady and stable." But by Saturday morning McClintock was a nut-boy who needed to be driven out of the California governor's race as rapidly as possible.

Does Weintraub decide all on his own that he needs to make of himself a public laughingstock? Normal people who say "Oceania is at war with Eastasia" on Wednesday do not--as a rule--suddenly and spontaneously decide on Saturday morning to say "Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia."

Posted by DeLong at September 27, 2003 06:29 PM | TrackBack


Brad, is it possible that he was ignorant and foolish, and that somebody sat him down with the state budget figures in that time period? Then he might well have realaized that he had been BS'd, and was mad.

Posted by: Barry on September 28, 2003 06:00 AM


Please make him stop. He's giving hacks a bad name!

Posted by: Hackenkaus on September 28, 2003 06:46 AM


Barry, that is certainly possible. But if this is the case, Weintraub should say, "I was ignorant and foolish when I praised McClintock the other day, and meanwhile someone sat me down with the state budget figures, so I changed my mind."

Instead, it's as if the previous comment never existed.

Posted by: edub on September 28, 2003 06:52 AM


"Please make him stop. He's giving hacks a bad name!"

This is the signature of radical right hackery, the hackery take marching orders from radical right central. Some in the hackery are not bright enough to "get" the orders quickly enough, but central control persists and the whole hackery comes round. We love radical right hickory hackery. Yuch.

Posted by: lise on September 28, 2003 09:10 AM


ebdub, perhaps because he didn't want to look more foolish. He figured most readers wouldn't notice.

Posted by: Barry on September 28, 2003 11:56 AM


In your gleeful zeal to "get" Weintraub, you appear to have overlooked the obvious: both entries were accurate. There is nothing contradictory about saying that McClintock demonstrated an encyclopedic knowledge of the budget Wednesday night (which he did), while also pointing out that he took liberties with some of those issues (which he also did).

Posted by: Xrlq on September 29, 2003 09:32 AM


I want to be perfectly clear about this. Brad, you are being a jerk. Weintraub is not a member of the vast right wing conspiracy that exists only in your mind. He is an reporter who is blogging about the most important story at the moment in real time. As Xlrq pointed, both of his comments can be true.

It could be said that you are trying to "silence" the most informative reporter in the country who has been honest about his bias throughout. I ask again, when can we get a more honest Brad De Long?

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