Press Clips: Another Huge Award for Calbuzz
Now that the Pulitzer Prize committee has finally decided to join the 21st century by opening their competition to all conceivable forms of digital reporting, it’s only a matter of time before Calbuzz captures the Big Enchilada for our Special Brand of Journalism.
In the meantime, we’ve copped yet another top honor from our peers to put on the mantle right next to our already impressive collection: we learned this week that we’ve won the silver medal in the prestigious “Crunks” competition, which ranks the best of the best in the “Year in Media Errors and Corrections.”
The list is compiled by Columbia Journalism Review columnist Craig Silverman, the world’s leading authority on news industry screw-ups, who honored us for our May 11 item setting the record straight on a conversation with California Democratic Party chairman John Burton a few days before:
In our Saturday post about the California Democratic Party’s ad attacking Meg Whitman but masquerading as an “issues ad,” we described the abrupt ending to our conversation with CDP Chairman John Burton. Through his spokesman, Burton on Monday complained that he had been misquoted. Burton says he didn’t say “Fuck you.” His actual words were, “Go fuck yourself.” Calbuzz regrets the error.
Silverman had earlier written a piece examining the weighty journalistic issues at stake in our extremely responsible effort, if we do say so ourselves, to ensure the record of history is clear about Burton’s statement; although we were disappointed not to win first place, we had to admit that the top finishing Ottawa Citizen did some outstanding work with its entry:
The Ottawa Citizen and Southam News wish to apologize for our apology to Mark Steyn, published Oct. 22. In correcting the incorrect statements about Mr. Steyn published Oct. 15, we incorrectly published the incorrect correction. We accept and regret that our initial regrets were unacceptable and we apologize to Mr. Steyn for any distress caused by our previous apology.
“On behalf of the thousands of employees in the Calbuzz global family who work indefatigably every day to live up to our corporate motto – ‘Shooting the Wounded Since March 2009,’” our executive committee said in a press statement, “we accept this award with gratitude and, of course, deep humility.”
Perspective perspectives: Amid the madness of non-stop bloviation and serious heavy breathing generated by the knuckleheads who drive the 24/7 news cycle, it’s nice to know that there are some level-headed political reporters who still value the importance of context and perspective.
Case in point: the excellent assemblage of data by Talking Points Memo illustrating that, despite the opinions-every-second proclivities of Beltway geniuses, President Obama’s standing among voters is not much different at this point in his administration than that of all other presidents since JFK.
Ditto the New York Times, which took a step back from the firestorm of what-it-all-means political speculation about Obama’s tax deal with Republicans to examine its likely impact on the economy, concluding that it’s worth about 3 million new jobs.
And a tip o’ the hat also to Slate, for digging out the numbers that show that it is the red states, whose representatives are constantly whining about excessive spending, that benefit the most from federal largesse, at the expense of taxpayers in places like, oh say, California. Also to Dan Walters for reminding us that, despite the intractable economic and political problems wrapped up in the state’s chronic deficits, it’s a piddling amount viewed in the context of the size and scope of the California economy.
Presidential follies: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg this week reignited speculation about running for president as an independent by giving a high-profile speech decrying partisanship and proclaiming the need for pragmatic centrist politicians. Then he promptly tried to tamp it down by telling Katie Couric he isn’t planning to run.
But the Washpost’s estimable Dan Balz isn’t so sure, and has a nice scooplet reporting exactly what data points Team Bloomberg privately considers to be crucial in its calculations.
As we’ve noted previously, a serious Bloomberg candidacy raises the nightmare specter of a Sarah Palin presidency. Assuming she wins the GOP nomination, the electoral college could splinter in a three-way race, leaving the selection of the nation’s chief executive in the hands of the right-wing Republican House of Representatives. Shudder.
Wiki Laughs: While everyone else in the world seems to have a firm opinion about the out-on-the-edge ethical and journalistic issues raised by the Wikileaks dump of State Department documents, Calbuzz is still mulling the meaning and morals of the incident, although we’re totally with Naomi Wolf on the absurdity of at least one part of l’affaire Assange.
Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: There’s actually a person who’s even more repulsive than Sarah Palin.
I almost failed math every year starting whenever it was we had to do long division. But I remember one thing better than I do my multiplication tables: we always had to show our work. Otherwise our answer was considered a guess by the teacher. Since the CBO or the Times didn’t bother to provide the work, I have to consider their employment figures exactly that–a guess.
We’ve heard a lot of guesses about potential new or saved jobs lately. Many of them were as inaccurate as my long division.
I have no reason to suspect this one is any better. The Bush tax cuts have been in place since 2001. The country has seen stunning job losses over that period. Even when business income ticked up, employment was–at best–flat. Others in the proposed framework have been in place since the 2009 stimulus bill. While we’ve seen some job growth since then, it’s unclear how much of it was from spending and how much from tax cuts. I’m just guessing here. But, given the ineffectiveness of the 2001 cuts, I’m betting on spending. And, given that most economists seem to agree with me, my guess strikes me as being as good as the CBO’s.
The Republicans have been using claims of job growth to sell tax cuts for decades. They have been demonstrably and provably false. Now Obama wants to use the same argument. It’s no truer coming from him than it was from the GOP. I hear the Democratic caucus in the House responded to the president’s arguments in a manner worthy of chairman Burton dealing with reporters. Judging from the more diplomatically phrased email state party delegates received from the chairman about the tax “capitulation,” I’ll wager he had a more colorful response in private as well. And they were all right. To quote Rep. Boehner, the argument is “chicken crap.”
By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). Selection of the nation’s chief executive could not be in the hands of the House of Representatives.
Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.
In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that only 14 states and their voters will matter under winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. Candidates will not care about 72% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. Candidates have no reason to visit, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.
The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).
The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.
The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ME — 77%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, RI — 74%, and VT — 75%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, and VA — 74%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, WA — 77%, and WV- 81%.
The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR (6), CT (7), DE (3), DC (3), ME (4), MI (17), NV (5), NM (5), NY (31), NC (15), and OR (7), and both houses in CA (55), CO (9), HI (4), IL (21), NJ (15), MD (10), MA(12), RI (4), VT (3), and WA (11). The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, and WA. These 7 states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.
As the most populous state in the nation, holding 55 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency, California has a large role in electing the next president. At the same time, presidential campaigns have recently focused on a handful of other, “battleground” states. How do Californians feel about changing to a system in which the president would be elected by direct popular vote instead of by the Electoral College? In October 2008, 70 percent of residents and likely voters supported this change, while 21 percent of residents and 22 percent of likely voters preferred that the Electoral College system continue Democrats (76%) and independents (74%) were more likely to support a change to direct popular vote than Republicans, but 61 percent of Republicans also supported this change. Among likely voters, support for this change was 6 points higher than in October 2004 (64%).