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By California Legislator Kevin Kiley
Last week, Gov. Newsom rankled Capitol reporters by thanking them “for staying on message.”
Dan Walters, a respected reporter of 60 years, said the comment “implies that our job is to help Newsom peddle his message.” He called it “insulting” and said Gov. Newsom “owes our profession an apology.”
For a Governor who has consolidated so much power, any suggestion of conscripting the press into his service is alarming. As Walters added: “in the political world ‘on message’ has a very specific meaning.”
Press attention has been a top Newsom priority during the COVID era. His briefings are hyped in all caps (“TUNE IN”). Early on, he was so eager to make a splash on national television he hastily wired $500 million upfront to China’s disreputable BYD company.
The Sacramento Bee called him “Gov. Gaslight” for “hurrying to get in front of the TV cameras without worrying about the details.”
Even in January, the LA Times described his penchant for “over hyping announcements” his first year. One top legislative staffer told the Times: “The blunders came by wanting press hits so badly to show that he’s leading on the national stage.”
Perhaps the most desperate gambit was a “Mario Kart” animation where the Governor depicted himself heroically vanquishing foes, such as the President of the NCAA and the President of the United States, by causing them to violently crash or fall off the Golden Gate Bridge. See the video here.
Meanwhile, our economy is doing worse than any state’s and now most of California is closing down again. By focusing so intently on the camera, the Governor has lost sight of reality.
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