Speaking of New Media: If there was any remaining doubt that everyone is a journalist in the age of new media, Willie Brown erased it once and for all during his welcoming comments at his big election day Breakfast Club event in San Francisco Tuesday.
Brown, who previously held such exalted positions as Speaker of the Assembly and Lord Mayor of San Francisco, since retiring from politics has added a lofty new title: Item-Grubbing Columnist.
Plugging his weekly Sunday Chronicle offering, which features such hoary journalistic standbys as amateur commentating on the local NFL franchises, political rumor-mongering of the highest order and exclusive interviews with cab drivers, Brown issued this shameless call to his audience of 800 potential sources: “Send me your items,” he said, “I promise I won’t check them out.”
LAT keeps the crown: For the second week in a row, the by-God L.A. Times newsroom keeps possession of the coveted Calbuzz Little Pulitzer for Investigative Punditry. Honors this time go to business columnist Michael Hiltzik, for “Carly Fiorina’s Senate campaign an uninspiring product launch,” an elegant, superb filleting of the newly-minted political candidate. Citing Hurricane Carly’s contortions in explaining why she didn’t bother to vote in three-quarters of the state’s elections this decade, Hiltzik notes that:
Fiorina explained that this was because ‘I felt disconnected from the decisions made in Washington and, to be honest, really didn’t think my vote mattered because I didn’t have a direct line of sight from my vote to a result.’
Yet during her reign at Hewlett-Packard, according to public records, her corporation spent $4.7 million to lobby Congress and donated more than $390,000 to political candidates through its political action committee. Fiorina and her husband, Frank, a former AT&T executive, have made more than $100,000 in political donations personally since 2000.
That suggests not that Fiorina ‘felt disconnected’ from what was going on in Washington, but rather that she understood all too well that in politics, money talks. Why bother to vote when you can get what you need with greenbacks.”
Block that mid-term: iCarly’s anti-climactic formal announcement drew a fair amount of national attention, in large part because the GOP Senate primary between her and the indefatigable Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Red Meat, aligns with the political meme of the moment, in which GOP establishment types are besieged by hordes of tea bagging, death paneling, grassrooting, conservative “populists.”
The narrative line achieved break-through status in the endlessly analyzed special election for New York’s 23rd congressional district, where big mouth, big ego national names like Sarah Palin and Dick Armey drove the moderate Republican nominee from the race in favor of a third party conservative candidate, managing in the process to hand the district to a Democrat for the first time in a century.
The internal feud dynamic was examined most intelligently and comprehensively over at Politico, which also reported with a straight face how bumbling Republican blowhards were shamelessly spinning that they scored a great victory by losing the seat.
The snatching-defeat-from-the-jaws-of- victory frame was deftly handled by NYT satirist Gail Collins, as Jon Stewart exceeded his own high standards, moderating a dead-on parody panel of self-important cable news political analysts chopping it over the mid-terms, which featured usual suspects Sam Bee, Aasif Mandvi and John Oliver.
Gavin, we hardly knew ye: Chronicle scoop artists Phil Matier and Andy Ross had a dandy excloo with their report that Gavin Newsom pulled his own version of a Mark Sanford, mysteriously slipping out of town on an unplanned trip, making his own travel arrangements and not bothering to let his staff in on the details.
Unlike Sanford, the wingnut governor of South Carolina who went underground for a few days to visit his Argentine paramour, Newsom was headed for a rendezvous with his wife and child, but his conduct in the matter was erratic enough to force his flack to peddle a wheeze about Hizhonner feeling fluish when reporters asked why he skipped Willie Brown’s aforementioned bash.
Prince Gavin’s abrupt withdrawal from the gov’s race drew full Chronicler attention, including columnist Chuck Nevius’s exploration of Gavin’s psyche and Cliff Staton’s compare and contrast op-ed measuring Newsom’s stumblebum performance in his truncated campaign unfavorably against that of Dianne Feinstein, the last S.F. alcalde to run for governor.
Margin of error: Capitol Weekly, bouncing back from their last, disastrous venture in the world of polling, published a new poll showing Meg Whitman in a commanding position in the GOP race for governor with 37% (including leaners), compared to 15% for Tom Campbell and 6% for Steve Poizner.
While still wobbly, it’s the first survey we’ve seen by Cap Weekly’s Republican pollster, Adam Probolsky, that isn’t some push-poll, mash-up with whack-a-doodle numbers.
One big problem: In reporting that “Former eBay executive Meg Whitman has opened up a wide lead in the Republican race for governor, according to the latest Capitol Weekly/Probolsky Research poll,” they compared their new numbers to the most recent Field Poll (which showed Whitman 22, Campbell 20 and Poizner 9) — instead of matching the new numbers to their own previous, badly flawed, poll (which had the race Campbell 13, Whitman 10 and Poizner 8).
But you can’t do that – not unless you’ve demonstrated that your polling is in league with the Field Poll for accuracy and reliability.
That said, props to Cap Weekly for recognizing that their previous effort with Probolsky was little more than crapchurn* fodder. The new survey still lacks adequate explanation of its methodology: it took us a bunch of emails and digging to figure out the survey was a random sample of registered voters, screened for participation, and based on a 2010 primary turnout model that projects 46% men, 54% women, 47% Democrats, 36% Republicans, 15% DTS, 69% whites, 12% Latinos and – a number we think is too low – 53% voters age 55 and older.
Whether that’s the right model for June 2010 or not, at least it’s transparent. We don’t even mind that Capitol Weekly asked a few push questions designed to see how vulnerable the candidates are to various negatives. You can read about them here.
One intriguing finding: 29% of men age 55 and older said they’d be more likely to vote for Jerry Brown knowing that at 72, he’d be California’s oldest governor ever elected, compared to 15% of men who said this would make them less likely to vote for Brown. But among women 55 and older, 19% would be more likely to vote for the geezer and 27% would be less likely.
* Crapchurn – Calbuzzspeak for the continuous stream of meaningless, speculative and/or irrelevant alleged factoids and factillae, thrust upon a long-suffering public by MSM and online analysts alike.
Short takes: CoCo Times columnist Dan Borenstein deserves a medal for unrelenting perseverance in pounding away at the public employee pension story; time after time, Borenstein piles fact upon fact in exposing the distressing framework and figures of cushy pension deals in the local government jurisdictions served by his paper…Weintraub watch: Extra, Extra – NYT columnist discovers Jerry Brown! Next Sunday: A trenchant meditation on the Golden Gate Bridge…Thanks to the redoubtable George Foulsham for pointing us to “Buy One Anyway,” Slate TV’s take-off of those soft-focus, heal-the-world TV donation pitches, with scrap heap newspaper persons the objects of maudlin charity and pity. Life in imitation of art.