Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Airbrushing In Sacramento

Here's another one for the "and they wonder why nobody buys the paper any more" file: this morning, in the aftermath of yesterday's California initiative votes, the Sacramento Bee published a churlish you-stupid-voters editorial. A representative sample:

Good morning, California voters. Do you feel better, now that you've gotten that out of your system?

You wanted to show the state's politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever.

Proposition 1A with its taxes and its spending limit? Too much of one and not enough of the other, you said (or was it the other way around), and voted it down. Never mind that the taxes go into efffect anyway. You showed 'em.

The unsigned column was treated exactly as well as it deserved--which means it was mocked from coast to coast, and in multiple pages of reader comments, was almost universally panned.

So what did the brave editorialists at the Bee do?

They pulled the column. Airbrushed it entirely off the SacBee website, replacing it with a mirror image blaming the Governator and legislature. Hilariously, the new editorial contains the following lines:

Don't blame voters, no matter how much you may want to. Accept their verdict with good grace.

No mention of the previous, citizen-hectoring column remains--other than readers razzing the Bee in still more pages of comments. *

See for yourself: the original column was grabbed and reprinted at The Corner; here's the replacement version.

Seriously, guys: this is 2009, not 1984. You can't get away with stuff like this. The internet does not have a memory hole. You can't cover up your own stupidity, so at least be adult enough to admit to it.

* Well after the fact, Bee editorial page editor David Holwerk added a less-than-credible explaination, asserting the original column--which was posted for roughly 12 hours--was actually "a draft prepared for internal discussion among members of The Bee's editorial board." Pathetic.

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