06 Jul 2005 Rep. Richard Pombo Thinks We’re “Far Right”? … Surely Not
Americans frequently complain about the ugly state of public discourse — but it’s not all the politicians’ doing. Tabloid-style journalism, which feeds on controversy, is a big part of the problem.
And I’m not just referring to the Washington Post and New York Times. Small hometown newspapers are in on the act.
Case in point is the Tracy Press in Tracy, California: The publication’s readership can practically fit into the office of House Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Pombo – and that may be where most of its readers are, anyway. The Tracy Press, you see, is Rep. Pombo’s hometown newspaper.
(The Tracy Press actually has a circulation of around 10,000, but in the spirit of tabloid journalism, why let a little fact get in the way of a good story?)
On Monday, the Tracy Press ran a story with a quote from Richard Pombo’s press secretary, Brian Kennedy, suggesting that The National Center for Public Policy Research – this organization – is part of the “far right.”
Unless Rep. Pombo has had a complete conversion to the political left that we haven’t heard about, or has gotten into some loco weed, we aren’t buying the report.
After all, the Congressman wrote a glowing comment about The National Center for our 20th anniversary booklet. Rep. Pombo wrote the forward to one of our books. And Congressman Pombo was kind enough to sign a fundraising letter for us to support our efforts to stop a U.N. land grab.
We will disagree with Rep. Pombo from time-to-time, as we do with many politicians, but we have no reason to believe that we are at odds with the Congressman on the broader conservative agenda.
We also considered the source of the information: A publication with a pretty shoddy record for accuracy.
In our case, the Tracy Press has reported that we are both extreme libertarians and that we are in bed with the environmentalists. It has reported that we both support Rep. Pombo’s efforts to amend and reauthorize the Endangered Species Act and that we oppose such efforts. It says we oppose “the existence of a drinking age” — when what we actually oppose is the federal government’s use of federal highway funds to bribe states into adopting 21 as the minimum legal drinking age. (I can’t wait to read what our positions will be next.)
In short, think Washington Post with a crayon.
Our advice: Never assume a press story is right.