The morning after California's May 19 special election, the Bee published a provocative anti-voter commentary on its web site that was critical of voters who rejected several measures.
The commentary created a furor across the blogosphere, and was mentioned in a segment on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
Here is the Bee's slam against California voters, initially posted on the Bee's web site, that created the stir:
But the Bee later pulled the anti-voter commentary down and replaced it with an anti-politician editorial, along with an explanation that the initial commentary was published by mistake. A note from editorial page editor David Holwerk said the first item was a draft for internal discussion among board members.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 effect anyway. You showed 'em.Proposition 1B? That was a tougher call.Proposition 1C? No way. You like the lottery just like it is. And all they were going to do with that extra $5 billion was spend it.Propositions 1D and 1E? Forget it. You had already voted to put money into preschool and mental health programs. You're not taking it out now.And 1F? Heck, yeah! Let's not pay our legislators if they can't pass a budget on time. So what if it likely won't have any effect, or that this year they actually passed a budget months earlier than they needed to? That's not the point.The point is that you're sick and tired of all this political mumbo-jumbo. So you showed those politicians who's in charge. You. You're now officially in charge – of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.So, now that you've put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it's time to think about this: Since you're in charge, exactly what do you intend...That sounds a lot like work, you say? Sorry, no whining allowed. You asked for this job. Now you've got it, so get on it. Oh, and remember. The entire nation is watching to see how you do now that you're in charge.
"Such discussions are a routine part of our work, and frequently lead to editorials that are considerably different from writers' first drafts.That's what happened in this case. After discussion, we decided that our initial editorial about the special election should take a different tack. The result was the editorial that now appears on this page. This editorial is the only editorial about the special election that appeared in Wednesday's editions of The Bee."
You can read the second commentary here. (It's actually pretty good.) But given the major faux pas in posting the anti-voter commentary, readers will wonder if the Bee is really on their side.
FYI, Doug Ross notes the Google cache of the initial editorial was intentionally disabled at the paper.
Hat tip: email, Doug Ross